Today’s exploration traversed grassy hills and flipped (and returned to its original position) almost every rock in my path. My first successful flip of the summer over turned what I believe to be my life Western Yellow-Bellied Racer.

Yellow-Bellied Racer

Yellow-Bellied Racer

Yellow-Bellied Racer in hand showing off some of its yellow belly

Yellow-Bellied Racer in hand

Yellow-Bellied Racer on a rock showing off the fading of its pattern as you near its tail

Yellow-Bellied Racer on rock

Throughout the day, the rocks were alive with critters. From Western Fence Lizards to the plethora of insects seeking shelter I even caught a Common California Scorpion before it escaped to a home.

Common California Scorpion


Closer to sources of water; dragonflies, amphibians, and birds came out. I saw a Northern Pacific Tree froglet in metamorphosis surrounded by a flurry of toad tadpoles.

Here is a young Northern Pacific Treefrog, not the froglet

Northern Pacific Treefrog

In the same creek I saw an adult frog eyeing me from the other side of the stream. I’m inclined to say it was either a lowland leopard frog or a california red-legged frog but am not confident in either of those. If you know, please reach out to me.

Unidentifed Species of Frog

Unidentified Frog

Leaving the stream, I couldn’t help but photograph this American Painted Lady Butterfly.

American Painted Lady Butterfly