Friday, February 26, 2016

Salamander Time

We made what has become our annual visit to Beekman Road in East Brunswick, New Jersey this past Wednesday. The main attraction is these guys, Spotted Salamanders:

This was the first rainy night with temperatures above 50° F. And the amphibians were on the move.

Patty scared this one and it curled up to hide. We saw four Spotted Salamanders this trip but the heavy rain made photography difficult.

This is the first salamander we saw this trip, a Red-Spotted Newt in the "Red Eft" phase.

It is the first and only of this species that we've ever seen at Beekman Road. Very cool.

Frogs were also on the move including this one, a Northern Spring Peeper:

We saw several of these along with a couple of Wood Frogs.

This is the time of year that amphibians awake from hibernation and head out to ponds and vernal pools to mate. Unfortunately this likely involves crossing roads with often disastrous results for the frogs, toads, and salamanders. Fortunately the amphibians of Beekman Road have help. The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission monitor conditions and when they are right for migration they close the road to vehicular (but not foot!) traffic.

Not all populations are so fortunate, but you can help. In New Jersey the Amphibians Crossing Project of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is a citizen science project where volunteers act as "chaperones to an amphibian dance." Search the web for similar projects in your state.

No comments: