Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission

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Salamander migration 2015 (8)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 27, 2015 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

LAST NIGHT WAS AMAZING!!! The number of people that came out to Beekman to see the migration was huge, easily over a hundred!!!. So many families and children. I suspect everyone got to see at least one spotted salamander and many spring peepers. All night there were so many spring peepers the road looked like popcorn popping. But it was the spotteds that stole the show. Things started out slow because it wound up drier than expected with just a few until about 9 or so. Then with rain coming in more and more started to appear. I have no idea how many crossed last night but it must have been a lot. The vernal pools were a cacophony of wonderful sounds too, spring peepers, chorus frogs, wood frogs, all singing their hearts out looking for love. The wood frogs are particularly exciting, because this was the first time in 12 years that we've had a breeding chorus and at both pools! In the first five years or so that we closed the road we never saw any. But the road closings have allowed the population to slowly rebound and there must have been dozens at the large pool. What an awesome night. It just took a little patience. Here are a few photos from last night.


Salamander migration 2015 (7) - Beekman Rd. to be closed today

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 26, 2015 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Last Night: Last night Beekman Road was closed out of an abundance of caution due to the varying forecasts that seemed to suggest temperatures in the mid-40’s and intermittent rain. Despite some decent showers mid-day and perfectly timed heavier rain right around dark, the temperatures fell to 40. In the past, we have seen salamanders on these kind of nights. But last night, reports from the road were that there was no migration or amphibian movement. Such is the joy of trying to think like a hibernating salamander or frog. We do our best, err on the side of caution for them and occasionally find ourselves wandering alone on an empty road on a wet, cold, raw night. Of course, that has its own sense of joy too, just absent what we hoped to see. Hey, it’s nature and we try our best to unravel its secrets, sometimes perfectly other times not quite so much.

 

Tonight: So tonight we will try again. The weather forecasts are not quite as wet as they were predicting it would be yesterday, but still it will be much warmer with temperatures around 60 (when were we able to last say that number in central NJ?) and probably some showers during the day and evening. Some weather outlets suggest the rain may even become steady after dark. I have no way of definitively knowing if there will be salamanders and frogs tonight but with temperatures around 60 and a chance of rain, Beekman will definitely be closed and I will definitely be wandering it with my flashlight. Hopefully the warmth will even trigger the first chorus of Spring peepers at our vernal pools.    


 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight.


Salamander migration 2015 (6) - Beekman Rd. to be closed today and tomorrow

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 25, 2015 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission is closely watching the weather and checking various weather outlets for the most up to date forecasts. Given the potential for precipitation (fortunately, finally liquid!!!) for tonight and tomorrow we are currently planning on closing the road both nights. There is some variability in the forecasts for tonight with some predicting showers or light rain as early as the late afternoon and others not until much later at night. All show expected temperatures in the 40's. Since we always try to err on the side of the safety of the salamanders and frogs and this year has featured unusual weather, closing the road tonight seems prudent. For tomorrow, there is a general agreement that it will be unseasonably warm (when was the last time we could say that?) with temperatures approaching or even slightly above 60 and least intermittent showers and rain. If this pans out tomorrow could be a great night for amphibians. Here is one of the weather graphs we regularly check from the WeatherUnderground.



IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight.




Salamander migration 2015 (5)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 25, 2015 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Despite relatively cold temperatures there have been big changes at the vernal pools this week. A few days ago most of the ice was gone. We are carefully watching the weather and may close the road tonight and tomorrow night. The forecast for today looks like showers developing by late afternoon and temps in the mid-40’s. The showers\rain are forecast to continue throughout the night and then tomorrow looks to be very warm and rainy. Here is a photo of the larger vernal pool from Sunday.

 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently.

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!


Salamander migration 2015 (4)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 15, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

March 15 - Beekman Road will be closed for the first time tonight.

The Friends of the EBEC has been continually monitoring the weather and the vernal pools and has decided to close the road tonight for a variety of factors noted below. Please read the critically important safety notes below and follow them completely.

