Oregon Herping (continued)

First concinnus!

Second garter, in situ

I'm actually quite thrilled...

Some good looking tin

Opaque but still a beauty

We hiked back from the road into a large open field, with clumps of blackberry vines among the grasses and sedge. Scattered throughout the field were assorted pieces of plywood and tin.

There are times when you have to work really hard to find your target species, and then there are the rare times when gifts are seemingly laid in your lap. This was one of those rare times - under the first piece of metal we lifted was an Oregon Red-Spot!

I was thunderstruck. Here it was, one of the snakes I had dreamed of finding for many years! This wasn't the prettiest of Red-Spots as it turned out, but it was far from ugly, just a beautiful animal. I think Casey got a kick out of my reaction to this snake, something I understood - it's always great to bear witness to other people's experiences.

I took some time to photograph this first snake of the day. Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus is among the most beautiful of garter snakes. This specimen lacked dorsolateral stripes, and apparently this is quite common. One piece of tin, one snake - what else was out there in that big field for us to find? I think Casey had a pretty good idea, but he was content to let it all unfold for me...

The next tin was vacant, but the third one covered another concinnus, and an outstanding serpent no less. From above the herringbone pattern of orange and black, split by a bright white vertebral stripe, was just stunning. I was gobsmacked all over again!


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