Field Reports from the 2018 Amphibian Migration

A Record Year!

This was a big year for the Salamander Crossing Brigades. In 2018, 200 volunteers moved a record 7,799 amphibians of 13 different species to safety at more than 30 sites, bringing our project total to nearly 1,000 citizen scientists and an astonishing 42,750 amphibians since 2007 (!!!!)

We also worked closely with the City of Keene to institute temporary road closures on migration nights at our North Lincoln Street crossing, specifically to ensure the safe passage of migrating amphibians and to provide a safe place for dozens of families to witness the magic of the migration. To our knowledge, Keene is the first — and so far, only — community in the Granite State to have instituted such a measure.

May 14, 2018

Final Tallies for 2018

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

One of more than 1,600 spotted salamanders who were moved to safety by the Salamander Crossing Brigades in 2018. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

2018 was a big year for the Salamander Crossing Brigades. This spring, nearly 200 volunteers moved a record 7,843 amphibians of 13 different species — including 1,694 spotted salamanders, 2,029 wood frogs, and 3,017 spring peepers — to safety at more than 30 road crossing sites. Our Salamander Brigadiers also discovered 8 new-to-us amphibian road crossing sites that we’ll be sure to add to our map of crossings for next spring. All told, since 2007 nearly 1,000 citizen scientists throughout the Monadnock Region have helped an astonishing 42,750 amphibians survive the most dangerous journey of their lives. WOW!

A "Road Closed" sign and barricade at North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

For the very first time, the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site in Keene, NH was closed to vehicles on Big Nights to ensure the safety of migrating amphibians. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

In addition, the Harris Center worked with the City of Keene to close the North Lincoln Street crossing site to vehicle traffic on four different migration nights this spring, specifically to ensure the safe passage of migrating amphibians and to provide a safe place for dozens of families to witness the magic of the migration. To our knowledge, Keene is the first — and so far, the only — community in the Granite State to have instituted such a measure, and it made big news. Stories on the road closures and the Salamander Crossing Brigades were featured this spring in the Keene Sentinel, Concord Monitor, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, New Hampshire Union Leader, NHPR, and New Hampshire Chronicle.

A 3rd grader, whose parents only felt safe taking him to the North Lincoln Street crossing because the road was closed to vehicles, reported that Big Night was “the best night of my life.” A Manchester resident wrote us to say, “It gives me hope for this world that Keene closes a street for this.”

Two pictures of the same spotted salamander, taken two years apart at the same site.

This spotted salamander was moved across North Lincoln Street by Salamander Brigade volunteers in both 2014 and 2018, as verified by its one-of-a-kind spot pattern. Visit us on Flickr for larger versions of this and other photos of uniquely identified spotted salamanders.

Lastly, we identified 6 individual spotted salamanders who were moved across North Lincoln Street in Keene by our volunteers in 2018 and at least one prior year (including one lucky salamander who has been helped across North Lincoln Street by our volunteers every year for the last five years!); 2 additional spotted salamanders who were moved across North Lincoln Street during both their inbound and outbound migrations in 2018; 4 spotted salamanders who were moved across Jordan Road in Keene in 2018 and either 2017 or 2016; and 1 spottie who was moved across Nelson Road in Nelson in both 2017 and 2018.

Visit our Flickr feed for more photos from this season’s Crossing Brigades, and read on for site-by-site details from each crossing, which are listed in alphabetical order by town.

Auburn

Spofford Road. Crossing Brigadiers coordinated by our friends at New Hampshire Audubon’s Massabesic Center crossed 23 live amphibians and noted 7 dead in one night at Spofford Road. Their counts included: 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 6 spring peepers (+1 dead), 4 pickerel frogs (+2 dead), 1 green frog (+1 dead), 2 bullfrogs, 1 gray tree frog, and 6 American toads.

A toad pauses in the middle of North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Toad’s night out! (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Candia

Abe Emerson Marsh. Crossing Brigadiers coordinated by our friends at New Hampshire Audubon’s Massabesic Center crossed 131 live amphibians and noted 28 dead over the course of two migration nights. Their tallies include: 2 newts (+1 dead), 1 wood frog (+1 dead), 104 spring peepers (+23 dead), 9 pickerel frogs (+3 dead), 10 green frogs, 4 bullfrogs, and 1 American toad.

Concord

Fisk Road. Our new Concord crew crossed 69 live amphibians and counted 17 dead over the course of 2 nights at Fisk Road this spring. Their counts include: 17 spotted salamanders, 1 Jefferson complex salamanders, 1 newts (+2 dead), 4 four-toed salamanders (+1 dead), 14 wood frogs (+1 dead), 14 spring peepers (+5 dead), 4 green frogs (+1 dead), 11 bullfrogs (+7 dead), 2 American toads, and 1 gray tree frog.

Deering

Route 149. An enthusiastic family crossed 34 live amphibians and noted 26 dead in one night on Route 149, including: 16 spotted salamanders (+7 dead), 3 newts (+7 dead), 6 wood frogs (+3 dead), 7 spring peepers (+6 dead), and 2 bullfrogs (+3 dead).

A young Crossing Brigade volunteer poses with a spotted salamander. (photo © Amy Cate)

Further proof that salamanders make people smile. (photo © Amy Cate)

Dublin

Route 137. The Dublin contingent crossed 109 amphibians in one night along Craig Road and Route 137, including: 11 spotted salamanders, 3 newts, 2 four-toed salamanders, 31 red-backed salamanders, 11 wood frogs, 21 spring peepers, 23 green frogs, and 7 American toads.

Francestown

Route 136. A solo salamander saver crossed 57 amphibians (+29 dead) in one night on Route 136, including 18 spotted salamanders (+6 dead), 11 newts (+7 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders, 9 wood frogs (+5 dead), 12 spring peepers (+6 dead), and 3 green frogs (+5 dead).

Harrisville

Chesham Road. On the way home from another crossing site, a lone Brigadier moved 2 spotted salamanders and 1 toad to safety on Chesham Road.

Nelson Road. The Harrisville portion of Nelson Road is included in the counts for the Nelson portion of Nelson Road (below), thought it should be noted that there was a heavy concentration of roadkill at the intersection of Nelson Road and Breed Road in Harrisville. This spot could use some dedicated Crossing Brigadiers in 2019!

Hancock

A spotted salamander pauses on top of a field notebook. (photo © Summer Brooks)

A beautiful bit of data. (photo © Summer Brooks)

Antrim Road. A wonderful family of naturalists moved 50 amphibians to safety and counted 8 dead over the course of 2 nights at Antrim Road this spring. Their counts include 6 spotted salamanders 6, 5 dead newts, 2 four-toed salamanders, 13 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 1 two-lined salamander, 1 wood frogs, 24 spring peepers (+1 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 1 green frog, and 1 gray tree frog.

Middle Road. An inspiring team of elementary school students, along with their parents and their incredible teacher, crossed 151 live amphibians (+31 dead) in just one night on Middle Road. Their counts include 38 spotted salamanders, 8 newts (+10 dead), 10 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 14 wood frogs (+2 dead), 78 spring peepers (+5 dead), and 3 bullfrogs.

Route 123. A mother-daughter team crossed 46 live amphibians and noted 77 dead in one night on Route 123. Their tallies include: 17 spotted salamanders (+21 dead), 8 newts (+21 dead), 2 wood frogs (+4 dead), 18 spring peepers (+22 dead), and 1 gray tree frog (+6 dead).

Route 137. A solo salamander superhero crossed 142 live amphibians (+70 dead) in just one night on Route 137. Her count included 22 spotted salamanders (+8 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, 12 red-backed salamanders (+3 dead), 3 wood frogs (+2 dead), 95 spring peepers (+56 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 6 gray tree frogs (+1 dead), and 2 American toads. This site could use more help in 2019!

Two hands, each holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Helping hands in Keene. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Jaffrey

Lacy Road. A family of amphibian aficionados crossed 48 amphibians over the course of 2 nights at Lacy Road. Their tallies include: 8 spotted salamanders, 1 newts, 30 red-backed salamanders, 5 wood frogs, and 4 pickerel frogs.

Keene

Eastern Avenue. It was a quieter year at Eastern Avenue, but our intrepid Crossing Brigadiers still moved 155 frogs to safety and counted 93 dead over the course of 5 nights. Their counts include: 149 wood frogs 149 (+61 dead), 5 spring peepers 5 (+11 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 1 dead American toad, and 20 additional unidentified dead.

East Surry Road. A mother-daughter team of longtime Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 wood frogs while passing through East Surry Road.

A wood frog is carried across North Lincoln Street (Keene, NH) on a "Big Night." (photo © Jess Baum)

A wood frog gets a lift on the first “Big Night” of the season. (photo © Jess Baum)

Jordan Road. The dedicated salamander savers of Jordan Road spent 7 nights shepherding amphibians to safety. During that time, they crossed 113 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 52 Jefferson salamanders (+1 dead), 10 newts (+1 dead), 158 red-backed salamanders (+14 dead), 67 wood frogs (+3 dead), 19 spring peepers (+1 dead), and 3 American toads, for a total of 422 live amphibians (+24 dead).

North Lincoln Street. In 2018, the North Lincoln Street crew crossed a total of 2,049 live amphibians (and noted 27 dead, on nights the road wasn’t closed) over the course of 6 migration nights. This count includes: 60 spotted salamanders 60, 11 newts (+8 dead), 15 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 972 wood frogs (+2 dead), 968 spring peepers (+16 dead), 1 green frog, 1 bullfrog, 13 American Toads, and 8 gray tree frogs.

Lempster

Mountain Road. In one night, a solo salamander superhero crossed 19 spotted salamanders (and noted numerous dead), 28 wood frogs (+8 dead), and 8 spring peepers (+12 dead), 55 live amphibians (and 20+ dead) in all.

Marlow

Route 10. A terrific twosome crossed 2 wood frogs (+2 dead) and 1 spring peeper (+2 dead) on one chilly night in Marlow, for a total of 3 live frogs (+4 dead).

Nelson

Nelson Road. The dedicated crossing crew in Nelson moved 376 amphibians to safety and counted 94 dead over the course of 4 nights. Their counts include 61 spotted salamanders (+26 dead), 39 newts (+32 dead), 6 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 2 dead two-lined salamanders, 52 wood frogs (+9 dead), 217 spring peepers (+24 dead), and 1 American toad.

New Boston

Clark Hill Road. The New Boston crew was busy crossing critters at sites both old and new in 2018! As part of their rounds on April 12, they crossed 7 spotted salamanders (+5 dead) on Clark Hill Road before moving on to 4 other sites.

Three girls smile while holding spotted salamanders. (photo © Amy Unger)

New Boston Brigadiers. (photo © Amy Unger)

Meetinghouse Road. In two nights at Meetinghouse Road, the New Boston salamander savers crossed 18 spotted salamanders, 5 red-backed salamanders, 18 spring peepers, and 5 pickerel frogs, 46 live amphibians in all.

Old Coach Road.  In one night at Old Coach Road, the New Bostonites crossed 51 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 1 newt (+1 dead), 5 wood frogs, and 49 spring peepers (+3 dead), for a total of 106 live amphibians (+9 dead).

Ridgeview Lane. As part of their rounds on April 12, the New Boston crew also crossed 18 spotted salamanders on Ridgeview Lane.

Route 136. On their way home on April 25, the New Boston crew helped 13 bullfrogs — and noted much carnage — across a small stretch of Route 136.

Tucker Mill Road. The amphibians of Tucker Mill Road also benefited from the roving band of merry Salamander Brigadiers on April 12. Here, the crew crossed 2 spotted salamanders (+1 dead) and 4 newts, 6 live amphibians (+ 1 dead) in all.

Newport

Oak Street. A longtime family of enthusiastic Crossing Brigadiers helped 2 spotted salamanders, 3 wood frogs, and 9 spring peepers (+5 dead), for a total of 14 live amphibians, on one lovely night.

Peterborough

Hands hold a spotted salamander above a data sheet. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

The very best kind of data. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Summer Street. The intrepid salamander savers of Summer Street moved an impressive 853 amphibians to safety and noted 126 dead over two Big Nights in 2018. Their counts include: 174 spotted salamanders (+19 dead),  33 newts (+13 dead), 10 four-toed salamanders, 22 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 129 wood frogs (29 dead), 440 spring peepers (+57 dead), 5 pickerel frogs, 3 green frogs, 4 bullfrogs (+4 dead), and 33 American toads (+2 dead).

Rindge

Lord Brook Road. En route from other crossing sites, a solo salamander superhero crossed 3 newts, 2 spring peepers, 13 bullfrogs, 2 American toads, and 3 gray tree frogs at Lord Brook Road, for a total of 23 live amphibians in two nights.

Old Ashburnham Road. A terrific twosome discovered a new crossing site on Old Ashburnham Road, where they crossed 52 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 1 newt, 9 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 74 wood frogs (+15 dead), 57 spring peepers (+5 dead), 3 American toads (+2 dead), and 2 unidentified dead, for a total of 196 live amphibians (+29 dead) over the course of 3 nights.

A hand holds a green frog. (photo © Elodie Reed)

A green frog gets a helping hand. (photo © Elodie Reed)

Old New Ipswich Road. The Rindge Rangers crossed 63 live amphibians and noted 32 dead over the course of 3 nights at Old New Ipswich Road this spring. Their counts include 11 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 7 newts (+3 dead), 35 wood frogs (+18 dead), 7 spring peepers (+5 dead), 2 dead pickerel frogs, 1 American toad, and 2 gray tree frogs.

Perry Road. In two nights at Perry Road, two teams crossed 7 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 Jefferson complex salamanders (+2 dead), 7 red-backed salamanders, 46 wood frogs (+13 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 1 spring peeper (+1 dead), and 2 dead green frogs, for a total of 66 live amphibians (+19 dead).

Springfield, VT

Route 5. A dedicated family of 5 crossed 88 spotted salamanders, 1 newt, 8 wood frogs, 94 spring peepers, and 7 American toads, 198 amphibians in all, in just one night this spring. They also found a spotted salamander with a unique, forked tail!

Swanzey

A family of Crossing Brigade volunteers admires a spotted salamander that they've helped across North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Dan makes a new friend. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Matthews Road. A few brave souls moved 101 live amphibians to safety, and counted a sobering 215 dead, over the course of 3 nights at Matthews Road. These counts include: 22 spotted salamanders (+ a horrifying 41 dead), 47 wood frogs (+ an even more horrifying 105 dead), 24 spring peepers (+53 dead), 1 green frog (+3 dead), 7 American toads (+8 dead), and 5 unidentified dead. This site needs more help in 2019!

Swanzey Lake Road. A small, but hearty crew at Swanzey Lake Road crossed 79 spotted salamanders (+10 dead), 4 four-toed salamanders, 10 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 4 wood frogs (+4 dead), 27 spring peepers (+15 dead), and 3 American toads (+1 dead), and noted 2 unidentified dead, for a season total of 127 live amphibians (+33 dead).

Westmoreland

Glebe Road. A robust crew moved 1,110 amphibians to safety and counted 139 dead at Glebe Road over the course of just two Big Nights this spring. Their impressive totals include: 374 spotted salamanders (+27 dead), 25 newts (+32 dead), 12 four-toed salamanders, 18 red-backed salamanders, 3 two-lined salamanders, 63 wood frogs (+14 dead), 610 spring peepers (+60 dead), 7 pickerel frogs, 21 green frogs (+2 dead), 6 bullfrogs, 39 American toads (+1 dead), 1 gray tree frog, and 1 unidentified amphibian (+3 dead).

Three spotted salamanders lined up on yellow rain paints. (photo © Amy Unger)

Three lucky salamanders! (photo © Amy Unger)

River Road. A small, but dedicated crew of Crossing Brigadiers moved 519 amphibians to safety and counted 51 dead in 3 nights at River Road. Their tallies include 284 spotted salamanders (+8 dead), 7 Jefferson complex salamanders, 26 newts (+17 dead), 14 red-backed salamanders, 180 wood frogs (+26 dead), 2 spring peepers, 1 pickerel frog, and 5 American toads.

Wilton

Dale Street. A dynamic duo crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 27 wood frogs (+6 dead), and 1 dead newt in just one hour this spring, for a total of 32 live amphibians (+8 dead).

Whiting Hill Road. A team of new Crossing Brigadiers discovered a new crossing near Carnival Hill in Wilton. There, they moved 6 spotted salamanders, 13 wood frogs, 3 spring peepers, 3 pickerel frogs, and 6 green frogs, for a total of 31 amphibians over the course of 2 nights.

Winchester

A spotted salamander pauses in the middle of North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

That spottie smile. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Forest Lake Road. The wonderful people at Forest Lake Road moved 318 amphibians to safety, and noted 87 dead, over 4 nights. Their counts include: 87 spotted salamanders (+15 dead), 5 newts (+1 dead), 79 four-toed salamanders (+10 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders, 55 wood frogs (+12 dead), 77 spring peepers (+15 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 2 green frogs, 8 American toads (+4 dead), and 30 unidentified dead.

Three cheers for the Salamander Crossing Brigades! We can’t wait to do it all over again in 2018.

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May 6, 2018

Homeward Bound

Two hands, each holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Helping hands at North Lincoln Street on May 6. For more photos from the 2018 amphibian migration, visit us on Flickr. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Amphibians were on the move in Sunday night’s rain, but most were headed away from their breeding wetlands, their courtship and egg laying over for the year. Our Salamander Brigade volunteers moved nearly 200 amphibians to safety that night, bringing our season total to a record 7,560 crossed critters! Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Keene

Eastern Ave. On their way home from other crossing sites, two Crossing Brigadiers moved 5 wood frogs to safety on Eastern Avenue, and noted approx. 5 dead.

Jordan Road. A dedicated trio of amphibian aficionados crossed 2 spotted salamanders, 5  Jefferson salamander, 4 newts (+1 dead), 23 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 12 wood frogs, and 1 American toad, 47 live amphibians (+3 dead) in all.

A family of Crossing Brigade volunteers admires a spotted salamander that they've helped across North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Dan makes a new friend. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

North Lincoln Street. The North Lincoln Street crew moved 75 amphibians to safety (and noted 12 dead), including 21 spotted salamanders, 1 red eft (+6 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 24 wood frogs, 1 American toad, 8 gray tree frogs, and 17 spring peepers (+6 dead). They were also treated to the sound of toads trilling in the wetland and the sight of a barred owl perched on a roadside pine. The owl was probably out for the same reason as the Crossing Brigades — looking for amphibians! Also of note: 3 of the spotted salamanders that were crossed at North Lincoln Street on May 6 were repeat customers. One was first seen in 2017, and two were moved across earlier this season, on their way into the wetland.

Harrisville

Chesham Road. On the way home from another crossing site, a lone Brigadier moved 2 spotted salamanders and 1 toad to safety on Chesham Road.

A gray tree frog blends in with the pavement on North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Gray tree frogs usually employ camouflage to blend into the tree bark they call home, but their camo does double-duty on wet pavement. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Nelson

Nelson Road. A terrific trio crossed 28 live amphibians (and noted 2 dead), including: 1 newt, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, and 25 spring peepers (+2 dead).

Rindge

Old Ashburnham Road. A dynamic duo volunteers crossed 4 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 2 spring peepers (+1 dead), and 3 American toads across Old Ashburnham Road, 10 live amphibians (+4 dead) in all.

Swanzey

Swanzey Lake Road. A solo salamander saver crossed 14 live amphibians (+4 dead), including: 7 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, 4 spring peepers (+3 dead), and 1 American toad.

Westmoreland

River Road. A rad mother-son team crossed 40 live amphibians in just one hour, including 26 spotted salamanders, 4 Jefferson complex salamanders, and 10 wood frogs.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share? We’ll update this report and the Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive counts and photos, so send ’em on in!

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April 27, 2018

A Small Night

A hand holding a very small spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A small spottie on a Small Night. For more photos from the 2018 amphibian migration, visit us on Flickr.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Despite nearly identical weather conditions to the Big Night two evenings earlier, April 27 was a much Smaller Night. In addition, the majority of the wood frogs, spring peepers, and Jefferson complex salamanders were headed away from their breeding wetlands, their courtship and egg laying done for the year. Could this mean that the migration season is winding down?

Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Jaffrey

Lacy Road. A mother-son team crossed 1 spotted salamander, 1 newt, and 4 pickerel frogs, for a total of 6 critters. 11-year-old Sean has recently expressed an interest in the field of conservation, and reports that when he’s older, he’ll credit the crossings as “where he got his start.”

Keene

A yoyng girl holds a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

This salamander is probably older than the girl who is holding her! (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Jordan Road. The dedicated crew at Jordan Road crossed 5 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 3 Jefferson complex salamanders (+1 dead), 35 red-backed salamanders (+3 dead), and 5 spring peepers, 48 live amphibians (+5 dead) in all.

North Lincoln Street. Earlier in the day, when we had to decide whether or not to close North Lincoln Street to vehicle traffic, it looked like wet weather wouldn’t linger after nightfall. As a result, the road remained open, with 40 vehicles passing through the crossing site in just 3 hours. Thankfully, 20 people came out to help critters cross the open road. Together, the North Lincoln Street crew crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 6 newts (+2 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 10 wood frogs, 79 spring peepers (+8 dead), and 2 American toads, for a total of 106 live amphibians (+11 dead). All of the wood frogs, and two-thirds of the peepers, were headed back to the woods, their courtship concluded for the year.

Nelson

A spotted salamander with an unusual spot pattern. (photo © Amy Unger)

Check out those crazy spots! (photo © Amy Unger)

Nelson Road. A small crew at Nelson Road crossed 1 spotted salamander, 1 newt (+7 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 3 wood frogs (+1 dead), and 35 spring peepers (+11 dead). Later on, another Crossing Brigadier crossed 4 spotted salamanders (+1 dead) and 1 American toad while passing through on her way home. Total: 46 live amphibians, and 20 dead.

Rindge

Lord Brook Road. A solo salamander saver helped 10 live amphibians, including 2 spring peepers, 3 bullfrogs, 2 American toads, and 3 gray tree frogs, and noted 3 unidentified dead.

Old New Ipswich Road. The Rindge Rangers reported a quiet night, crossing just 1 American toad and noting 1 dead pickerel frog in an hour on the road.

Swanzey

Swanzey Lake Road. A terrific trio crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), and 2 spring peepers (+2 dead), 8 live amphibians (+3 dead) in all.

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. In just 15 minutes, a terrific trio crossed 7 live amphibians, including 5 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 American toad (+4 dead), and noted 2 dead four-toed salamanders.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share? We’ll update this report and the Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive counts and photos, so send ’em on in!

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April 25, 2018

More Familiar Faces!

Two pictures of the same spotted salamander, taken two years apart at the same site.

Visit us on Flickr for larger versions of this and other photos of uniquely identified spotted salamanders.

After examining photographs taken by our Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers on April 25, we’ve identified two individual salamanders who were moved across roads in both 2017 and 2018 — one at Nelson Road in Nelson and one at Jordan Road in Keene. Same salamanders, both years, as verified by their one-of-a-kind spot patterns!

These salamanders takes on special significance as our first “recaptures” from a site other than North Lincoln Street in Keene.

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April 25, 2018

Big Night #3

A spotted salamander pauses in the middle of North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A spotted salamander makes its way across North Lincoln Street on April 25, 2018. For more photos from the 2018 amphibian migration, visit us on Flickr.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

April 25 was either a Small, Medium, or Big Night, depending on your location. An unexpected break in the rain between 7 and 9:30 p.m. led to dry roads and less amphibian movement at some sites, but where roads were wet, amphibians were afoot! Collectively, our Salamander Brigade volunteers moved more than 3,150 amphibians to safety at 25 different sites, bringing our season total to 7,000 crossed critters in just three nights! Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Concord

Fisk & Thackery Roads. The Concord crew crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 1 newt (+2 dead), 4 four-toed salamanders (+1 dead), 2 wood frogs, 8 spring peepers (+5 dead), 3 green frogs (+1 dead), 10 bullfrogs (+7 dead), 1 gray tree frog, and 2 American toads, 34 live amphibians (+16 dead) in all.

Deering

Route 149. An enthusiastic family crossed 34 live amphibians and noted 26 dead, including: 16 spotted salamanders (+7 dead), 3 newts (+7 dead), 6 wood frogs (+3 dead), 7 spring peepers (+6 dead), and 2 bullfrogs (+3 dead).

A young Crossing Brigade volunteer poses with a spotted salamander. (photo © Amy Cate)

A spotted salamander gets a lift across Route 149 in Deering. (photo © Amy Cate)

Dublin

Route 137. The Dublin contingent crossed 109 amphibians along Craig Road and Route 137, including: 11 spotted salamanders, 3 newts, 2 four-toed salamanders, 31 red-backed salamanders, 11 wood frogs, 21 spring peepers, 23 green frogs, and 7 American toads.

Francestown

Route 136. A solo salamander saver crossed 57 amphibians (+29 dead) on Route 136 near the Greenfield town line, including 18 spotted salamanders (+6 dead), 11 newts (+7 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders, 9 wood frogs (+5 dead), 12 spring peepers (+6 dead), and 3 green frogs (+5 dead).

Hancock

Antrim Road. A fantastic family crossed 42 live amphibians (+7 dead), including: 6 spotted salamanders, 5 dead newts, 2 four-toed salamanders, 13 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 1 two-lined salamander, 17 spring peepers, 1 pickerel frog, 1 green frog, and 1 gray tree frog.

Middle Road. An inspiring team of elementary school students, along with their parents and their incredible teacher, crossed 38 spotted salamanders, 8 newts (+10 dead), 10 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 14 wood frogs (+2 dead), 78 spring peepers (+5 dead), and 3 bullfrogs, for a total of 151 live amphibians (+31 dead).

Hands hold a spotted salamander above a data sheet. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

The best kind of data! (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Route 123. A mother-daughter team crossed 46 live amphibians and noted 77 dead, including: 17 spotted salamanders (+21 dead), 8 newts (+21 dead), 2 wood frogs (+4 dead), 18 spring peepers (+22 dead), and 1 gray tree frog (+6 dead).

Route 137. A solo salamander superhero crossed 142 live amphibians (+70 dead) on Route 137, near the DPW. Her count included 22 spotted salamanders (+8 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, 12 red-backed salamanders (+3 dead), 3 wood frogs (+2 dead), 95 spring peepers (+56 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 6 gray tree frogs (+1 dead), and 2 American toads. This site could use more help on Big Nights!

Jaffrey

Lacy Road. A family of amphibian aficionados crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 30 red-backed salamanders, and 5 wood frogs, 42 amphibians in all.

Keene

Eastern Ave. It was a slow night at Eastern Avenue, where 8 volunteers crossed just 4 live amphibians (and noted 5 dead) in an hour: 2 wood frogs (+1 dead), 2 spring peepers (+3 dead), and 1 dead American toad. This is far fewer frogs than we would have expected. Could the migration be over at Eastern Avenue for 2018?

