We are closing Beekman Road tonight. It's been a wild weather rollercoaster ride over the last 45 days! First there were the incredibly warm temperatures in February, then the late season snow storm and persistent cold most of March, and then a few days of glorious sun and warmth interspersed with raw rainy weather this week. It's played havoc with our thoughts on when amphibians might be moving. The February warmth and rains brought early season Spotted Salamander migrations and mating, capped by egg masses in the pools and the same for Wood frogs. Recent rains seem to have spurred some additional breeding at the pools with Spotted Salamander spermatophores and Wood frog choruses this week. But there is certainly still much more to come at the pools, with Spring Peepers, Chorus frogs, Gray treefrogs, Green frogs and Bullfrogs all still either just beginning to breed or with breeding seasons a bit later in the spring.
We've decided to close Beekman Road tonight even though we think that the bulk of the Spotted Salamander migration has probably already occurred. But we've had such screwy weather this year that we are going to err on the side caution to protect anything that may be moving. It's obviously going to be a very rainy day today and tonight with somewhere between one and two inches of rain forecast. Temperatures are forecast to rise into the upper 40's tonight, a little lower than we like to see for much amphibian movement but after all the snow and cold, the frogs and salamanders may just be itching to move around. Or not...
A few VERY important safety notes are in order (for us and the salamanders and frogs):
1. NEVER, and we cannot stress this enough, NEVER, walk Beekman Road when it is not closed. It is NOT safe!
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Also, please do 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.
5. Please do not enter the vernal pools. There are egg masses and spermatophores that are easily disturbed by silt and will be killed by being stepped on. Just enjoy the pools from the edge.
5. Be safe and enjoy the migration!