Field Reports from the 2013 Amphibian Migration

At a Glance: Salamander Season 2013

Our Salamander Crossing Brigadiers moved more than 3,000 amphibians out of harm’s way — over the course of two Big, and a few Small, Nights — in 2013.

April 19, 2013

After Midnight…

Jefferson salamander eggs. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A Jefferson salamander egg mass in a Keene vernal pool on April 16, 2013. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Heavy rains spurred amphibian movement to (and from!) breeding pools, but the rains arrived late, after many Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers were already in bed. We do have a few reports from intrepid salamander wranglers to share:

Keene

Eastern Avenue. One inspiring and hearty volunteer crossed 73 wood frogs and spring peepers from 10:30 pm to 12:30 am. She noted that 90% of the wood frogs were migrating back to the woods, their vernal pool missions accomplished!

Jordan Road. A small crew crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 1 Eastern newt, 9 wood frogs (1 dead), and 8 spring peepers (2 dead).

Nelson

Nelson Road. One self-described “lone volunteer and crazy woman” crossed 12 spotted salamanders (8 dead), 5 wood frogs, 40 spring peepers, 1 pickerel frog, 1 green frog, and 1 American toad just before midnight.

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April 16, 2013

On the Road Again

A wood frog crosses the center line of North Lincoln Street. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A wood frog makes her way through the world.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Wood frog and Jefferson salamander egg masses made their first appearance in Keene this week, but amphibian migrations continue in other parts of the region.  The rains came late last night, but a few intrepid Crossing Brigade volunteers were out anyway:

Hancock

The Conant High School Envirothon team — in Hancock for an overnight at the Harris Center — crossed 1 spotted salamander (2 dead), 2 redbacked salamanders, 11 wood frogs (12 dead), 7 spring peepers (1 dead), and noted 3 dead Eastern newts at three sites in Hancock.

Middle Road. Another Crossing Brigadier reported moving 32 wood frogs (3 dead) across a dry Middle Road in the span of one hour.

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Douglas Mills)

Springtime magic. (photo © Douglas Mills)

Newport

Oak Street. A three-generation team at Oak Street in Newport (not precisely the Monadnock Region, but we’ll report it anyway!) crossed 2 spotted salamanders (1 dead), 23 spring peepers (14 dead), and 1 unidentified frog — 26 live amphibians in all.

Peterborough

Summer Street volunteers moved 8 spotted salamanders (2 dead), 1 Eastern newt, 46 wood frogs (12 dead), 17 spring peepers (4 dead), and 4 green frogs across dry roads in the first part of the evening. Apparently, the afternoon rain and promise of late-night showers was all these critters needed to make their move! Of note: some of the wood frogs were headed away from the wetlands, a sign that their breeding is done for the year.

Springfield, VT

Route 5. Just across the river in Vermont, a New Hampshire couple moved 6 spotted salamanders, 32 wood frogs, and 7 spring peepers — 45 amphibians in all.

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April 10, 2013

A Big Night!

A spotted salamander peers out from the leaf litter. (photo © Stephen Day)

A spotted salamander peers out from the leaf litter on the side of Jordan Road. (photo © Stephen Day)

By all accounts, April 10 was a Big Night! Warm evening showers triggered widespread migrations, and Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers collectively saved over 1,600 amphibians from the crush of the tire at road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region, bringing our 2013 season total up to over 2,600 critters. Photos are up on our Flickr feed and Facebook page. Read on for details from the crossing in your town.

Antrim

A dynamic duo at West Street crossed 17 peepers (5 dead).

Harrisville

Hancock Road. A mother-son team crossed 24 spotted salamanders (2 dead), 5 redbacked salamanders, 2 wood frogs, and 5 spring peepers. On their way home, they crossed 6 more spotties and 1 wood frog on Grimes Hill Road.

Nelson Road. One dedicated salamander steward moved 24 spotted salamanders (5 dead). He also crossed 9 spotted salamanders and noted many dead along Chesham Road, between Chesham Depot and the intersection with Nelson Road.

Hancock

Link Road. Explorers at Link Road moved 71 live amphibians, including 7 spotted salamanders (2 dead), 2 redbacked salamanders, 25 wood frogs (22 dead), and 37 spring peepers (14 dead).

Keene

A smiling Keene State College student holds a spotted salamander. (photo © Stephen Day)

It’s all smiles, all the time, when salamanders are involved. (photo © Stephen Day)

At Eastern Avenue, a few intrepid volunteers crossed 21 wood frogs and 20 spring peepers, and noted more than 135 dead frogs. We clearly need more volunteers for this crossing site!