As for the salamander migration, a steady rain began overnight in the early morning hours and is forecast to continue through the afternoon tapering to showers by evening. Temperatures are forecast to rise throughout the day to 51 or 52. In a perfect salamander world, these conditions would be ideal to stimulate migration to the vernal pools. But anyone that has spent time in New Jersey the past two months knows that our weather has been very cold and snowy with temperatures way below normal and snow on the ground for an unusually long extended period of time. How these factors might impact the timing of the migration this year is a good and very interesting question. In a “normal” year before the migration, there would be choruses of spring peepers at the pools and elsewhere around the state and Red-backed salamanders would be easy to find under logs in the upland woods. I’ve yet to hear a peeper, haven’t heard from anyone that they have either and I haven’t seen a single Red-backed salamander yet this year. This unpredictability of the migration and when we might see the spotted salamanders and frogs is one of the most exciting aspects of trying to figure out when to close the road and when they might move. But we always err on the side of caution for the salamanders. I know I will be out on Beekman tonight. If there aren’t any salamanders, I’ll know it’s coming soon and will have learned a little bit more about their spring migration patterns. But if they do migrate, I’ll be doing my “Spring has Sprung” dance and celebrating that winter is really over.   Dave.


IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently.

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!



 

Salamander migration 2015 (3)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 13, 2015 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (2)

Dave has been monitoring the weather and talking to field ecologists in the last 24 hours.  The rainfall has been pushed back even later and the temperatures don't seem like they will get as warm as forecast earlier. When it does finally start raining they look to be in the upper 30's too which is cold. Dave also checked Beekman and there has been a lot of melting in the last 48 hours but the woods still have a decent amount of snow. He also lifted a bunch of logs and it is still pretty cold under them and there weren't any red backed salamanders or other fauna normally found before the spotteds move. The vernal pools have also melted a bit and now have a very narrow fringe of open water which is a good sign that things are progressing along.

Based on Friends' obesrvation in the last 12 years we may see a large migration this weekend.  Or not...

Beekman Road will remain open tonight, but will most likely be closed tomorrow.  An update will be published here.



Salamander Migration 2015 (2)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 12, 2015 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Friends EBEC are continually monitoring the weather forecast and the ground near Beekman Road vernal pools for optimal migration conditions.  This weekend is shaping up nicely. Between now and then temps are forecast to be mild or at least near normal. Rainfall is expected to begin late Friday night or very early Saturday morning and continue all day through Saturday, possibly even as late as 9pm. Rainfall totals look high with 3/4 to an inch possible. Humidity Friday night preceding the rain looks relatively high as well. Given all of this and looking ahead 36 hours, the Friends may decide to close the road on Friday night and Saturday night. Friday night probably wouldn't feature much movement except possibly late but we have had a number of evenings when the humidity was high preceding a strong rainy low and saw movement despite not having rain. We will keep checking the weather, Dave Moskowitz will be back at the pools to check ground conditions, to help make a better and more educated decision tomorrow.



 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently.

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!


Salamander migration 2015 (1)

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 12, 2015 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

With the warm temprature and rain in the forecast, salamander migration may start soon.  Updates and information on road closing will by published here, and on our Facebook and Twitter.  PLEASE read the safety reminders below.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently.

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!


Salamander update #12 - Beekman Road will be closed tonight for amphibian protection

Posted by Friends EB EC on April 7, 2014 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Beekman Road will be closed today, Monday, April 7, for amphibian migration.

The road will be closed from 7pm until 6am tomorrow morning.

It is possible that the whole population of spotted salamanders have already migrated to the veranl pool during pevious rainy nighs. However,  we decided to clost the road tonight beacuse the ground is wet, the rain continues, and the tempratures are high enough for amphibian activity, and there may be some individuals still waiting to cross. 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS


Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently. 

Please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

Salamander Migration Update #11

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 30, 2014 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Beekman Road will be closed today, Sunday, March 30, for amphibian migration.

The road will be closed from 7pm until 6am tomorrow morning.

Although there were many spring peepers, no salamanders were found crossing the road yesterday. It is possible that the whole population if spotted salamanders made it to the veranl pool. However,  we decided to clost the road tonight beacuse the ground is wet, the rain continues, and the tempratures are high enough for amphibian activity, and there may be some individuals still waiting to cross. 

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

Be carful when you park - there is a big ditch next to the parking area at the back to Tamarack - car have been stuck there a few times recently. 

