Friday, April 7, 2017

We are April Fools. 4-4-2017

2017 continues to be crappy. The weather has been cold but we finally are getting some decent rain. Quite a lot, really. A group of us had been talking about seeing if salamanders would be moving on a cold Tuesday night but most of us had decided it wouldn't be worth it. But you know me... once an idea is in my head, it must be done. So, Andrea and I headed to Bristol County at about 8 PM to look and see if anything was moving.

It was 41° and misty rain was blowing. It wasn't super pleasant. But when we hit the trails, we could hear Peepers calling, and that made us feel fine right away. We didn't hear as many Wood Frogs as the week before. Of course, the Peepers got quiet when we got close enough to try to see them. I only laid my eyes on one. Unfortunately, my camera couldn't get the shot.
The attempt, however, is an amusing failure.

The pools were filled with Fairy Shrimp, some of which were quite large and colorful.

We got to a spot that is usually reliable for Spotted Salamanders and Wood Frogs. Sure enough, a Woodie was laying at the bottom of the pool, hoping to avoid the camera.

Plenty of Wood Frogs had already been in this pool, as evidenced by the multitude of eggs!

There were two Spotted Salamanders swimming about, too. I could only get a shot of one.

One Blue-spotted Salamander swam by and disappeared. Drat! But hey, this mass looks like it might belong to an Ambystoma.

We took a stroll over a small dune and saw a plump, clumsy American Toad there.

In the distance, we saw some flashlights coming up the trail. Two of our friends had decided to come out after all, and they had another friend with them. We waited for them. When we met up, they told us of a small sink-hole that had a trapped Spotted Salamander in it! Then we took them to the pool to show them the egg masses and Spotted Sals.

We walked along, looking out and enjoying each other's company. We had just about gone as deep into the haunted swamp as were wanted to and turned back. It was then that our friend found a Blue-spotted Salamander on the edge of a puddle. This one was happy to pose for us.
We enjoyed seeing it swim in the murky puddle.

Walking back, we listened to the Peepers and Wood Frogs making music. I got a Wood Frog in hand to show the newest member of our troupe. He was more of a mushroom guy and hadn't had the pleasure of seeing a Wood Frog up close.
This specimen started chirping in my hand but, of course, got quiet when I tried to film him. Que sera, sera.

Nearing the end of the trail, our friends showed us the hole in which they found the Spottie on the way in...

This magic hole now had an American Toad in it!

That was a lovely way to cap a good Tuesday night. Herping at night with friends is a rare treat and any Tuesday that you can photograph four species is a good one. It looks like the weather is finally going to warm up a bit so maybe this wacky year will start in earnest. A "big night" might well be a thing of the past. (Though my friends Ryan and Dom had pretty good luck the previous week in the Blue Hills... 30 or 40 Spotted Sals on the march!)

In this year of suck, I'm happy with any animals I see. You just never know what the future holds.


  1. Those look like blue spot eggs to me. Usually spotted eggs are a bit "murkier". In my book, a couple of adult blue spots on the move trumps a yellow spotted Big Night- Ryan vehemently disagrees.

    We got lucky in the BH that night- I was pretty confident there would be movement but I was shocked at just how many we saw. I actually went to a different spot this Tuesday and saw 12 on the move- like you, it wasn't even raining, just mist! I think the spotteds get impatient after a while.

    I hope you guys manage to get out on Tuesday. I know where I'll be!

    1. I agree... I think they are Blue-spotted Eggs.

      Neither sighting is better... they're ALL good!