Species

Photo: Robert Fletcher
Whipsnake photographed on Ohlone West Conservation Bank

The Alameda whipsnake is a long, slender snake with a dark dorsal color, usually black, dark brown or charcoal, and a ventral color of yellow or orange, often including a salmon color along the last portion of the snake's underside. It has yellow stripes along both sides of its body but not on top. It has relatively large eyes and hunts visually, seeking out and capturing lizards by rapid bursts of speed. A member of the racer family, this subspecies of the California racer occurs in Alameda, Contra Costa and parts of Santa Clara counties.

Burrowing Owl
Photo: Joseph DiDonato

The burrowing owl (BUOW) occurs in open grassland habitat most often associated with colonies of CA ground squirrels upon which the owls rely for burrow systems. BUOWs nest and seek refuge underground within burrows and will often use man-made structures (culverts, pipes, broken cement) as refuge and nesting sites.

California red-legged frog
Photo: Joseph DiDonato

The California red-legged frog (CRF) is the largest native ranid frog in California. It breeds in ponds, wetlands and slow-moving streams. It is listed as a federally threatened species by the USFWS. The CRF occurs within numerous habitat types including oak woodland, annual grassland, and riparian and wetland habitat.

CTS
Photo: Robert Fletcher
CA Tiger Salamander

The California tiger salamander is a vulnerable amphibian native to Northern California. It breeds in ponds and vernal pools, entering the water with the onset of heavy rains in December and January. Shortly after breeding and depositing eggs, adults leave the pond and disperse to underground burrows where they spend the remainder of the year. Juveniles grow to nearly adult size over the next few months and then disperse to terrestrial burrows in late summer, returning years later to breed as adults. Both aquatic and upland terrestrial habitat is critical to the survival of the species.

J. DiDonato
Callippe Silverspot butterfly (Speyeria callippe callippe)

The Callippe Silverspot Butterfly was listed as a federally endangered species by the USFWS in 1997. It occurs in the San Francisco Bay area with isolated populations in the East Bay in the Pleasanton/Livermore area. It is dependent on managed annual grasslands supporting host plants including the Johnny Jump ups (Viola penduculata) and coyote mint (Monardella villosa) on which the larvae and adults feed, respectively. It occurs widely across the grasslands of the Ohlone West Conservation Bank where adults can be seen in breeding display flight and foraging from May through July.

The smallest fox species in California, the San Joaquin kit fox (SJKF) occurred historically throughout a large part of the Central Valley of California north to the Delta. Limited sightings of foxes occur in Alameda and Contra Costa counties where a significant amount of appropriate habitat remains intact.

Swainson's Hawk
Photo: Joseph DiDonato

The State threatened Swainson's Hawk (SWHA) occurs throughout the Central Valley of California in alluvial riparian and annual grassland habitat. It may also nest in oak savannah and in open grasslands containing adequate nesting trees along the western edge of the Central Valley within the coastal range. SWHA nests can also be found within the eastern portions of Contra Costa and Alameda counties in CA in appropriate habitat. Most SWHA are migratory, congregating in large flocks in the fall and leaving the state for wintering grounds in Central and South America.

Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp, VPFS, fairy shrimp
Photo: Joseph DiDonato

Vernal Pool fairy shrimp (VPFS) occur in shallow seasonal and vernal pool environments within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. VPFS are listed as threatened by the USFWS. The species has evolved to adapt to seasonal pools and drought conditions by developing eggs (cysts) that can last within the dry duff of a seasonal pool for decades. The eggs hatch when pools fill, shrimp grow into adults, breed and deposit eggs, and complete their life cycle before the pool dries.