to Herpers: Spring amphibian migration and a couple requests
Herpers, the forecast for this Friday night currently looks good for amphibian migration and if the temperatures really stay in the 60’s as forecast, we might see Gray Treefrogs and American Toads moving in the valley. Of course back up in the hills of central and northern Vermont the early-breeding amphibians are still yet to move in many areas.
I am thrilled to have received now town records or photo-vouchers of Four-toed Salamander in Essex, Spotted Salamanders in St. Albans Town, Spotted Salamander in Cornwall, and Spotted Salamander in Cornwall. These were all from just last weekend’s rains. Please do continue to help us fill in these data and documentation gaps. If you have a route to patrol, once you get that done, take advantage of the weather conditions and check a new area to see if you can help fill in a data gap, or perhaps find an entirely new crossing location. We still have much to learn and these spring rains are a rare opportunity to get some important new data.
It is great to see that more and more people are getting out to see the spring amphibian migrations. Some of them are gathering useful data at known crossing locations, some people are helping us find new crossing locations, some are documenting new species in new towns, some folks are taking the kids out for some natural history education, and a few of them are trying to do everything.
A couple of my experienced herpers that were out this weekend expressed some concerns now that many people are visiting some of the better known crossing locations. New herping initiates are excitedly looking for large, easily-seen amphibians such as Spotted Salamanders and Wood Frogs. Of course this is a good thing. But a few of these people are unaware that some of those tiny little sticks and pebbles on the road surface are actually Four-toed Salamanders, Eastern Red-backed Salamanders, or very small little Spring Peepers! When this happens new herpers can end up stepping on and crushing the little critters in their excitement to find the larger ones. Clearly, we want people to be out and looking, and learning about wildlife in Vermont, but if you see people running at a crossing location when amphibians are moving, walking without a flashlight, or stepping on small amphibians, please take the time to do a bit of educating and in a positive and friendly way show them some of the smaller creatures that they are not seeing. I suspect if they are out there looking for amphibians in the first place, they will be pleased that you took the time to show them what they were missing.
Here is the address again of our searchable table of data gaps. Keep in mind that we only update this table once a year. So, new finds are not shown yet.
Also anytime you find one of these rare species, we would love to hear about it: