Herps of the field 2013

Considering how much time we spent in the field, and that one of my field assistants was by natural inclination a herpetologist, we found surprisingly few herps (reptiles and amphibians) this summer.

Pacific treefrog (subspecies: Sierran treefrog)

 This guy comes in brown or green. The two morphs look very different from each other:

Brown morph

Brown morph
Photo by M. LaBarbera

"Green" morph (I think he looks more golden)

Green morph

Continue reading

Advertisements

What happens to the animals when there is a fire?

Rim Fire. Photo by Steve Ryan

Rim Fire.
Photo by Steve Ryan

You have (I hope!) seen news lately about the Rim Fire, which has been burning in Stanislaus National Forest next to Yosemite National Park. It began near the “Rim of the World” scenic viewpoint off Highway 120, and has been making Yosemite visitors and residents of Groveland quite nervous. It has burned over 200,000 acres and is reportedly 32% contained. A collection of pretty incredible photos of the fire is here.

First: no, this year’s juncos are not currently on fire. My field sites this year are in Stanislaus National Forest, but considerably further north. We have, however, seen smoke and had bits of white ash falling around us.

But of course, even if my juncos aren’t in the fire, other juncos are. And Chipping Sparrows, and American Robins, and mice, and gopher snakes… So what does wildlife do when the world starts burning around it? Are all the animals in that 200,000+ acres doomed?

Continue reading