Friday, April 3, 2009

Big Night?

Today's weather is looking good for an amphibian migration or "Big Night." On the first warm-ish (in the 40's) rainy night of the year, animals such as spotted salamanders and woodfrogs emerge by the hundreds from their forest homes and travel to vernal pools, temporary ponds usually created by snowmelt, to lay their eggs. This is the only time of year you are likely to see these mysterious creatures - so, if you are in an adventurous mood, head outside tonight around 9:00 with a flashlight and take a walk down the road. Hopefully you'll see some action!
If possible, feel free to gently move animals off the road, but keep them going in the direction they are headed.

Here is a picture I took about 3 years ago of a female spotted salamander on Gould Pond Road in Henniker...

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Today we had a homeschool program called "The Big Thaw" - first we hung up nest boxes for the birds soon returning from the south. Then we went down for a little exploration of the pond. The ice is almost gone and the kids found all kinds of critters including very young damselfly nymphs, waterboatmen, water spiders, AND to our great delight, two adult Eastern Spotted Newts!

We haven't heard any peepers or woodfrogs yet, but are sure to soon. It is supposed to be warm and rainy this week, so we are hoping for an amphibian migration. Try going out with a flashlight in the dark (after 8:00pm) if it is raining and the temperature is over 40 degrees - you may be lucky enough to see spotted salamanders!