Herp Update: Kickstarter for Field Guide, Fall migration activity—November 15, 2022

Herp Update: Kickstarter for Field Guide, Fall migration activity—November 15, 2022

Kickstarter campaign for the first ever Field Guide to Vermont’s Amphibians

Teage O’ Conner of Crow’s Path contacted us this spring asking for our collaboration in putting together a waterproof, tearproof, foldable, and super handy field guide to the amphibians of Vermont.  Since then we have been working together to finalize the text, images, and maps.

We’re about 90% of the way there and to help us cross the finish line, we’re running a Kickstarter campaign from November 15 through December 15 to raise $2,500. You can pre-order your copy of the field guide on Kickstarter to make sure it arrives well in advance of the first amphibian movement in the spring. Or make a larger donation and get stickers, a print of art from the guide, or even an original watercolor painting of your favorite amphibian! Learn more here:


Check out the Four-toed Salamander image for the guide below.

Herp Activity

As expected, Friday, November 11, was a big night for fall amphibian migration.  I have not heard from anyone outside of the Lake Champlain Basin, but those who ventured out at some of the known hotspots here in the valley saw a wide variety and large numbers of species.

For example here at Morgan Road, in a 25-minute walk over and back through our crossing area before dinner, I found 75 amphibians of 6 species.  My count consisted of:

31 Blue-spotted Group Salamanders
25 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders
12 Four-toed Salamanders
3 Wood Frogs
3 Spotted Salamanders
Gray Treefrog

Kate Kelly and her daughter Abby visited North Street early in the evening (from 6:45-7:30) and they reported 35 herptiles of 9 species:

11 Blue-spotted Group Salamanders
8 Four-toed Salamanders
3 Spotted Salamanders
3 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders
3 Spring Peepers
2 Wood Frogs
2 Gray Treefrogs
2 Common Gartersnakes
1 DeKay’s Brownsnakes

As expected, the species found in the largest numbers were Blue-spotteds, Eastern Red-backeds, and Four-toed Salamanders.  The Gray Treefrogs would not have been on the move had it not been close to 60 F.  The snakes were all roadkills that must have been moving across the road mid-morning when it was still sunny.  Some of the Blue-spotteds, Spotteds, Four-toeds, and Gray Treefrogs were tiny metamorphs that had transformed this summer and were heading uphill for the first time.  All the frogs seen are freeze-tolerant species and it is unclear if they were headed uphill or just out for some food.  The salamanders were clearly headed uphill.

Even though the immediate forecast is for cold and snowy weather, there may still be some uphill movement if we get a warm rain again in the next month.

Jim Andrews


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