Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ambystoma Afternoon 10-11-2014

Saturday, October 11th, was an official non-herping day. Our plan was to sleep in and do some housework as it was going to be cold and rainy outside. When we finally got up for good at about 11:30 AM, it was... cold and rainy. We set about cleaning and writing and doing bills and stuff... just like responsible people. But by 3 PM, we noticed that it was no longer raining. Sure, it was cold but... might not that rain have inspired some salamanders?

Sure enough, with very little convincing needed, we were headed to a spot in Norfolk County to look for some salamanders. Our target? The endangered and elusive Marbled Salamander, the one species of Ambystoma we missed last weekend. We arrived at about 3:30 PM, knowing we wouldn't have light for much longer. First up... Redbacks.

It really was cold and we were feeling fortunate that we had seen the Redbacks. Andrea checked out the campground ladies room for Wood Frogs and only found some lovely spiders holing up in there.

We were taking our usual trip on these trails... backwards, which got a tad confusing. Our goal is to find the Marbled breeding vernal and we think we have an idea where it is, so that is the way we headed. We finally found the spot but it is still dry. We set about flipping. Andrea calmly said "there's one".
Holy crap... we found a target for once! AND, we found it where we think the vernal is.
And you can't tell me that gal isn't ready to lay her eggs!
Wow! So, we're that much closer to being correct about our possible Marbled vernal! YAY!!

The same log also was home to a couple of Redbacks.

Further along, a Leadback...

And a pretty Redback.

We got to a stream, but the bed was dry. Not too dry for a couple of Two-Lined Salamanders, though!

Deciding to take the whole trail rather than turn back (we were just short of the half way mark), we picked up the pace due to the impending dusk. One last good flip was in order, though... a Spotted Salamander!
A decent sized adult!

An ambystoma afternoon! But before it became evening on us, we had to get moving. The sunset was lovely over the pond, which was very low and even dry in some parts.
^ check out the steam on the water in the back^

By the time we hit the woods again, it was headlamp time. But that was 2 1/2 hours well spent on a day that we had planned on not herping at all! Serendipitous salamanders are the finest of all. Plus, with last weeks Jefferson's and Blue-Spotted, we saw all four Massachusetts Ambystoma within a week! Take that, housework!


  1. I thought the date on this entry looked familiar, so I went back through my field notes and saw that this was the exact date myself and two others were also searching for Opacum and their nests, also in Norfolk County! We didn't have any luck that day, but the location is a known hotspot, and recent return trips at the icy pool have turned up 20+ larvae. An adult is still high on our wishlist though!
    Anyway, love the blog. Keep the entries coming, you have at least one fellow Bostonian herper thoroughly entertained!

    1. Very cool! Thank you! I'd love to dip a larvae or two to verify our pool!! Soon, I hope!