Reptiles and Insects Enjoy Spring in Rigdon Area

Coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus) was still in bloom along the Middle Fork of the Willamette. It was attracting numerous tiny flies as well as a small bee. If you haven’t smelled coltsfoot, try it, it has an unusual and pleasant menthol-like scent. That might help it attract so many pollinators.

My first official spring trip to Rigdon was on April 8, a lovely warm day. With the social distancing required because of the pandemic, I was out by myself, but I was certainly not alone. While it was still early in the season, there were plenty of the usual April flowers but also a few butterflies, bees, and an unexpected number of reptiles. Here are some photo highlights.

Just like last April (see Early Trips to Rigdon), the blooming manzanitas at Sacandaga Bluff were attracting lots of insects to the flowers, most of which had been pierced earlier by some nectar-robbing bee. This makes it easier for the other insects, like this echo azure and bee (Andrena?) to access the nectar.

At Sacandaga Bluff, I came across this large garter snake sunning on the rocks.

A short while later at the other end of the bluff, I almost stepped on this very large and well-camouflaged gopher snake. It was around 3′ long.

No snakes at Many Creeks Meadow, but I did see this cute fence lizard.

Gold stars (Crocidium multicaule) accounted for most of the color everywhere I stopped, including here at Many Creeks Meadow. The gnarly little oaks had yet to leaf out.

No worries about social distancing with this California tortoiseshell at Many Creeks Meadow! It kept flying around me, repeatedly stopping for a salty drink from my fingers or checking out my hat and sleeves. Unfortunately, I had another, less pleasant brush with an invertebrate when I noticed a tick on my neck while driving home.

2 Responses to “Reptiles and Insects Enjoy Spring in Rigdon Area”

  • Blanche Douma:

    Oh my, Tanya – as soon as I saw the Manzanita flowers I noticed the holes from ‘nectar robbers’ – but I was pleased to read in the caption that you pointed it out. I love that! SO glad you found the tick, and surprised that the delicate Tortoiseshell posed for a picture. THANK YOU for the uplifting pictures – the snakes and lizard were neat, too. Blessings to you. :)

  • Val Rogers:

    My old district when I worked for the FS! Love Rigdon, so diverse.

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