Herpers, with sun and warmer temperatures arriving over the weekend and through yesterday, many of the later-season, warmth-loving reptiles and amphibians became active. Large-bodied snakes like Eastern Ratsnakes and Timber Rattlesnakes were emerging from their dens. Painted Turtles, Northern Map Turtles, and Wood Turtles were basking and American Toads and Gray Treefrogs were singing. Although the migration of Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders early in the spring gets a fair amount of attention here in the northeast, the Gray Treefrogs are just getting started and far fewer people are still paying attention.
Here in the Lake Champlain Basin Wood Frog masses have fallen apart and tiny black tadpoles can be seen. We are still finding some relatively fresh Northern Leopard Frog egg-masses and I was hearing Northern Leopard Frogs calling in Colchester yesterday. Of course Spring Peepers are now in full chorus in the mountains.
My wife and I filled in some stream salamander distribution gaps on Saturday. We photographed Northern Dusky Salamander in Weston and all three stream salamanders (Spring, Northern Two-lined, and Northern Dusky Salamanders) in Londonderry.
Searching for stream salamanders can be done at almost any time of the year. Simply turning rocks, logs, and bark along the edges of small forested streams for an hour or two should reveal one or two of these species. Streams don’t need to be any more than two or three feet across as long as they don’t dry out during the summer. The small, mucky, seepage areas off to the sides of the streams are great places to find Northern Dusky Salamanders.
I have attached lists of towns where we need photographs of Northern Two-lined and Northern Dusky Salamanders.
Grab a small plastic container to help catch them, put on your muck boots, and see what you can find.
Remember to send a couple photos of your discoveries.