Field Reports from the 2009 Amphibian Migration

At a Glance: Salamander Season 2009

It was another wonky one, with lots of last minute starts and stops at the hand of capricious spring rains. When all was said and done, however, 120 Salamander Crossing Brigadiers crossed more than 4,300 amphibians at ten sites throughout southwest new Hampshire in 2009.

April 28, 2009

Final Tallies for 2009

A blue-spotted salamander impersonates wet pavement. (photo © Bonnie Caruthers)

Our very first blue-spotted salamander!
(photo © Bonnie Caruthers)

The weather was tricky this year — rain kept petering out at nightfall, then starting up again in the wee hours of the morning. As a result, a number of our sites never experienced a traditional Big Night, but we’re heartened by the fact that many amphibians likely migrated late at night, when the threat of road mortality is significantly reduced.

Even with the wonky weather, 120 Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers crossed more than 4,300 amphibians at ten sites throughout southwest new Hampshire in 2009.

In total, over 1,600 wood frogs, 1,450 spring peepers, and nearly 1,050 spotted salamanders, as well as handfuls of two-lined salamanders, four-toed salamanders, dusky salamanders, red-backed salamanders, Eastern newts, green frogs, pickerel frogs, bullfrogs, American toads, rare Jefferson salamanders and even a couple of baby painted turtles, were spared the crush of the tire by our dedicated crew of Salamander Crossing Guards. We also documented our first blue-spotted salamander!

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April 22, 2009
A wood frog pauses among pine needles. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

“Welp, that’s a wrap!” (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Homeward Bound

Weather conditions were PERFECT, but even so, numbers were relatively low at several of our sites, and many of the wood frogs and salamanders we crossed were heading back to the woods! It looks like the last few late-night rains provided a perfect opportunity for migration, and that salamander season has now started to wane.

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April 21, 2009

A Glimpse at the Chaos That is Predicting the Spring Amphibian Migration

just before sunset: This is David. Brett called from the road, and we can see that the band of rain is moving off to the east. Hate to say it, but we are using the prognostication of the radar to call it off for this early evening. Please have some patience with us, as we are like puppets on the strings of capricious spring rains. The amphibians don’t care as long as they get to go sometime, and they have had several late-night opportunities. 2 a.m. is just fine for them! So let’s hold off and see if we get a strangely predictable rain event in early evening sometime soon…

earlier in the day: This is Brett. It’s raining, and the radar shows this band of showers continuing through the early part of the evening, so we are calling out the Salamander Crossing Brigades!

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April 1, 2009
Portrait of a wood frog. (photo © Dave Huth)

Take me to the River (Road)… (photo © Dave Huth)

A Biggish Night, and That’s No Joke!

We’re still waiting for counts from several sites, but even so, pat yourselves on the back for crossing at least 450 spotted salamanders, 1275 wood frogs, and 430 peepers tonight!

River Road in Westmoreland was the superstar site, with 817 wood frogs and 150 spotties!

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Contact Us

To volunteer or for more information, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email.