there have been lots of reports of herp activity this weekend. Wood Frogs have been reported calling in full chorus from many towns and large numbers of their fresh egg-masses are now visible in ponds in the central Vermont mountain town of Lincoln. I suspect that Wood Frogs will be heard in full chorus in many locations in Vermont during the day tomorrow and Tuesday.
Full choruses of Spring Peepers and Northern Leopard Frogs have been heard along the Otter Creek lowlands, although the Spring Peeper choruses are still localized and scattered. I saw basking Painted Turtles yesterday afternoon in Sudbury. Wood Turtles have been reported on the move along their river banks and an Eastern Ribbonsnake was seen and photographed in Benson. Since the Eastern Ribbonsnake is a more southerly species at the northern extreme of its range here in Vermont, you might assume that they would not appear until later in the spring, but based on very early spring reports over the last few years, that is not the case.
At one of the Wood Frog breeding ponds in Lincoln, I netted and examined a cluster of four Wood Frogs. The three males held onto the one female even after having been netted, but one soon dropped off, and I removed the other two from a dead female that had not yet laid her eggs. Sadly, we have seen this before where a small group of males apparently drowned a gravid female. We have also seen male Wood Frogs in amplexus with Green Frogs, Spotted Salamanders, dead mice, and even the tops of cattails. I don’t know how long the males will hang on before giving up and looking elsewhere.
I suspect there are some Spotted Salamander egg-masses out there now, but I personally have not seen them yet. Keep an eye open for turtles basking on sunny days this week and based on the current weather forecast here in the Lake Champlain Valley, Thursday night looks like it could generate some more night-time amphibian movement.
Don’t forget that the Herp Atlas is in the middle of a fund drive (see below). Both herping and donating can be rewarding pandemic-safe activities if practiced only with your housemates,
We are in the middle of our fundraiser. Please visit our GoFundMe site to find out how you can help: https://www.gofundme.com/f/tvfmw-vermont-reptile-and-amphibian-atlas