Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission

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Salamander Migration Update #16 - WOW!

Posted by Friends EB EC on March 13, 2013 at 7:35 AM

It's hard to find a better word for last night than, WOW! Everything came together perfectly, weather, salamanders, frogs and people for a spectacular night on Beekman Road. During the day, above normal temperatures combined with heavy rain setting the stage for what we hoped would be a big night. And for anyone that came out, it would have been very hard to be disappointed. We were a little concerned around 5pm when the rain tapered off and the skies began to clear, but when the first spotted salamander appeared around 7pm, there was hope. Loud choruses of spring peepers carried to the road from the vernal pools but it took another half hour or so for the second spotted salamander to appear. As more and more people began to filter onto the road, so did the spotted salamanders and spring peepers and from there on it was a steady movement of both. Gauging by the vast number of smiles, crouched circles of people and numerous camera flashes, it seems like everyone had a chance to see at least a few spotted salamanders and spring peepers crossing Beekman Road. Most people I spoke with said they saw lots of salamanders and two posted reports from last night both noted seeing 20+. It is hard to estimate how many salamanders may have made their way to the vernal pools last night but it must be in the hundreds, maybe much more when the entire landscape around the pools is figured in. We also tried to estimate the number of people that came out to see the migration and that was easily over 100 too. So all in all, an absolutely amazing and spectacular night. It tooks a few false starts and some patience, but it was worth it!


Huge kudos are due the salamanders and frogs that made the night perfect for everyone, all the people that came out to walk the road, and the Township Administration, Public Works and Police Department for insuring that our last remaining population of spotted salamanders can safely cross Beekman Road year after year.


So, what's next? Since this is only the first night we had significant movement, and spotted salamander migrations often happen in pulses with one big night and then some smaller ones, we will likely close the road a few more times this spring. We are also going to try and merge one of the road closings with a hike to the vernal pools. If you have only been to the road, but have never ventured through the woods and been up close to the spring peeper choruses, you will be in for quite a treat. It's hard to believe how those tiny frogs can make so much noise!


Stay tuned, there is much more to the vernal pools, Moth Nights, Farmers Markets, Nature Author talk, Butterfly Park....

Categories: Salamander migration

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1 Comment

Reply Katie
8:20 AM on March 13, 2013 
My three young daughters and I were there last night. It was amazing! My kids were so excited! I think my nine year old would have stayed out there all night looking for salamanders. It was so great to have an opportunity to see these amazing little creatures. I was surprised at how tiny the frogs were, and how huge the salamanders were!

If you are a parent considering coming out to watch, you really should! The excitement of being out in the dark with flashlights and walking IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD added to the thrill for my kids.