Well, color me orange! More newts! This seems to happen to me all the time; once I see something and learn to recognize it, I tend to notice a lot more of them. We found a couple dozen, and in much drier areas than I would ever expect to see them. Click on the picture above to take a closer look at the amazing newt iris. Very cool.
Supposedly, rough-skinned newts have not been found in this area before, but I'm still closely examining my photos with Gary Nafis' Taricha spp. comparison. I dunno, do the eyes "extend past the margin of the head"? Would it help if I said the lower eyelids on this individual were ambiguously dark? Erg. Erg. Erg. I may have to throw in the towel on being able to separate the 2 spp.
How many newts?
Answer: 2. It could well have been the different lighting and moisture level (sunny vs. the overcast skies under tree cover at Stevens Creek from last week), but it seemed to me the newts here at Los Padres Dam have more of a reddish coloring on top. In fact, I'd say their red was almost a perfect match with the madrone bark.
in the Carmel River
Good-bye, newts. See you next time. Have a lot of love and lay a lot of eggs.