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

Salamander Migration Update #10

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 29, 2014 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Beekman Road will be closed today, Saturday March 29, for amphibian migration.  The road will be closed from 7pm until 6am tomorrow morning.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.


Salamander Migration Update #9

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 28, 2014 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Beekman Road will remain open to car traffic today, Friday, March 28th.  With very little rain in the afternoon, and no rain in the evening, we think the ground will not be wet enough for salamander to move. 

We are watching the weather for tomorrow - and as of now we are thinking of closing the road on Saturday, March 29th.  Please check the website / Facebook / Twitter for updates.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.


Salamander Migration Update #8

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 20, 2014 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (1)

What happened last night? From an ecological perspective, the temperatures were around 40 near dark and the steady rain held off until about 8:30. The afternoon rain that began about 4:00 didn't last long although it certainly increased the humidity and wetted everything down. For anyone arriving just after dark, at first it was simply an empty, cold, wet road. Still fun and exciting but lacking any amphibians. From about 7:30 to 8:30 the rain began again but was generally light and intermittent. But about 8:30 it began to rain steadily and with it there was an evident increase in amphibian movements. Up until that time, other than a wayward spring peeper not much was seen on the road. But with the steady and heavier rain a few spotted salamanders began appearing and so did spring peepers. With the appearance of a few spotted salamanders there were actually screams of joy from some of the kids that dragged their parents out on a school\work night. However, from our observations there wasn't an unhappy adult face in the crowd.  About 75 people were walking the road with flashlights and braving the wet chill (that's salamander weather) and reveling in the last night of a long, cold, challenging winter and the advent of spring! It was quite evident from the reactions of so many people that when you see a spotted salamander making its way across Beekman Road even when it is wet and raw, it is worth every second of being out there.


If you weren't able to make it, here is a list of some of the highlights:


  • Well, for one thing, everyone that came out probably saw a spotted salamander and a spring peeper! 
  • The Friends led tours to the vernal pools and everyone that came along got to hear spring peepers calling and to see how amazing they are.
  • Denise Contrino, our incredibly amazing town-centric Town Council member came out and saw her first ever spotted salamander. We appropriately named it "Denise". 
  • The 4th graders in town are studying vernal pools and salamanders as part of an amazing grant awarded by the EB Education Foundation and they showed up en masse. We typically reserve the wods en masse for spotted salamander migrations but it was equally appropriate for them last night. They all came with an incredible knowledge of the importance and ecology of vernal pools and asked amazing questions too!   

So what is next? Salamander migrations tend to occur in waves and these first two nights both featured movements. We suspect that on subsequent rainy nights, especially if it ever gets warmer, that we will have increased amphibian activity on the road. The spotted salamander migration may be largely done but there will almost certainly be stragglers. Since every female can carry 100-300 eggs we don't want to risk losing even one and will close the road accordingly as weather conditions warrant. We also are striving to protect the suite of other vernal pool species in our vernal pools including Eastern newts, snapping turtles, pickerel frogs, green frogs, bull frogs, gray tree frogs, cricket frogs and wood frogs.
      

Vernal pools are the "oasis in the forest". Over the years we've lost the vast majority in East Brunswick. We are so fortunate to have the ones along Beekman Road protected on County lands. But with Beekman Road crossing through the habitat we need to be vigilant in protecting the species that utilize these last remaining special habitats. Please let the Mayor and Town Council, Police and Public Works know how much you appreciate their efforts. A HUGE kudos is due their unwavering concern and protection of our spotted salamanders, turtles, newts and frogs!      

Salamander Migration Update #7

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 19, 2014 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Beekman Road will be closed tonight. According to the NOAA forecast today looks to be damp with some light precipitation in the afternoon transitioning to rain after dark. Temperatures will be just above 40. With the big night exactly one week ago it is hard to know what might move on these subsequent rain events. But spotted salamander and frog migrations to vernal pools tend to occur in waves so we close the road to insure we don't miss any. 


Here is the latest NOAA forecast for today/tonight:


Today Scattered sprinkles and flurries before 2pm, then a chance of rain showers. Cloudy, with a high near 43. Southeast wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.


Tonight Showers, mainly before 3am. Low around 38. Southeast wind 8 to 10 mph becoming southwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.


IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY AND FLASHLIGHTS

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE (Children included) MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.



 

Salamander Migration Update #6

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 18, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Since the big night last Wednesday, there hasn't really been any combination of temperature and precipitation to suggest another migratory movement or much amphibian activity. But all that may change tomorrow if the NOAA forecast pans out:


A chance of showers after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Southeast wind 7 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


Wednesday Night Showers likely, mainly before 2am. Cloudy, with a low around 36. Southeast wind 7 to 10 mph becoming southwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.


So we are closely monitoring the conditions and will decide whether to close Beekman Road sometime tomorrow. With the big migration last week we don't know what to expect on the next few warmish rainy nights. Typically in mid-March and April these kind of nights are excellent for stimulating amphibian activity. Spotted salamander migrations often occur in waves and the migration we saw last Wednesday night may have been just the first of a few.  


A VERY IMPORTANT SAFETY REMINDER -

READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS!

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.


 

  

Salamander Migration Update #5

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 12, 2014 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Tonight was amazing! The salamanders surprised us with one of the best nights ever. So much for our earlier post that it might not be a big night because of the temperature and lack of rainfall. As it turned out, bands of heavy steady rain began to fall right after dark and the temeprature held pretty steady near 60. That was apparently the right combination and a big trigger for a big migration. When my daughter and I left at 10 PM we had counted 81 spotted salamanders, countless spring peepers, a few green frogs, a Pickerel frog and the first wood frog I've ever seen on the road. There were even choruses of spring peepers at the pools. Tonight just goes to show how difficult it is to predict when the salamanders might cross and why we close the road even when we aren't sure. There will certainly be other nights of movement this spring, but tonight was a biggie for sure. Luckily we decided to close the road and a huge number of salmanders were able to safely cross tonight. Everyone that came out was treated to quite the show. Here are a few photos from tonight. See you on the enxt warm rainy night out on Beekman. 


 


Salamander Migration Update #4

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 12, 2014 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Beekman Road will be closed tonight. However, as often happens in March, the forecast has not really panned out as predicted. This morning NOAA was calling for rain by 1 PM and steady heavy rain by late afternoon with imbedded thunderstorms in the evening. While we have had some light rain it hasn't been very heavy. So our thoughts are that tonight will not be the "big night". We have seen movement on these type of nights, but with falling temperatures predicted for tonight, it just may become too cold too fast and not feature enough rain for much of anything. But then again, maybe there will be salamanders and our prediction is wrong :) 

Regardless, we always try and err on the side of the salamanders. Since each female can carry hundreds of eggs, we don't want to take a chance and not close the road on nights when they might migrate. The loss of a single female means the potential loss of many salamanders to the overall population. Predicting the migration is simply an educated guess and we do the best we can. We close the road on multiple nights each spring when we think they may migrate just to be sure.         

READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS!

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE MUST have their OWN flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.

 

 

Salamander Migration Update #3

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)

For anyone that has the pleasure to walk outside today in the brilliant sunshine and wonderful and long overdue warmth it is very evident that big changes are happening and fast. While we are going to face some colder temperatures Thursday, today is a harbinger of things to come. Eight days ago when I visited the vernal pools they were frozen solid and the ground was completely snow covered. Yesterday I checked the vernal pools and the snow was almost entirely gone. The larger vernal pool was 1/3 open water and the smaller vernal pool had a narrow open water fringe (see photos below). I turned over a bunch of logs but found nothing, not even a Red-backed salamander. Still, there were no frost crystals and the leaf duff was nice and moist and not frozen.

Despite the ridiculously cold and snowy winter we've had, the weather is shaping up to be very interesting for tomorrow. Today may have record-breaking temperatures and tomorrow is also going to be moderate during the day, although the temperature will be falling steadily from the afternoon into the evening. Tomorrow also looks pretty wet with mid-afternoon rain, possibly a good soaker, through early evening. NOAA has indicated that the rain may transition to sleet or snow but that won't likely happen until well after dark if there is still moisture left in the storm system.


So, what does this all mean regarding the potential for some salamander migration tomorrow? Well, this is the fun and the stress of trying to predict what nature will do! But, I would say that despite the really cold weather we've had, we should definitely keep an eye on tomorrow over the next few weather model forecast runs. We want to watch the timing of the rain and the temperature profiles toward dark. At this point I would say there is a better than even chance we should close the road even if it turns out only to be for safety sake (the salamanders of course). 

