Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Amphibians moving

Wood frog (note black mask on its face)
What: Sophie, Sam and I headed down to New Haven last night after the Crow's Path potluck to check for amphibians. Amphibians start moving from their upland overwinter sites down to breeding grounds during the spring thaw. This usually happens late-March, early-April when temps are 37 or above and we get rain that soaks the ground. I can't find my records, but last year was super early and I think they started moving sometime around March 10th or so. I spend most of my time at Shelburne Pond, but that site doesn't see movement until after the New Haven site (the amphibians cross at the south end of SP, which is north facing and usually thaws around April 1).

We were out from about 9:30-10:15pm and here's our list

  • Jefferson's salamander: 15
  • blue-spotted salamander: 8
  • Jefferson x blue-spotted hybrid?
  • spotted salamander: 6
  • Wood frog: 4
  • Spring peeper: 2
  • 4-toed salamander: 1
  • eastern newt: 5 (all dead)
Ecological notes: The temp had dropped down to about 37 when we got out of the car. All the newts were dead (abbreviated DOR by herpetologists) and we wondered if they had started moving earlier when it was warmer out - maybe coinciding with when folks were driving home. In order of activity level in the 37 degree weather it seemed like Jefferson's were the quickest followed by blue-spotted salamanders and then spotted salamanders. Each had their own jiggly little dance. I'll try and post videos later this month.

Where: North St in New Haven, about a mile north of Plank Rd. Super hot spot, usually one of the first spots in the Champlain Valley to see movement.

No comments:

Post a Comment