Friday, May 24, 2013

Skaha, Snakes, and Skinks

Today was our last day climbing at Skaha Bluffs. As we hiked in, Shelley stopped in front of me and said she could hear something moving in the grass in front of her, maybe a bird. I couldn't see anything at first. Then a snake appeared, and then a second one. They weren't rattle snakes so we moved in for a closer look. I pulled out my camera, but they were hiding in the vegetation. Shelley tried to get them to come out but they were in "freeze" mode. She got a stick and started moving it towards them. Eventually they did move but, of course, not into the open. They disappeared into cracks in the rock. We waited and they reappeared and one of them cooperated enough to get a few shots. I think they were Western Yellow-bellied Racers.

Later in the day, I was belaying Shelley on a climb and I heard something moving in the grass at the base of the cliff. Again, at first I couldn't see anything. But I caught a slight movement and picked out a tail. I thought it was another snake, but when I looked closer (while still paying attention to belaying Shelley!) I saw it was a skink (a kind of lizard). I was a little surprised - up till now I hadn't seen any skinks at Skaha Bluffs. Once Shelley was off belay I ran down to our packs and got my camera. (When Shelley saw me running to get my camera, at first she thought I was getting it to take pictures of her, but she soon realized it must be some creature.) When I got back with the camera the skink was gone. But I figured it probably hadn't gone far. Sure enough, when I got closer I spotted it. But again, like the snakes, it was buried in the vegetation. I took a couple of shots but couldn't get a clear angle. I tried to use a stick to get it to move, but I was a little too successful - it shot out like a rocket and went straight under a rock. But I was patient and like the snakes eventually it emerged and I got a few good shots of it. I think it's a Western Skink which is a common species found all the way from BC to Baja (where I've also seen them).

I'm glad to be able to balance all the recent flower shots with something more interesting!

(click to view photos)
Western Skink

1 comment:

  1. I like snakes and skinks, but flowers are super interesting too! Just keep taking lots of photos - they're great.