Herp Update: Education event, migration reports, call-in show — April 1, 2022

Morgan Road

Herpers, it was a big night at Morgan Road in Salisbury last night at our public educational event. This annual event is organized by the Otter Creek Audubon Society and the Salisbury Conservation Commission.

Last night we had 57 volunteers on site from 8:15 PM to 10:15 PM. Those volunteers tallied a total of 919 amphibians of seven species and one reptile. We knew the temperatures would be ideal (50 F). The only question was would the rains come through our area and really get the roads and soils wet. When I arrived at 7:45 to get set up, a few Wood Frogs and a couple Four-toed Salamanders were the only amphibians visible. By the time the public arrived though, the Blue-spotted Salamanders, Spotted Salamanders, Eastern Red-backed Salamanders, and Spring Peepers were moving through as well. Over the two hours, we tallied 305 Blue-spotted group (Blue-spotted Salamanders and their associated hybrids), 255 Four-toed Salamanders, 168 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders, 121 Spotted Salamanders, 50 Wood Frogs, 18 Spring Peepers, 1 Eastern Newt, and 1 Common Gartersnake.

Only two cars went through during our visit, so total mortality was only four amphibians. Two reporters from VPR were there making recordings and taking photos, so we will showing up on air and on their website at some point in the future. Special thanks go out to Warren King for managing the e-mail list; and Ron Payne, Kathy and Gary Starr, and Preston Turner for helping on site.

Other Reports

Additional reports of amphibian migration yesterday have come in from Ascutney, Cornwall, Colchester, Essex, Hinesburg, Huntington, Jericho, Lincoln, and Weybridge. These were of the same species as we saw here in Salisbury with the addition of one American Toad. American Toads usually wait until warmer weather to make their appearance. Jon J reported not seeing any activity when he was out early this morning in Montpelier, so perhaps some of the central Vermont, northern, and higher elevation sites are still thawing out.

Upcoming Migration Nights

The current weather forecast suggests that next Wednesday or Thursday could provide good conditions for additional amphibian migration. Remember that conditions vary from town to town and site to site. You want warm temperatures, wet roads, and patches of ground that have thawed.

Radio Call in Shows Coming up Soon

The press is thinking spring amphibians. In addition to the upcoming VPR coverage (I don’t know when) I have been asked to be a guest on radio call-in shows tomorrow (Saturday) with Mike Cameron at 9 AM on WSYB AM 1380 and FM 100 and then again on WDEV 96.1 FM with Ric Cengeri from 9 -10 on Thursday morning. If you have access to either of these stations, please do call in to chat about herptiles.


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