I know we've done blog posts before on salamanders but I just had to share my photos from last night.
The conditions were perfect for the migration of salamanders and frogs. It has to be above 40 degrees, raining and after dark. I went to Brecksville reservation (right off Valley Parkway by Deer Lick Cave). They have the road closed for the migration and Cleveland Metroparks naturalists are out there educating people about what is going on.
Each spring, the salamanders and frogs come out of their burrowing habitat and cross over to the vernal pools to breed. This is really the only time you will see salamanders as they spend the majority of the year burrowed away. Im not entirely sure about the frogs but I know when I do my FrogWatch monitoring, Ive only heard them and never seen them.
Vernal pools are temporary pools of water that provide important habitat for different plants and animals. They are very important because (as I learned last night) these amphibians return to roughly the same spot they bred in the past years. So if that habitat is destroyed, the aren't successful for another generation. Fortunately the vernal pools in the metroparks are protected. Unfortunately the vernal pools outside parklands are not and are often filled in.
It was silent when I started walking out, with the exception of a few spring peepers. Their call is short and high pitched, you can't miss it. After dark, the wood frogs all started calling at once and it was AMAZING! It was like a chorus broke out in the pools. The wood frogs have a guttural sounds which when all together sound like a bunch of turkeys. Then the peepers calls got stronger and it was ON!!
I HIGHLY recommend heading out to see this. It is one of those (to quote a friend) "OMG, nature is so cool and freaky" moments.
They should still be crossing the next couple of nights. Again, it has to be above 40 degrees, raining and dark. Bring a flashlight and use it. Be very careful where you walk. Once they get going, they are everywhere!!! The spring peepers are about as big as your thumb so it's very easy to squish one.
There are so many incredible treasures in nature. Im always flabbergasted when anyone says they are bored. I always say, with great conviction, have you gone outside today??
Tonight Im heading to Mill Stream Run reservation (Main Street ball diamond) to see the woodcocks and their aerial courtship display. Starts at 6:00pm. If you are "bored" why don't you join me?
Blog author: Amy Roskilly, Conservation Education Program Manager