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Cascade Mountains, Washington


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Posted by CaseyLazik on April 07, 2003 at 02:08:07:

I decided to take a little drive today with the family, despite our damp, cold weather. The destination was a favorite spot on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains about an hour from my home. Crossing Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3022 feet), the temperature was in the low 30's with light snow. A good day to look for herps, I thought. ;-(

A half hour later we arrived. At 2100 feet in elevation, the snow that remained on the ground was limited to shady areas on north facing hills. The temperature was now in the low 40's with clearing skies. I wondered if we would see anything this early in the year at this latitude and elevation.


We saw a lone bald eagle overhead. Always nice to see but they're quite common here in the Northwest. I wanted more.
We found several Long-toed Salamanders, Ambystoma macrodactylum, under cover.

Our first reptile was this young Valley Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi. It was found under a small log (in bright sunshine) at the edge of the forest. It was very active which made it difficult to get a good natural photo.


Nearby we found a few Western Fence Lizards taking advantage of the balmy temperatures. It was now in the mid 40's. This was in an area of roof tiles and other artificial cover . We caught a few Northern Alligator Lizards as well here.

Under a nearby log we found this young adult male Rubber boa.



Unfortunately, my batteries on my digital camera went dead before we found our third and last snake of the day. It was a juvenile sharp-tailed snake, Contia tenuis. We continued to find several more active fence lizards in sun-exposed areas.

We found about a dozen Western Fence Lizards, all of them active.
About 4 Northern Alligator Lizards, active under the first layer of roof tiles.
1 Common (Valley) Garter Snake.
1 Rubber Boa
1 Sharp-tailed Snake
and many (20+) long-toed salamanders




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