Oregon Herping

For years and years I've looked at western field guides with considerable envy - so many species of amphibians and reptiles that I've never seen. I had herped around the San Diego area several times while attending conferences, but during the wrong time of the year and under less than perfect conditions.

When the opportunity came to visit Oregon in May for a wedding, I knew this was too good an opportunity to pass up. My wife and I took a week's vacation and I was able to build some herping time into our schedule. I had some high hopes as we prepared for our trip.

Sunday was our first full day in Portland, and a good day for me to get out in the field. Nell wanted to sleep in and recover from a full day of travel, and I was ready to go at dawn - I could always catch up on sleep later. I was very fortunate to arrange a day in the field with Casey Lazik, down from Washington state that weekend. Casey knew that Oregon Red-spotted Garter Snakes were on the top of my list, and we would be meeting up at a spot he knew with good habitat for them.

It was a sunny morning with scattered clouds when I met Casey in the parking area. Temperatures were in the upper 50s F, and it looked like it would warm up a bit as the day went on...


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