Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Peeping

When I told my husband about this opportunity his comment was that this is no longer "fieldlearning" but "Extreme Fieldlearning!" What do you think? I get a phone call from a friend who just heard that tonight is the night that the amphibians need help crossing the road so they can make it to their mating pool (a vernal pool). Is it extreme to drive half an hour in the rain, at night, bundled up, with flashlights in hand just to see some amphibians crossing the road? I should note that he also had several other funny comments like, "So you are going to toad road?" and "Don't get in a wrecko with a gecko" and "What are you going to call this post? Frog blog?"

The kids were very excited. After traveling up and down the forested roads near Hopewell Furnace we finally arrived at our destination. As soon as we opened the doors we knew we were in the right place - the noise of those peepers in the pool! For quite awhile that kept us all alert, and not too much later we got to see our first spotted salamander. They weren't coming in droves tonight, as we are told they often do, but later on there was a bucket with 5 spotted salamanders and we also saw a Jefferson salamander (more rare) and even a wee spring peeper. The girls wanted to take that one home - it was very cute. The adult volunteers who were helping the amphibians get across the road quickly allowed the children to take the buckets and release them into the pool. Everyone had a turn and so had their role to play.

Here's a very short clip or the peeper in the pool. (Remember it is at night, but the flashlight is shining right on him.)

Many nature centers give salamander walks around this time of year, give yours a call to learn more about species local to you. Or maybe you have a vernal pool near your house and your local amphibians are crossing roads without a guard. Read about vernal pools, amphibians and their spring migration and how to help with these links:

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  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger Sara Lewis said…

    That is really cool! We don't have a lot of amphibians around here, but we have seen our little tree frogs headed for my Mom's ornamental fish pond - salamanders seem way cooler though!

  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger Kathy said…

    Grass is always greener I think; I want to see your little tree frogs! But, you've got to have some salamanders! You are in Washington State? Try this link at the Burke Museum:

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger Kathy said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Angela, MotherCrone said…

    Wow! Thanks for the we are not far from Hopewell furnace! My kids would love this!

  • At 7:36 AM, Blogger Kathy said…

    Hi Angela, I will give you the email (in a pm) of the lady who notifies about when the amphibians migrate if you give me your email....I tried to go to your blog and leave a comment to tell you this, but since you've made it private, I can't. Hope you find this! :)


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