Salamander Blog & Updates

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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2017 Salamander Migration Update No. 3

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." John Ruskin

The weather is beautiful this morning, and we think it's going to turn into a different kind of good weather - for salamander migration.

Here is what weather.com is forecasting for later today: 

This Afternoon
A slight chance of showers before 4pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 4pm and 5pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68. South wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 8pm, then a chance of showers between 8pm and 11pm. Low around 35. West wind 15 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
 
Although it is early in the season we think that the warm temperature and rain may trigger the beginning of the migration with  males starting making their way to the pools. 
 
Beekman road will be closed this evening to allow salamanders to cross safely to the vernal pools. 
 

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 No. 2

We are extremely happy to announce that Middlesex County, with some help from the Friends EBEC, has just completed the purchase of the 70-acre property on the south side of Beekman Lane where many of our spotted salamanders and frogs overwinter! Protecting this land has been a goal of the Friends for more than a decade and our dream has finally come true thanks to the incredible efforts of the County! This huge property is bounded by Church Lane, Ireland's Brook, Beekman Lane and the Turnpike (map) and will become part of the Ireland's Brook Park. Stay tuned for much more exciting news about this property! A huge thanks is due to to Rick Lear and Eric Gehring of Middlesex County Parks and Recreation and the Middlesex County Freeholders for protecting this property and our salamanders and frogs.

As far as the salamander migration, we are monitoring tomorrow's weather closely and if everything falls into place, are thinking it may be the start. The weather this week has been nothing short of glorious and there is rain and possible thunderstorms forecast for late tomorrow afternoon into the evening. We've also monitored soil temperatures this week and they are well above the thresholds needed for migration. So, if the weather forecast holds together we are expecting to close the road tomorrow night. We will post another update tomorrow as we get a little closer.

 

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2017 Salamander Migration Update No. 1

What a difference a week or two makes! The snow in these photos from the last snowstorm has melted and the first signs of spring are showing up - Little things like winter fireflies, a lone singing Spring Peeper, snowdrops in a sunny sheltered spot, a Red Winged blackbird in full regalia, skunk cabbage poking out in a wetland and the first Mourning Cloak butterfly at Frost Woods this past weekend. So how far off can the start of the Spotted Salamander migration to our vernal pools be? We suspect, not long! We have been carefully monitoring conditions at the vernal pools and the weather and think this weekend may be the first time we will close the road. The forecast for the rest of this week is for temperatures well above normal (maybe even record-breaking) with the potential for rain and thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon and evening with the passage of a cold front. The Police have the barriers out at Beekman Road and are just waiting for us to give them the signal that conditions look good for the migration. Saturday is still a long way off, weatherwise, and we are keeping a close eye on the forecast and will provide updates as we get closer.

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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