Left to Right
Samuel, Spencer and Michael Wells
Right at the start of the hike I noticed a dark figure in the dead grass. After closer examination I noticed it was a Longhorn (Anastrangalia laetifica). This is a common species, especially along the coast, but it is my first time finding this species so I compromised with a only half decent picture not willing to risk an escape:
With a new species in my vial, I was already feeling pretty good. My excitement, however, was soon boosted when I heard my Michael mention he found a Rattlesnake.
Just on the drive over to the trail I was wondering when I'd get the chance to photograph this fascinating reptile for my photographic catalog of western herps. The thing was, this young individual quickly retreated to a bush on the side of the trail to keep from being bothered. I figured my chances of getting a species name would be more likely if I got a closer picture of the snake, so I knelt down a couple feet away to photograph the exposed side of the snake while the head was out the other end of the bush. (Or so I thought).
Peek-a-Boo with the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus o. oreganus)
It was alarming to see this venomous snake in striking position when I looked through my pictures the next day! I am truly happy to be writing about this story. A bite to the neck or face could have been fatal.
There were a couple other cool finds on the hike in, but I'll save those for the future when my list of blog posts gets slim.
The final 2.5 mi stretch of the hike took place on a downhill slope into the canyon Vicente Flat facing the Pacific Ocean. We saw several Alligator Lizards, but they were to cautious of us humans to allow a photograph. The sun was slowly going down, but this did make for an awesome sunset. I also knew I could expect O. c. californicus and Snail-eaters in the subgenus Brennus that night. I was very excited.
Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens)