There’s a myth environmental educators like to tell, and it goes something like this: after every long northern winter, spring returns. Days lengthen, temperatures rise, the snowpack slowly disappears, and one afternoon, it begins to rain – a soaking, 45-degree rain that continues well into the night. [Read more…] about Critter Crossings: Amphibians In Spring
One spring, following heavy rain, I visited the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area in Vermont hoping to capture exciting photographs of the rushing Winooski River. Rather than raging floodwaters, however, I found the river’s floodplain was efficiently – and slowly – accommodating the onslaught of rainwater. [Read more…] about Rivers, Wetlands and Floodwaters
On a warm, rainy April night a few years ago, I drove up our muddy, rutted dirt road through the mist, steering around the wood frogs hopping across the road. As I approached the vernal pool, there were more frogs in the road, so I parked to avoid hitting them and walked the rest of the way. [Read more…] about Salamander Mysteries: Complicated Genetics
Community volunteers throughout the Hudson Valley are getting out their flashlights, reflective vests, and raingear in anticipation of annual breeding migrations of salamanders and frogs, which typically begin in mid-March.
Volunteers in the Hudson Valley will record their observations as part of DEC’s Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings Project, coordinated by the Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University. [Read more…] about Volunteers Prepare for Salamander and Frog Migration
Early autumn is the time fog frequently shrouds valleys in the morning, and a heavy dew regularly coats unprotected surfaces for several hours after sunrise. As the atmosphere begins to cool with the change in seasons, moist conditions often develop at night and can continue well after dawn.
This is ideal for our various terrestrial amphibians, which require damp surroundings for their survival. Among the members of these moisture sensitive vertebrates is the red-spotted newt, a unique form of salamander that goes on the move as the foliage changes color. [Read more…] about Red-Spotted Newts In Autumn
We like to think that everything in nature has its own particular time and place. But nature is fond of throwing us curves. As a naturalist, a common question I’m asked during foliage season is, “why are spring peepers calling in my woods at this time of year?” [Read more…] about What’s That Sound? Fall Peepers
The dazzling light shows put on by synchronous fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are so popular that park managers have had to institute a lottery system for viewing them.
An entire recreation industry has grown up around kayaking through glowing surf from Florida to Washington.
And a few years ago, I even saw someone dressed as a deep-sea anglerfish at a Halloween concert – complete with glowstick lure dangling from her forehead. [Read more…] about Amphibians Aglow: Biofluorescence On Show
Spring is a season when the greatest abundance of natural sounds echo across the landscape. During the day, birds are primarily responsible for the variety of musical calls; however as darkness approaches, especially when the weather is mild, the voices of amphibians produce our most captivating sounds. [Read more…] about What’s That Sound? The Gray Tree Frog
With the arrival of spring temperatures, amphibians have begun their annual migrations to woodland pools to breed. Often, they must cross roads to reach these pools.
In most of New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in late March and early April, when the night air temperature is above 40F. When these conditions exist there can be explosive, “big night” migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move. [Read more…] about Watch Out for Amphibians Crossing the Road