Field Reports from the 2011 Amphibian Migration

At a Glance: Salamander Season 2011

Weather conditions never came together for a full-fledged mobilization of the Crossing Brigades in 2011, but we still crossed a few amphibians here and there — 590, to be exact, of 10 different species.

May 3, 2011

The Year Without a Big Night

A gray tree frog rests on a clipboard during the late spring amphibian migration. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A most charismatic visitor. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

In the last two weeks, amphibian egg masses have appeared in many towns in our neck of the woods, including Chesterfield, Hancock, Harrisville, Keene, Nelson, Peterborough and Swanzey. It would seem then that the spring migration has come to an end, with the bulk of this year’s amphibian movement occurring during a number of post-midnight, pre-dawn rains. While this is much less fun for us humans, the fact that amphibians were migrating in the middle of the night — when vehicle traffic is at its lowest — is a very good thing, indeed.

Even without a full-fledged mobilization of the Salamander Crossing Brigades, many of you performed spot checks on wet roads over the last few weeks.  All told, even without any significant early evening migrations, you crossed more than 590 individual amphibians (of 10 different species!) this year.

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April 25, 2011

Migration Winding Down

A toad strikes a regal pose. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A toad strikes a regal pose, as they are wont to do.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A few spotted salamanders were on the move in Nelson, Hancock and Westmoreland this evening, though many were moving AWAY from their breeding pools. Warmer-weather (non-migrant) species were out and about as well: many toads, peepers (always peepers) and — on North Lincoln Street — a gray tree frog and several juvenile wood frogs!

It appears the migration is indeed on the wane….

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April 19, 2011

Late-Night Salameandering

A spotted salamander crosses the road. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A spotted salamander eyes Nelson Road with appropriate caution. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Reports from Keene and Rindge indicate very minimal amphibian movement in the pre-midnight hours (….though Pam and Skyler Shuel in Rindge did cross a number of worms.) Wood frog chorusing has quieted quite a bit in Keene this week, and we’re wondering if the Keene migration has run its course during these many late-night rains.

Nelson, on the other hand, may have experienced a Big Night in last night’s late, light rain: Russ Cobb from Harrisville crossed 25 spotties (and found 6 dead) in less than an hour after 10 p.m. on Nelson Road!

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April 10, 2011

Fickle Spring Weather = Weird Amphibian Migration

A spring peeper and its shadow. (photo © Dave Huth)

A spring peeper prepares for late-night carousing.
(photo © Dave Huth)

Rains came in short bursts around 10, and then again much later. We suspect that many amphibians made their move in the wee hours of the morning — less fun for us humans, but infinitely safer for the salamanders!


Jordan Road. Jane crossed 1 live wood frog and spotted several dead on Jordan Road later on (wet road, but no rain).

North Lincoln Street. Sarah and Emily crossed 1 spotted salamander, 5 wood frogs and 20 peepers on a DRY road (!) in the early part of the evening.


Route 63. Pam and Bill crossed 6 spotties just after midnight.

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April 4, 2011

A Small Night

A Salamander Crossing Brigadier moves a Jefferson salamander across Jordan Road in Keene. (photo © Sigrid Scholz)

A Jefferson salamander gets a helping hand across Jordan Road. (photo © Sigrid Scholz)

The rain tapered off before sundown, but a small pulse of amphibians in Keene braved the wet roads anyway.


Jordan Road. Sigrid and family crossed 11 Jefferson salamanders, 9 wood frogs, 1 spottie, and 1 peeper in the early part of the evening.

North Lincoln Street. Brett and Russ crossed 4 spotties, 49 wood frogs, and 120 peepers in an hour at North Lincoln Street.

All things considered, these are “Small Nights” for both of these sites. The best is yet to come!

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Contact Us

To volunteer or for more information, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 525-3394 or by email.