Herp Update: recent activity — May 5, 2022
Last weekend was a field trip weekend for my Conservation of Vermont Reptiles course that I am teaching through Hogback Community College in Bristol (non-credit non-graded courses, for more info see https://familyforests.org/past-hogback-community-college-courses/).
The weather was cool to cold in the mornings, but the sun warmed us up by lunchtime. We found a nice variety of snakes and turtles. Highlights included an Eastern Musk Turtle, Eastern Ratsnakes and Eastern Ribbonsnakes. These were all located at previously known locations for these species in Rutland County. I will attach some photos taken by the students.
I was also pleased to hear calling Pickerel Frogs. Pickerel Frogs call and lay eggs later than the Spotted, Jefferson, and Blue-spotted Salamanders, and Wood Frogs. Their call is a short snore. I have never heard what I would call a large chorus of Pickerel Frogs, nor have I ever seen more than a few Pickerel Frogs at any breeding congregation. Their calls are occasional and scattered, nothing like the intense and loud choruses of Wood Frogs, Spring Peepers, and Gray Tree Frogs. If you would like to hear the Pickerel Frog call, you can hear them in our short informational video at the link below, calling with Spring Peepers.
You can check out how their calling times compare with other Vermont frog species at this link: https://www.vtherpatlas.org/what-weve-learned/frog-calling-times/
One of the students (Ira Powsner) found two Pickerel Frogs still in their overwintering locations under cover in a seepage area. So, clearly even here in the Lake Champlain Basin Pickerel Frogs have not all moved to their breeding ponds yet.