2017 Salamander Migration Update #8

Yikes, what happened with the weather yesterday? All day, every single weather outlet was calling for strong to severe storms in the late afternoon and evening coming on the heels of an incredibly warm day with temperatures near 70. But by late afternoon it was pretty evident that the rain wasn't going to happen as the storms moving across Pennsylvania fell apart before reaching New Jersey. With the weather forecast we had decided to close the road early in the day, expecting the weather to be perfect to trigger amphibian movement. But Mother Nature didn't seem to get the message and the road and surrounding woods were dry and largely devoid of amphibians, besides a few wandering frogs. Nonetheless, a trip to the vernal pools last night was fantastic! Our Amphibian Protection Plan is working better than we could have ever imagined as evidenced by the huge numbers of Spotted Salamanders, Eastern Newts and Wood Frogs in both pools. In fact, we saw many more of these three species than we have ever seen before!!! The pools were literally teeming with salamanders and newts skirting and slithering in the water, in and out of the leaves on the bottom and Wood Frogs were floating in their classic sprawled posture and chorusing in both pools along with plenty of Spring Peepers to add to the amphibian orchestra. There were also already a few Spotted Salamander eggs masses and spermatophore fields, so in this crazy early "spring" things have obviously happened fast. If you visit the pools, please don't venture into them. Just bring a strong flashlight and look in from the edge where you'll be able to see anything moving around and hear the wonderful frog songs. With all the ongoing mating and egg laying, walking through the pools can be disruptive of breeding and also directly impact the egg masses. During the day, the pools are also worth visiting, especially on a warm day with or without rain, as the male Spring Peepers and Chorus frogs will likely be singing their little hearts out hoping to find some love!    

Here are a few photos from yesterday of the larger vernal pool (which is actually quite dry from the ongoing drought), a floating Wood Frog and a Spotted Salamander under the water. Stay tuned, there is certainly more to come after this brief cold spell this weekend.       

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2017 Salamander Migration Update #7

Weather conditions later today look perfect - if you are a salamander ready to wake up and head to the vernal pool. Beekman Road will be closed from dusk to dawn to ensure safe road crossing for amphibians. 

Please use caution if you want to come see the salamanders! It may be good amphibian weather but dangerous for humans!  

"Some storms could be severe, with damaging winds and heavy rain." 

Do not walk on the road during a thunderstorm!

 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. 

Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. 

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. 

Do not touch salamanders or frogs! 

Our hands have natural oils and chemicals from soap and other things we've touched  that can harm amphibian sensitive skin. 

Amphibians are also very slippery and can be easily hurt if dropped. It's is best to just watch them cross and enjoy the way they move.

 

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2017 Salamander Migration Update #6

The exceptionally mild weather continues and we anticipate closing Beekman Road tonight and likely tomorrow night as well. The forecast for tonight has showers and possibly a steadier rain moving into our area after dark and continuing until the early morning hours. Tomorrow showers may be more prominent with temperatures soaring into the 70's and a cold front that will likely trigger rain in the late afternoon.     

A few VERY important safety notes are in order (for us and the salamanders and frogs): NEVER, and we cannot stress this enough, NEVER, walk Beekman Road when it is not closed. It is NOT safe! Park carefully and always have your children hold your hand when crossing Church Lane. Cars come fast, it will be dark and possibly rainy, and we don't want anyone hurt. When parking, choose a safe location and be exceptionally careful when pulling out onto Church Lane. For the salamanders, be sure that EVERYONE has a strong, bright flashlight so that the salamanders and frogs are not accidentally stepped on. Check your flashlight before leaving the house and honestly, don't come out without EVERYONE having one in their hand. Cell phone flashlights are just not strong enough to illuminate the road at night. Also, please don not handle the frogs and salamanders. Simply watch them cross and enjoy their movements. Amphibians breathe through their skin and touching them can be harmful to them.  Be safe and enjoy the migration!

 

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2017 Salamander Migration Update No. 5

Last night was magical! We closed our road for migrating Spotted Salamanders and other amphibians for the first time this year so they can cross safely to their breeding vernal pools and they put on a wonderful show. It wasn't a huge movement but there were plenty of intrepid amphibians making their way as their forebearers have probably done for millennia. We typically close the road from 4 to 8 times depending on the weather and what we see happening. When we started this Amphibian Protection Plan 12 years ago, after noticing the slaughter on the road, we never could have imagined the success it would have. Judging from egg masses and the number of crossing salamanders of all age classes, our Spotted Salamander population has grown nicely, Wood frogs have reappeared from none and now grace our pools with their wonderful chorus, Spring Peepers and Chorus frogs deafen the pools with their mass songs and Pickerel frogs, Green frogs, Eastern newts, Gray treefrogs and Bullfrogs join the fun. If anyone is interested, you can read more about our program and the regular migration updates we publish @ http://www.friendsebec.com/salamander-crossing. More photos I took last night at Bug Addiction @ https://www.facebook.com/BugAddictionConfessionsOfABugAddict/?ref=bookmarks.

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2017 Salamander Migration Update No. 4

Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while. Kin Hubbard

Today's ongoing conversation is indeed about the weather.  The forecast was for 100% chance of rain in the afternoon and evening. We check weather.gov, weather.com, weather underground...  and we look out the window. As of now,from the different websites, it's between 20 to 100%. From the window - it is not raining yet. Beekman Road will be closed tonight but if there is no rain we do not expect salamander to move.

 

 

 

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