Salamander Blog & Updates

Salamander Migration 2016, Update #3

The warmer temperatures have been steadily melting the ice on the vernal pools. The Friends are constantly monitoring field conditions and the weather forecast in our attempt to predict the annual Spotted Salamander and frog migration to our vernal pools. The forecast for early this week features temperatures in the 40's and an even warmer day on Wednesday with steady (and possibly heavy) rain all day and into the night. If that pans out, we will definitely close the road. Similar conditions around this date in previous years have had big salamander and frog movements. So stay tuned and be sure to join the Friends (it's free) so you'll have the most timely information about the migration and all of our other cool programs and events.

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

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Salamander Migration 2016, Update #4

After surveying the vernal pools and surrounding woods yesterday, the Friends made a very difficult decision last night not to close Beekman Road. It was based on a combination of factors including the field conditions and the weather forecast. When we were at the pools yesterday, the ground seemed quite cold beneath logs and there was still a fair amount of ice on the pools. We knew the forecast had some rain for a short period in the evening so we kept checking various weather outlets all day to better understand the timing. Although the day was quite warm the rain was forecast to be very light and wasn't expected to begin until after dark. So we began to panic when the first sprinkles began when it was still light and picked up in intensity with each passing hour. By 8:30 there was a steady drizzle and temperatures were still in the mid-40's so we checked the road to see if anything had decided to move. Fortunately, since the road wasn't closed, we didn't find anything expect one Spring Peeper. We carefully moved it off the road and after driving the road a few more times decided that the salamanders were still safely underground waiting on a more intense rainfall to migrate. We are very carefully monitoring conditions for tomorrow and Wednesday when warm temperatures and heavy rain may coincide. Stay tuned, things can happen very fast at this time of year.

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

Here is a photo of the lone Spring Peeper that was apparently testing the migration waters last night.

 

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Salamander Migration 2016, Update #2

Last night we closed the road for the first time. We didn't advertise it because we suspected it was too early. We were erring on the side of extreme caution because of the incredibly mild temperatures and heavy rain. As it turned out, our suspicions were confirmed and we were the only living thing walking across Beekman Road. It is wonderfully humbling that after 13 years of road closings and protecting the migrating frogs and spotted salamanders that we still have so much to learn about the migration. As it turned out, it seems like the exceptionally frigid cold over the weekend really froze the ground and even the quick rise into the 50's and heavy rain wasn't enough to defrost it. So the salamanders and frogs that are hibernating underground or in other sheltered spots beneath logs and in rotting tree stumps just didn't have the environmental cues they needed to awaken and migrate to the vernal pools. But it won't be long now. We are carefully watching the weather and continuously assessing the field conditions and will see everyone soon. Hopefully on a wonderful, raw, wet night filled with spotted salamanders and choruses of Spring peepers, Chorus frogs and Wood frogs that let us know we've made it through winter!

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Salamander Migration 2016, Update #1

As everyone knows this winter has been one of extremes, ranging from exceptionally warm temperatures and butterflies still flying in December to one of the largest snow storms we've had last week to the incredible warmth of the last few days. These are the kind of conditions that drive us crazy trying to figure out the timing of the frog and salamander migration to the vernal pools along Beekman Road. We've already made arrangements with the Police and by next week we will be ready to close the road if needed. It looks to be a cold week and there may even be another snow storm but the migration will happen soon.

 

The Friends have already begun monitoring the vernal pools and Beekman Road. Last night with the incredibly warm temperature and steady rain we took our first look. The pools were still ice covered and there was spotty snow in the woods but remarkably, there about 1/2 dozen spring peepers popping around. This is by far the earliest we've ever seen amphibians on Beekman Road by about 2 weeks at least. Whether this means an early migration remains to be seen but given the winter so far, we are expecting that. Stay tuned and we will continue to update what we see and what we think may happen. It can't be too long until that magical, raw, rainy night when our beloved spotted salamanders make their annual journey to the vernal pools along with the frogs.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS ABOUT SAFETY

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!!!

 

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