It's a wet but cool day and we are closing the road tonight. This will likely be the last closure this season or maybe one more, but the end is in sight. We wait all winter for the amphibian migration and how quickly it comes and goes. But what excitement we had this year with so many spotted salamanders and frogs crossing the road and spring peepers and wood frogs singing their hearts out for us. I hope everyone that came was treated to lots of amphibians! But even with the migration over, don't stop visiting the vernal pools! They are awesome throughout the spring and summer as they harbor so much biodiversity. They really are the oasis in the forest. A visit day or night when the gray treefrogs are calling or when the pool is filled with dragonflies is nothing short of wonderful. If you visit at night after we stop closing the road you can still safely access the pools without walking on Beekman Road (never walk on Beekman if it isn't closed!). Simply park in the new county parking lot next to the house on Beekman and walk the dirt road that leads away from Beekman Road. It will bend around to the right behind the house at the edge of the farmfields and before too long after another bend to the right there will be a trail marker leading into the woods and right to the larger vernal pool. It might be worth scoping out during the day so you know where to walk. Nighttime visits on warm summer visits with fireflies blinking all around you, bats foraging over the water and a bright flashlight to scan the shallow water at the edge of the pool for aquatic stuff will make for an awesome evening foray! Here is a link to a cool video from NJ.com about the migration this year with some great salamander footage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYk3VFIPvPo
SAFETY FIRST: A few VERY IMPORTANT Safety Rules! Please Read Them Thoroughly
Human Safety -
Amphibian Safety -
We have been extremely fortunate this year to have Dhruv and his scout troop (66 from Edison, NJ), collecting data about our migration. Dhruv developed the study with the NJDEP Endangered and Non-Game Species Program, Conserve Wildlife and The Friends of the EBEC to help us understand the dynamics of the migration and how that might relate to our conservation efforts both on Beekman Road and across the state. He as kind enough to write a post about the migration on Wednesday night and to share some preliminary data. Not to mention the troop took the time to cleanup the woods along Beekman Road of a huge amount of trash. Here is his post (stay tuned for more from Dhruv!):
Last night (Wednesday night - March 31), we had quite an exciting blend of species. Compared to previous nights where Spring Peepers made up well over 50% of species tallied, it was the first time they were not the majority. Instead, frogs that breed later in the season (including the northern grey tree frog and green frog) were seen more frequently. We also noted that 25.8% of animals counted yesterday were heading back across Beekman Road to the wintering/wooded areas, signing that spring breeding for these species is likely drawing to a close. The night was filled with a beautiful melody of calls, including the wonderful spring peepers, of course, but also some less common species, including the NJ Chorus frog. Last week many of us were upset by the overabundance of litter along the road. I am delighted to say that we were able to pick up 10 bags full of trash, totaling at least 70 pounds! We are also excited for the upcoming nights as they are likely to feature scores of amphibians crossing from both sides--late breeders crawling to the pools, and the rest heading back home.