A toad pauses in the middle of North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

All hail the noble toad. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Jordan Road.  The dedicated Crossing Brigadiers of Jordan Road moved 186 amphibians to safety, and noted 12 dead. Their count includes 73 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 5 Jefferson complex salamanders, 6 newts, 93 red-backed salamanders (+9 dead), 6 spring peepers, 2 American toads, and 1 wood frog.

North Lincoln Street. 50 people came out to North Lincoln Street — which was once again closed to ensure the safety of migrating amphibians and the people who love them — to check out the migration, which featured a greater diversity of species than earlier in the season. The rain had stopped, but even so, the North Lincoln Street crew counted 15 spotted salamanders, 4 red efts, 7 red-backed salamanders, 67 wood frogs (many of whom were heading back into the woods, their breeding and courtship done for the year!), 1 green frog, 1 bullfrog, 10 American toads, and 209 spring peepers, 314 amphibians in all. Many more amphibians likely made their moves later in the night, when the rains picked back up.

Lempster

Mountain Road. A solo salamander superhero crossed 19 spotted salamanders (and noted numerous dead), 28 wood frogs (+8 dead), and 8 spring peepers (+12 dead), 55 live amphibians (and 20+ dead) in all.

Marlow

Route 10. Marlow is still quite chilly, but even so, a terrific twosome crossed 2 wood frogs (+2 dead) and 1 spring peeper (+2 dead), 3 live frogs (+4 dead) in all.

Nelson

A brightly colored Crossing Brigade volunteer holds a spotted salamander. (photo © Amy Unger)

A well-attired Crossing Brigade volunteer — note the reflective vest and brightly colored rain coat! — lends a helping hand in New Boston on April 25. (photo © Amy Unger)

Nelson Road. The Nelson Road crew crossed 277 critters (+41 dead), including 40 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 37 newts (+25 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 39 wood frogs, and 157 spring peepers (+11 dead), and also recorded 2 dead two-lined salamanders.

After the Nelson team had called it a night, a Crossing Brigadier drove slowly along Nelson Road on her way home from a different site, and crossed an additional 14 spotted salamanders (+ a dismaying 23 dead) and 3 wood frogs (+5 dead). She noted a heavy concentration of roadkill at the intersection of Nelson Road and Breed Road in Harrisville. This spot could use some dedicated Crossing Brigadiers on our next Big Night!

New Boston

Meetinghouse Road. The New Boston crew crossed 16 spotted salamanders, 5 red-backed salamanders, 5 pickerel frogs, and 18 spring peepers, 44 amphibians in all.

Route 136. On their way home, they also helped 13 bullfrogs — and noted much carnage — across a small stretch of Route 136.

Peterborough

Summer Street. A crew of 20 hearty volunteers crossed 120 spotted salamanders (+15 dead), 33 newts (+13 dead), 10 four-toed salamanders, 21 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 29 wood frogs (+13 dead), 293 spring peepers (+45 dead), 4 pickerel frogs, 3 green frogs, 4 bullfrogs (+4 dead), and 32 American toads (+2 dead), for a total of 549 live amphibians (+94 dead).

Rindge

A toad pauses in the middle of North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Toads mean business. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Lord Brook Road. A solo Brigadier crossed 13 amphibians — 3 newts and 10 bullfrogs — at Lord Brook Road on her way home from another crossing site.

Old Ashburnham Road. A dynamic duo crossed 46 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 1 newt, 8 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 54 wood frogs (+15 dead), 55 spring peepers (+4 dead), and 2 dead American toads, 164 live amphibians (+25 dead) in all.

Old New Ipswich Road. A terrific trio crossed 8 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 7 newts (+3 dead), 21 wood frogs (+10 dead), 2 gray tree frogs, and 6 spring peepers (+3 dead), and noted 1 dead pickerel frog, for a total of 44 amphibians (+21 dead).

Perry Road. An enthusiastic grandparent-granddaughter team crossed 4 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 Jefferson complex salamanders (+2 dead), 7 red-backed salamanders, 28 wood frogs (+3 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 12 slugs, and 20 worms, and noted 2 dead green frogs, for a total of 44 live amphibians (+8 dead).

Swanzey

Matthews Road. A terrific trio crossed 1 spotted salamander (+5 dead), 1 wood frog (+8 dead), 21 spring peepers (+32 dead), 7 American toads (+8 dead), and 1 green frog (+3 dead), for a total of 31 live amphibians (+61 dead).

Swanzey Lake Road. Two teams collectively crossed 16 critters (+5 dead), including 7 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 4 four-toed salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 2 spring peepers (+1 dead), and 2 American toads (+1 dead).

Westmoreland

A spotted salamander smiles for the camera. (photo © Kate & Enrique Ingram)

What a smile! (photo © Kate & Enrique Ingram)

Glebe Road. A small, but steadfast crew crossed counted 594 amphibians (+66 dead), including: 82 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 13 newts (+27 dead), 10 four-toed salamanders, 18 red-backed salamanders, 3 two-lined salamanders, 11 wood frogs (+3 dead), 387 spring peepers (+32 dead), 7 pickerel frogs, 16 green frogs, 6 bullfrogs, 1 gray tree frog, and 39 American toads  (+1 dead).

River Road. River Road was once again crawling with critters! A talented trio crossed 134 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 1 Jefferson complex salamander, 25 newts (+14 dead), 14 red-backed salamanders, 26 wood frogs (+1 dead), 1 spring peeper, and 5 American toads, for a total of 206 live amphibians (+18 dead).

