Herp Update: Current Herp Activity, Amphibians of Vermont Field Guide, Vernal Pool Course – March 31, 2023

Herp Update: Current Herp Activity, Amphibians of Vermont Field Guide, Vernal Pool Course – March 31, 2023

Current Herp Activity

We have started getting reports of major amphibian migrations here in the Lake Champlain Basin.  Monica and Elka Erhart visited Morgan Road here in Salisbury and reported 181 Blue-spotted Salamanders, 48 Spotted Salamanders, 17 Wood Frogs, 2 Eastern Red-backed Salamanders, and 6 Four-toed Salamanders on the road in a single walk back and forth through the crossing area.  Matt Gorton reported similar amphibian migration at the North Street Crossing in New Haven.  I expect additional amphibian migration both tonight and tomorrow night here in the Lake Champlain Basin where almost all of our snow is gone.  Higher elevation, more northern, and completely snow-covered areas may have to wait until at least some ground is exposed.

We have also received some snake reports starting last week.  Karen Barber is the only reporter we have in Vermont who lives near a denning site for Eastern Ribbonsnakes (see her photo below).  Despite (or perhaps because of) being a more southerly species, it emerges from its dens very early in the spring.  She reported eleven Eastern Ribbonsnakes emerging this Wednesday.  This is the greatest number of this species reported in over a decade.

In addition we have had single reports of Common Gartersnake (Lesley Huston), Common Watersnake (Rick Armitage), and Northern Leopard Frog (Mary Holland).

Amphibians of Vermont Pocket Guide

Our folding pocket guide to the Amphibians of Vermont is now available.  Working with Teage O’Connor of Crow’s Path, we are excited to make available a beautiful folding pocket guide to the amphibians of Vermont.  This small folding guide easily fits in your pocket and has detailed color paintings of all of Vermont’s frogs and salamanders along with our latest distribution maps and descriptions.  You can see it and order it ($15) through our website at https://www.vtherpatlas.org/support-and-funding/amphibian-field-guide/

Vernal Pool Course Coming Up

My assistant Kate Kelly will be teaching a course on vernal pools through the North Branch Nature Center starting April 15.  As of yesterday, there were still a few openings left.  For more information or to register visit https://northbranchnaturecenter.org/biou-2023-amphibians

Several Eastern Ribbonsnakes gather outside a denning site.

Eastern Ribbonsnakes emerge from denning. Photo by Karen Barber.

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