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Best places to spot migrating newts in the North Bay


It’s breeding season for some species of amphibians – an ideal time to find them out and about

Holding a newt is one of the most sought-after wildlife encounters among the North Bay’s elementary school set. Each year, thousands of school kids eagerly await their field trip to one of our regional newt hotspots — Stuart Creek at Bouverie Preserve, the Frog Pond at Spring Lake Regional Park, Ledson Marsh at Trione-Annadel State Park and Martin Griffin Preserve on Bolinas Lagoon, to name a few.

It’s no wonder kids warm to these tiny cold-blooded critters. Unlike other wildlife their size, newts are eminently watchable. They don’t run or fly away, bite, scratch or sting. They don’t slime you with mucus like a banana slug, smear you in musk like a garter snake or pee on you like a toad.

You don’t have to be a kid, however, for a newt to steal your heart.

“Newts are so sweet, and soft and innocent-looking,” said Sally Gale of Chileno Valley in Marin County.


Posted on Categories WildlifeTags

Frogs are singing for spring in Sonoma County

We humans have come up with some poetic collective nouns for animals. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls. Even a shrewdness of apes (now also the name of a band). So it seems we missed the proverbial lily pad when we came up with the term “army” to describe the millions of frogs that welcome spring with their delightful and often deafening chorus. As few Californians are more joyously vocal about the possible end to the California drought this year, I humbly offer a happiness of frogs as an alternative.
The frogs we hear performing their seasonal symphony right now in the North Bay are Pacific chorus frogs, or sometimes called simply tree frogs. Sticklers for taxonomic accuracy will correctly point out that our local Pacific chorus frog was recently renamed the Sierran chorus frog (Pseudacris sierra) when the genus that was formerly known as Pseudacris regilla was split into three species. Because there remains controversy surrounding the name change, I and many other local naturalists are sticking with Pacific chorus frog as the more descriptive and intuitive moniker.
How do I know it’s a Pacific chorus frog?
Pacific chorus frogs range in color through a palette of bright yellow-greens, creamy oranges, reddish tinges, and most commonly a mottled beige or brown. While general coloring of an individual frog does not change, all color varieties have a spectacular ability to adjust their brightness in response to temperature, humidity and even stress. Pacific chorus frogs also vary greatly in size. An adult frog recently transformed from its tadpole form could easily perch on the tip of your pinkie finger. These diminutive “metamorphs” can eventually grow to a maximum of about 2 inches from the tip of their nose to their urostyle, a posterior section of fused vertebrae roughly analogous to a “rump.”
Read more at: Frogs are singing for spring in Sonoma County | The Press Democrat