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. In an hour, the Forest Lake Road crew crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 8 spring peepers, 20 wood frogs, 15 four-toed salamanders, and 4 American toads, for a total of  52 live amphibians. They also noted 30 dead, of various species.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share? We’ll update this report and the Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive counts and photos, so send ’em on in!

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April 12, 2018

A Five-Timer!

Five pictures of the same spotted salamander, taken in five different years.After examining photographs taken by our Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers on April 12, we were able to identify one individual salamander who was moved across North Lincoln Street in Keene in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018! Same salamander, all five years, as verified by its one-of-a-kind spot pattern!

We also identified three other salamanders that we’ve carried across North Lincoln Street in past years — one that we first met last spring, one in 2015, and one that we haven’t seen since all the way back in 2014. This means that >25% of the spotted salamanders we’ve encountered at North Lincoln Street so far in 2018 have been helped across the road by Crossing Brigadiers at least once before.

In addition, we identified three spotted salamander “recaptures” at Jordan Road, also in Keene — two that we first met in 2017, and one from 2016.

You can see all of their pictures here.

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April 12, 2018

An Even Bigger Night!

Three spotted salamanders lined up on yellow rain paints. (photo © Amy Unger)

Three lucky salamanders! For more photos from the 2018 amphibian migration, visit us on Flickr.
(photo © Amy Unger)

April 12 was a Big Night throughout the Monadnock Region and beyond. Collectively, over 130 Salamander Brigade volunteers crossed more than 2,900 amphibians at nearly 20 different sites, bringing our season total to nearly 4,000 crossed critters in just two nights! Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Concord

Fisk Road. A new group of Crossing Brigadiers found a new-to-us crossing at the intersection of Fisk and Thackeray Roads, where they crossed crossed 35 live amphibians (+1 dead), including: 14 spotted salamanders, 1 Jefferson salamander, 12 wood frogs (+1 dead), 6 spring peepers, 1 green frog, and 1 bullfrog.

Hancock

Antrim Road. A sweet family of naturalists documented the first trickle of amphibian migration in Hancock, consisting of 1 wood frog and 7 spring peepers (+1 dead) over the course of 2 hours on Antrim Road.

Keene

A wood frog crosses North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A wood frog contemplates the meaning of life while crossing North Lincoln Street on April 12, 2018.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Eastern Ave. There were fewer frogs than expected at Eastern Avenue, but a small crew of Crossing Brigadiers moved 35 wood frogs (+21 dead) and 3 spring peepers (+8 dead) to safety, for a total of 38 frogs (+29 dead).

Jordan Road. A dedicated crew crossed 32 spotted salamanders, 20 Jefferson salamanders, 4 red-backed salamanders, 8 spring peepers (+1 dead), and 32 wood frogs (+1 dead) — 96 live amphibians (+ only 2 dead) in all.

North Lincoln Street. North Lincoln Street was again closed to vehicle traffic for Big Night, ensuring safe passage for every traveler. Between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., 25 volunteers counted 443 wood frogs, 300 spring peepers, and 16 spotted salamanders, 759 amphibians in all. These counts are underestimates – perhaps significantly so – because there were times when the frogs were moving out of the woods faster than we could count them. At several points in the evening, we could see nearly 100 frogs on the road at one time in the beams of our flashlights.

Nelson

Nelson Road. Nelson was still pretty snowy on Thursday, but a team of two — ever hopeful — visited anyway, crossing 6 wood frogs (+3 dead). A late-night traveler, on her way home from another crossing site, also moved 2 spotted salamanders out of harm’s way.

New Boston

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Amy Unger)

This is what your hands looks like when you’ve been crossing salamanders all night! (photo © Amy Unger)

The New Boston contingent traveled to 5 different crossing sites (!) — including Old Coach Road, Clark Hill Road, and Ridgeview Lane — and collectively crossed 139 critters (+15 dead). Here’s the breakdown: 80 spotted salamanders (+11 dead), 5 Eastern newts (+1 dead), 5 wood frogs, and 49 spring peepers (+3 dead).

Newport

Oak Street. A mother-daughter team crossed 2 spotted salamanders, 3 wood frogs, and 9 spring peepers (+5 dead), 14 amphibians (+5 dead) in all. Their report also included this note: “It just never gets old and I can’t imagine a spring without witnessing this!” Hear, hear!

Peterborough

Summer Street. A hearty crew at Summer Street crossed 54 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 100 wood frogs (+16 dead), 147 spring peepers (+12 dead), 1 American toad, and 2 unidentified frogs, for a total of 305 live amphibians (+32 dead).

Rindge

Old Ashburnham Road. A terrific twosome discovered a new-to-us crossing on Old Ashburnham Road, where they 2 spotted salamanders ad 20 wood frogs, 22 critters in all.

Old New Ipswich Road. A mother-son team of longtime Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 14 wood frogs (+8 dead), and 1 spring peeper (+2 dead), 18 live amphibians (+10 dead) in all.

Perry Road. A dynamic duo crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 18 wood frogs (+10 dead), and 1 spring peeper (+1 dead), for a total of 22 live amphibians (+11 dead).

Springfield, VT

A forked spotted salamander tail. (photo © Liz Masure)

An unusual tail, found in Springfield, VT!
(photo © Liz Masure)

Route 5. A dedicated family of 5 crossed 88 spotted salamanders, 1 Eastern newt, 8 wood frogs, 94 spring peepers, and 7 American toads, 198 amphibians in all. They also found a spotted salamander with a unique, forked tail!

