Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spotted Salamander Search

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quit a day in Vermont as rivers rose above their banks after heavy rains that started yesterday afternoon. Banks along the Winooski River in Waterbury where I work necessitated evacuation of a parking lot. Fields along the river in Middlesex were covered the entire distance to Route 2 and the river road on the opposite bank was under water in places. Here in Marshfield the walk to the new Martin Covered Bridge was under water as were surrounding fields. We were fortunate that the thick ice broke up in early winter when another "spring" came and left.

Tonight I wanted to go looking for amphibians knowing that all the rain would wake them from their forest hiding places. The rain finally stopped and the temperature dropped and now at 36 degrees it's just too cold to think about going tonight. Amphibians, like aging gardeners, don't move quickly in cold weather.

These pictures of spotted salamanders are from two years ago. I usually put some wet moss in a couple dish pans and then take a couple wide beam flashlights. Any salamanders in the road I move along to safety and those that look like size records go into the pans until I can measure or photograph them. Soon the weather will warm and the migrations will be obvious. In the meantime, take a look at the North Branch Nature Center site and check out your neighborhood if you get a chance. Understanding what grows in your backyard is as important as growing flowers and vegetables.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the rain is now silent and the streams will have a chance to slow over night.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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1 comment:

cstantonrichards said...

Hello there!
Visiting your site for the first time in a long while and what should I come upon, but a picture of a spotted salamander - having seen the only one of my life just a couple of weeks ago. I think it was one - he was small and just the same colors - army fatigue with yellow spots. The melting snows and relentless rain had made their way into my basement here in Southwestern Vermont, and who was sitting in the middle of the puddle by the drain but my new house mate! I read your post about amphibian migration and am now intrigued! Also, speaking of migration, just saw my very first flock of robins - which evidently flock together when overwintering in New England before splitting up in the spring...So happy I remembered your name today and found you again!