 

NEVER (AND WE MEAN NEVER) WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED!!!

If the road is closed and you come out at night, please be aware that Church Lane is very dark and cars move at fast speeds. Use extreme caution when parking or crossing the road and especially be watchful of your children. NEVER WALK BEEKMAN ROAD AT NIGHT IF THE ROAD IS NOT CLOSED - IT IS NOT SAFE!!!

If you come to the road, EVERYONE MUST have their own flashlight. It will help see things in the dark, make the night much more fun and prevent accidentally stepping on a salamander or spring peeper.


Salamander Migration Update #2

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 4, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Once again we are thrust into a deep freeze with temperatures that are well-below normal and highly unusual for this time of the year. But Daylight Savings time is this weekend and with it a forecast for moderating temperatures to slightly below or near normal for the first time in weeks. Hopefully this will spell the end of the seemingly never-ending cold we've had this winter and we can finally get on to spring time fun - like salamanders and spring peepers! It doesn't take much to make things happen this time of the year and despite the cold, the salamander migration can't be too far off. Just a few days of warmer weather coupled with rain and the salamanders will have the triggers they need to head to the vernal pools to breed.


Spotted salamanders typically migrate when there is a sustained period of at least a few days of temperatures near 50  along with some rain and high humidity. There is also a need for open water at the vernal pools so that the migrating salamanders can slip into the pool. On Sunday I visited the pools and they were frozen end to end. According to WeatherUnderground the long-range forecast for the next 10 days doesn't seem to feature many days with temperatures near 50, in fact only one day will be in the high 40's. Most days have very cold nights and daytime highs in the upper 30's or low 40's. It is a long way off but believe it or not, there is even a forecast for a rather sizeable accumulating snow for Tuesday/Wednesday.  For anyone interested in seeing what is going on at other vernal pools in the east check out Amphibian Tracker where people post what they are seeing - https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=214851865952293876825.0004eefde6632301e7528&dg=feature ;              


Last year at this time we had already closed the road a few times and were waiting for the "big night". If you have never been to our Beekman Road closings or seen a spotted salamander migrate, make this the year! To give you a sense of what it is all about check out the Salamander Migration Updates from last year @ http://www.friendsebec.com/apps/blog/categories/show/968662-salamander-migration. Last year I was also very lucky to have my daughter Hannah home from college. Hannah has been visiting and entering the vernal pools since we started this project 11 years ago and shared her thoughts on the migration. It is worth a read and is guaranteed to bring you out to the road this spring - http://www.friendsebec.com/apps/blog/show/24838765-salamander-thoughts-by-hannah-moskowitz ;


Stay tuned, so much more to come! Here are a few photos from the vernal pools on Sunday.

   


Salamander Migration Update #1

Posted by Friends EB EC on February 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since the last salamander migration! This will be the 11th year we have been protecting the spotted salamanders and frogs along Beekman Road during their spring migrations to the vernal pools to breed. We are deeply thankful for the unerring support of the Mayor, Town Council, Police and Public Works for their help protecting the only remaining population of spotted salamanders in town.

Despite the Polar Vortex, continual snow cover since early January, abnormally cold temperatures and yet another snowstorm on its way, there are many signs of spring poking through outside. I recently saw two male Red-winged blackbirds on territory, maple tree buds are swelling, the sun angle and strength is increasing and the days are noticeably longer. As the proverb says "March may come in like a lion, but rest assured it will go out like a lamb". And somewhere in that time frame we will all be treated to another awe-inspiring salamander migration on some raw rainy night when spring peepers are popping along the road like popcorn.

As we've done for many years, we will be trying to predict the migration as best as possible so we can close the road. The migration is a complex mix of factors related to air and soil temperature, rainfall, seasonality and soil moisture. We do our best to understand these various factors and couple that with what we and other field biologists are seeing in vernal pools around the rest of the state. Admittedly, predicting the migration is a little bit of guesswork coupled with science - both fun and stressful. We will be writing these updates with our thoughts so everyone can see what factors we are considering.      

Stay tuned, much more to come!