Right off the bat we found this little Red Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) out of the water. He looked like had just finished the red eft phase and was now heading back to his birthplace to breed and live out the remainder of his days. He was still tiny. Well that was unusual to see one in that stage of growth but when we saw three more walking about and crossing our path we began to count our blessings The very heavy rain we had driven through might have had something to do with them being out and about but it was unusual to see them in this stage of their growth while still on land.
We headed for the popular rock outcrops to see the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus), not expecting to find any because they are typically only seen at night if you are lucky. And then you need to take a flash light and look deep into the rock crevices to find them. On a good night one is a great find. So imagine our surprise when once again the graduate student found this one, on a tree no less! In the day time, well OK, but on a tree...no way! We all concluded that this was probably a rare record of of a green salamander climbing on a tree. To our knowledge they had only rarely been documented on trees. It looked like the tail of this one was regenerating.
One of the other Master Naturalists lifted up a large rock and found this Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus). We set it in the net so we wouldn't be handling it very much and could get a good view. Our hands can be toxic to salamanders especially since we had bug spray on us. They are fairly common in West Virginia but always a treat to see.
Here is a beautiful land snail that I found climbing on these moss and lichen covered trees.
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