Herp Update: Concert, herp activity—October 25, 2022

Herp Update: Concert, herp activity—October 25, 2022

Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey Fundraising Concert this Saturday in Salisbury

The Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey concert, originally scheduled for a few weeks ago, had to be postponed since one of our performers had covid. All the players are now healthy, and the concert is scheduled for 7 PM this Saturday, October 29 at the Salisbury Congregational Church.

If you purchased tickets for the first event, you are all set and we hope you can make this one.

If not, tickets are still available online (recommended and cheaper) or at the door.

Here is the original post (slightly edited):

The Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas is thrilled to host Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey for a fundraising concert to benefit the Atlas. The concert will be at the Salisbury Congregational Church (853 Maple St., Salisbury, VT) on Saturday, October 29, 2022, 7-9 PM. Tickets cost $22 ($23.32 after sales tax); price at the door will increase to $25 ($26.50 with tax), cash only. We encourage people to buy tickets in advance through our website (VtHerpAtlas.org) since the church has limited seating.

Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey are two of Vermont’s most treasured musicians. They have worked together and individually to create beautiful vocal harmonies and acoustic instrumental work. Both are internationally known and award-winning songwriters and singers, and are native Vermonters.

Through five majestic, award-winning albums, Patti has pioneered the creation of a unique New England genre of folk-storytelling-bluegrass whose signature sound has since been imitated yet remains unmatched. She has performed at such elite levels of artistry for so many decades – songwriting, musicianship, performance, and social advocacy – that words like “acclaimed,” “magical,” and “transformative” only begin to capture the scope and reach of her talents.

Colin McCaffrey is a native Vermonter, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer who has worked on hundreds of regional recordings and live productions. Lending his smooth voice and string wizardry to the best music coming out of these hills, Colin McCaffrey is what the Burlington Free Press calls “A Green Mountain treasure worth unearthing.”

I hope you will join us.

Current Herp Activity

Last week Matt Gorton and I headed out into the field to once again try to find and document a Northern Dusky Salamander in Benson. Once again we failed.

Northern Dusky Salamanders like forested seepage areas where the organic muck pulls on your boots and the logs and rocks are all covered in moss. They often lay their eggs under that moss and the young drop into the muck below. Sometimes these seepage areas are found along the margins of streams.

We have not been able to find Northern Dusky Salamanders in any of Grand Isle County, Orwell, Panton, Shoreham, or Vergennes in Addison County, or Benson or West Haven in in Rutland County, as well as scattered other lowland towns around the state. I suspect it is because there are no permanent groundwater seeps, that do not ever dry up during a dry summer, in those towns. Perhaps those towns do not have large enough and productive enough watersheds to maintain permanent groundwater seepage areas (springs). We were pleasantly surprised to find a permanent seep that held Northern Duskies along the base of Snake Mountain in Bridport.

Those species that use seepage areas and mountain streams can often be found even during the middle of winter. The groundwater is warm enough to melt the snow and keep both snow and ice from accumulating. Frogs such as Green Frogs and Pickerel Frogs often are found in these seeps during winter as well as the occasional Snapping Turtle. All of them are taking advantage of the geothermal “heating” (around 45°F). The water still feels cold on your hands when you bring them out of the water and up into the winter air. We keep the amphibians in containers of water while we photograph them and return them quickly to their “heated” seepage areas.

The photos below are Northern Dusky Salamanders. The first was taken by Megan Kane and the second by John Jose. Notice the chunky brown bodies with back legs that are larger and stronger than the front legs. John’s photo also shows the faint white diagonal line that can be seen on younger duskies. The line connects the eye with the rear of the lower jaw.


Notice the chunky brown bodies with back legs that are larger and stronger than the front legs. Photo by Megan Kane and used with permission.

Observe the faint white diagonal line that can be seen on younger duskies. The line connects the eye with the rear of the lower jaw. Photo by John Jose and used with permission.

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