Field Journal: 24 November 2018

The autumn rains (finally!) arrived this week.

Sunset behind coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) at the west end of Meadow Trail.

The storms cleared the air of smoke from the Camp Fire, and the forest is coming to life again. We traveled for Thanksgiving, so I only had time for one short visit this week.

California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus)

This is the first California Slender Salamander I've seen since May. They're the smallest vertebrates in the forest here at Roy's Redwoods, and their tiny size makes them especially vulnerable to dehydration. They stay in cool, moist places underground or in rotting wood until the surface is wet enough for them to safely emerge.

During daylight hours, Slender Salamanders take refuge under plant debris on the forest floor. I found this one under a strip of bark.

Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris)

Arboreal Salamanders are lungless too, but their larger size allows them to surface earlier in the rainy season. I find them under rotting wood in transitional habitats - at the edge of a forest, or at the boundary between redwood forest and mixed evergreen. This one was lurking under a fallen redwood branch near the meadow.

Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) (left) and Oregon Ash (Fraxinus latifolia) (right.)

The deciduous trees are at peak color. Most of the trees here are evergreen (including the oaks,) but there are a few species that lose their leaves in autumn. Bigleaf Maple and Oregon Ash are putting on a show against a backdrop of redwood foliage at the west end of the lower meadow.

Previously: 11-17 November 2018

Next: 25 November - 01 December 2018

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