Swanzey

Matthews Road. A solo salamander saver crossed 15 spotted salamanders (and noted a heartbreaking 26 dead), 3 spring peepers (+21 dead) and 2 wood frogs (+5 dead) over in under two hours at Matthews Road, for a total of 20 live amphibians (+52 dead.) This site could needs more help on Big Nights!

Swanzey Lake Road. Two terrific teams of two crossed 61 spotted salamanders (+6 dead), 5 red-backed salamanders, 1 wood frog (+4 dead), and 18 spring peepers (+9 dead), 85 live amphibians (+19 dead) in all.

Westmoreland

Glebe Road. A hearty crew of more than 30 Brigadiers crossed 584 amphibians (and noted 70 dead), including: 291 spotted salamanders (+24 dead), 11 Eastern newts (+5 dead), 2 four-toed salamanders, 52 wood frogs (+1 dead), 223 spring peepers (+28 dead), and 5 green frogs (+2 dead).

A bucket filled with spotted salamanders being transported across Glebe Road (Westmoreland, NH). (photo © Stephen Lowe)

This is what a bucket of salamanders looks like, you know, in case you were wondering. (photo © Stephen Lowe)

River Road. A small, but enthusiastic team breathed new life into River Road this year, crossing 124 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 2 Jefferson salamanders, 1 Eastern newt (+3 dead), 144 wood frogs (+25 dead), 1 spring peeper, and 1 pickerel frog, for a total of 273 live amphibians (+33 dead). The road was still hopping (literally!) when they left.

Wilton

Dale Street & Whiting Hill Road. A dynamic duo spent their first hour on Dale Street, where they crossed 32 live amphibians (+8 dead), including 3 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 27 wood frogs (+6 dead), and noted 1 dead Eastern newt. Then, they moved over to Carnival Hill, where they crossed 24 amphibians — including 3 spotted salamanders, 13 wood frogs, 6 green frogs and 2 pickerel frogs — in just 15 minutes. A promising site, for sure!

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. A wonderful crew of 10 at Forest Lake Road crossed 223 live amphibians (and noted 29 dead), including: 72 spotted salamanders (+11 dead), 5 Eastern newts, 57 four-toed salamanders (!!!)(+4 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 27 wood frogs (+3 dead), 63 spring peepers (+11 dead), 1 pickerel frog, 2 green frogs, and 3 American toads.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share? We’ll update this report and the Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive counts and photos, so send ’em on in!

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March 29, 2018

A Very Cool Postscript

Two photographs of the same spotted salamander, captured two years apart at the North Lincoln Street amphibian road crossing site in Keene.

Visit us on Flickr for larger versions of this and other photos of uniquely identified spotted salamanders.

After examining photographs taken by our Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers on March 29, we were able to identify one individual salamander who was moved across North Lincoln Street in Keene in both 2016 and 2018! Same salamander, both years, as verified by its one-of-a-kind spot pattern! We haven’t found any other “matches” yet, but salamander season is still young…

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March 29, 2018

A Bona Fide Big Night

A "Road Closed" sign and barricade at North Lincoln Street, Keene, NH. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A momentous day for the amphibians of Keene, and all who love them. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

March 29 was a bona fide Big Night at North Lincoln Street in Keene, where wood frogs and spring peepers came out by the hundreds to cross a road that — for the very first time — was closed to vehicle traffic specifically to ensure their safe passage. The first pulse of migration was felt at other sites too, with Jefferson, spotted, four-toed, and redbacked salamanders all making their first appearances of 2018. Read on for site-by-site tallies:

Keene

Eastern Avenue. The frog lovers at Eastern Avenue moved 107 wood frogs and 1 pickerel frog to safety, and noted more than 50 dead.

A wood frog is carried across North Lincoln Street (Keene, NH) on a "Big Night." (photo © Jess Baum)

A wood frog gets a lift during the first Big Night of 2018. (photo © Jess Baum)

East Surry Road. A mother-daughter team of longtime Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 wood frogs while passing through East Surry Road.

Jordan Road. A small, but hearty crew crossed 19 Jefferson salamanders, 17 wood frogs, and 1 spotted salamander in three hours on Jordan Road, 37 critters in all.

North Lincoln Street. For the first time in its history, North Lincoln Street was closed to vehicle traffic for Big Night, ensuring safe passage for every traveler. Between 8 and 10:30 p.m., our volunteers counted 420 wood frogs, 349 spring peepers, 3 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander — 773 amphibians in all — but many more surely migrated well into the night.

Swanzey

Matthews Road. A solo salamander saver crossed 6 spotted salamanders (+ 10 dead) and 44 wood frogs (+ a whopping 92 dead) at Matthews Road, for a total of 50 live animals and 102 unlucky souls. This site could use more help on future Big Nights!

Swanzey Lake Road. A terrific twosome at Swanzey Lake Road crossed 1 spotted salamander, 2 wood frogs, and 1 spring peeper, and noted 2 dead frogs.

A spotted salamander strikes a pose on a snowbank near North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH on March 29, 2018. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Spottie on snow. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Wilton

Whiting Hill Road. A team of new Crossing Brigadiers discovered a new crossing near Carnival Hill in Wilton, moving 3 spotted salamanders, 3 spring peepers, and 1 pickerel frog out of harm’s way.

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. Our Winchester crew crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 7 four-toed salamanders, 8 wood frogs, and 6 spring peepers in just over an hour, and noted 21 dead amphibians.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share? We’ll update this report and the Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive counts and photos, so send ’em on in!

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Contact Us

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