[CT Birds] Last Night's Amphibian Migration (Off Topic)

Ian Devlin captain_ian at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 11 21:08:53 EST 2016

I went to go see if the amphibians would react to the warmth and rain last night. Was hoping to see Spotted Salamanders, toads and frogs too.

Started out at Waveny Park in New Canaan at 9:30pm. On the east entrance to the park along the curvy road, I pulled over my truck, turned it off and shut the lights off, and went along walking with my flashlight. Right off the bat....Lots of Spring Peepers, a few Wood Frogs, a couple American Toads hoping across the road to a near vernal pool to mate. Quite a few already crushed by vehicles, including one Spotted Salamander-bummer! 

Next spot I tried was Mountain Pond area in Danbury. Lots of non direct traveling to hear and see what was along the roads. I drove with windows down, radio off, air off, flashlight in my lap, and digital maps on my iPhone. Would stop when able to get closer looks at the little guys as I travelled. Saw many peepers, toads, and Wood Frogs along the way. Took pictures and scooped them across the road to where they wanted to go breed. Got up to Mountain Pond area on Long Hill Road. Finally saw two Spotted Salamanders ALIVE crossing the road as the rain started to intensify. Sweet! What beautiful amphibians! Was around 11pm.

Decided to try back down through Redding and Weston area near Saugatuck Reservoir. Lots of American Toads, Spring Peepers, and Wood Frogs and even one Green Frog. Found two more ALIVE Spotted Salamanders on Godfrey Road. Very cool!

Drove backroads wandering back through Norwalk, Darien (including Selleck Woods Park vernal pool) and Stamford until about 1am. Didn't realize how many amphibians react to this specific conditions during late winter and early spring. Can't venture to guess how many frogs, toads and salamanders get crushed on roads by vehicles during each Big Night movement, but it's a lot. 

I've never done this before purposely. What a learning experience! I observed right away that not all vernal pools always draw amphibians. Certain ones REALLY draw numbers. There are more vernal pools dotted in our area than I realized. 

Anyways, last night what a night I will always remember. Have heard of this phenomenon for years, and finally went under great conditions. I suspect during the rainy nights forecasted in a few days from now that you can see similar activity. 

Was good to help be a crossing guard last night for the hoppers and crawlers. Even had a few Great Horned Owls hooting in the various backgrounds.

Capt. Ian Devlin
East Norwalk, CT.

Sent from my iPhone

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