The Jordan Road crew moved 54 spotted salamanders (5 dead), 9 Jefferson salamanders, 3 Eastern newts (1 dead), 31 redbacked salamanders (4 dead), 1 wood frog, and 22 spring peepers, for a total of 120 live critters.

At North Lincoln Street, folks moved 18 spotted salamanders (1 dead), 7 redbacked salamanders, 19 wood frogs (many juveniles!), and 320 spring peepers (60 dead), for a total of 364 live critters.

Nelson

Nelson Road. Volunteers crossed 26 spotted salamanders (8 dead), 4 Eastern newts (6 dead), 35 wood frogs (7 dead), and 68 spring peepers (32 dead), for a total of 133 live critters.

Newport

Oak Street. A three-generation team crossed 11 spotted salamanders (7 dead), 11 spring peepers, and 1 pickerel frog, and noted 20 dead frogs in just half an hour.

A small wood frog perches on the finger of a Crossing Brigade volunteer. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

With the help of the Crossing Brigades, this wee wood frog is ready to take the leap! (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Peterborough

Summer Street. Volunteers moved 39 spotted salamanders (5 dead), 1 Eastern newt, 171 wood frogs (13 dead), and 142 spring peepers (59 dead), for a total of 353 critters.

Rindge

Old New Ipswich Road. A mother-son team crossed 4 spotted salamanders (9 dead), 5 Eastern newts (3 dead), 5 wood frogs, 30 spring peepers (2 dead), and 8 worms, and noted 37 dead frogs.

Robbins Road. Crossing Brigadiers moves 2 spotted salamanders, 20 wood frogs, and 1 American toad to safety.

Swanzey

The Swanzey Lake Road crew crossed 28 spotted salamanders (17 dead), 5 redbacked salamanders (1 dead), 2 wood frogs (1 dead), 24 spring peepers (14 dead), and 1 American toad (1 dead). One volunteer also ventured over to Matthews Road, where she crossed 3 spotted salamanders (4 dead) and 4 spring peepers (7 dead).

People crowd around to photograph a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Salamander paparazzi. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Westmoreland

Glebe Road.  A small, but dedicated crew crossed 23 spotted salamanders (5 dead), 12 Eastern newts (14 dead), 5 wood frogs, 46 spring peepers (18 dead), 3 pickerel frogs, and 1 American toad — 90 live amphibians in all.

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. 3 hearty volunteers moved 99 spotted salamanders (21 dead), 1 Jefferson salamander, 10 Eastern newts, 5 redbacked salamanders, 5 four-toed salamanders (!!!!), 43 wood frogs, 15 spring peepers, 20 green frogs, and 3 unidentified frogs, for a total of 196 live critters.

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March 31, 2013

Frogs on the Move!

A wood frog pauses on the centerline of North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A wood frog contemplates his own existence on the center line of North Lincoln Street. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

March 31 was a Big Night for frogs at North Lincoln Street! At other sites, it was too cold or too snowy for more than a trickle of amphibian movement. In those places, the best is yet to come…

Keene

Eastern Avenue is a place to watch for future migrations — many dozens of dead wood frogs were reported there, with intrepid amphibian crossers moving nearly 35 live ones amidst the carnage from a mostly un-manned site.

Jordan Road. The temperatures at Jordan Road dipped down to 40 early in the evening, so only a handful of wood frogs were seen there.

North Lincoln Street. Volunteers moved 352 wood frogs, 452 spring peepers, and 3 spotted salamanders — 807 amphibians in all — across the road in less than 4 hours. It’s likely the frog migration continued there in the heavy post-midnight rains. (Let’s hope that vehicle traffic slowed considerably by that time of night!)

A spring peeper pauses in the middle of the road. (photo © Katie Barnes)

Spring peepers migrated en masse across North Lincoln Street in Keene on March 31. (photo © Katie Barnes)

Springfield, VT

One volunteer also reported a notable migration just across the river on Route 5 in Springfield, VT: in the span of 20 minutes, she and her husband moved 26 wood frogs, 11 spotted salamanders, and 2 spring peepers!

Swanzey

Swanzey Lake Road. The Swanzey crew reported 8 spotted salamanders, 2 wood frogs, 2 spring peepers, 1 redbacked salamander, and 1 four-toed salamander (a diverse crossing!).

Westmoreland

Folks at Glebe Road reported just a handful of wood frogs and spotties.

River Road was off to a good start, with 35 wood frogs, 5 Jefferson salamanders, and 2 spotted salamanders counted in just two passes through the crossing site.

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Contact Us

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