Amphibians on the move!

On Thursday, things were looking just right for amphibian migration–temps in the 40s and lots of rain. Unfortunately, the rain that was predicted tapered off in the afternoon, and didn’t start up again until around 10pm. I went out with the folks from Teatown at 9, and we saw a few frogs, alive and dead. As soon as we split up, the other group found one spotted salamander. Conditions were just getting good when we wrapped up, so I did some cruising on the way home. I’d gotten a tip from a Facebook post earlier, about a street near home where residents had seen some action in the past. There were lots of wood frogs and spring peepers out!

I helped 22 of them cross the road there, and encountered another 15 on another street on my way home. There were a total of 10 sadly squished ones. I’m so grateful that I had a fun team to go out with, even if we weren’t terribly successful, and that I found a couple of local spots to keep an eye on. While I would give anything to see big spotted salamanders out in large numbers, getting this taste was still pretty wonderful. The spring peepers are so tiny–some as small as a dime!–I wasn’t really prepared for how tough they would be to spot when you’re driving. And they were remarkably still while I was around. I don’t know if they are doing deer in the headlights or what, but I didn’t see any telltale hopping. It’s easy to see why they need our help in times like this. Hopefully the migration happened late enough at night that mortality was low.

There’s a chance there will be some more migration in the weeks ahead. I’m not sure why many would get the urge one night, and others would wait, but it may have to do with certain areas not being fully thawed underground, or not getting fully drenched with the rain. Still, I’m thrilled I’ve finally witnessed some of it!

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