Field Reports from the 2019 Amphibian Migration

All the Latest on Big Nights, Small Nights, and In-Between Nights

This is the spot for photos and site-by-site amphibian counts from our 2019 Salamander Crossing Brigades. We update this page and our Salamander Crossing Brigade album on Flickr as we receive reports from our volunteers, so if you’ve got photos or counts to share, please send ’em on in!

April 14, 2019

Big Night #2

Two hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Abigail Touchet)

A Crossing Brigade volunteer lends a helping hand to a spotted salamander in Keene on April 14.
(photo © Abigail Touchet)

Once again, the rain arrived much later than anticipated, but once it did, frogs and salamanders were on the move. Despite the late start, our Crossing Brigade volunteers ensured the safe passage of more than 1,000 amphibians on Sunday night, bringing our season total to 2,192! Read on for site-by-site tallies, as reported by our hearty crew of late-night (and a few early-morning) Crossing Brigadiers.

Concord

Fisk Road. On an early morning stroll, a solo Brigadier crossed 4 wood frogs and 1 spring peeper, for a total of 5 live amphibians. He also encountered an array of roadkill from the night before, including 1 spotted salamander, 1 newt, 6 wood frogs, 4 spring peepers, and 1 American toad.

Dunbarton

Robert Rogers Road. Scouting out a new site, a solo Salamander Brigadier shepherded 2 wood frogs and 6 spring peepers to safety, 8 amphibians in all.

Harrisville

Breed Road. A quartet of Crossing Brigadiers crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 2 newts, 1 two-lined salamander, 1 dusky salamander, 2 wood frogs (+ 2 dead), 13 spring peepers (+ 1 dead), 2 pickerel frogs, and 1 American toad in the vicinity of Childs Bog, 29 live amphibians in all.

Chesham Road. A different volunteer crossed 4 spotted salamanders and 1 wood frog on her way home from another site. Hooray for 5 alive!

Keene

A woman in a reflective vest and rain jacket smiles while holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Abigail Touchet)

Further proof (as if you needed any….) that salamanders make people smile.
(photo © Abigail Touchet)

Jordan Road. Late-night volunteers at Jordan Road ferried 11 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 3 two-lined salamanders, and 3 spring peepers (+3 dead) to safety, 21 live amphibians in all. They also recorded 1 dead wood frog. Seeing two-lined salamanders is a first for this site!

North Lincoln Street. The City of Keene once again closed the road to traffic and, in a carbon copy of Friday night, volunteers came out early and the rain was late! Families with small children still found heaps of frogs to help before bedtime. Then, a late-night crew materialized out of the darkness to take over. All told, 14 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders, 82 wood frogs (+5 dead), 243 spring peepers (+17 dead), 1 bullfrog, and 2 American toads were counted! One first-time volunteer remarked on the magic of the night, as 344 animals were ensured safe passage. Also of note: we saw our first trickle of wood frogs and peepers moving away from the wetland, their egg-laying done for the year. More will undoubtedly follow on our next rainy night.

Milford & Mont Vernon

Route 13. A dynamic duo brought their tally sheet to a new and surprisingly heavily trafficked site. Though they counted 60 dead animals, they were able to ensure that 3 wood frogs, 8 spring peepers, 8 pickerel frogs, 1 green frog, and 6 American toads made it across the road, 26 live amphibians in all.

Nelson

Nelson Road. Four different road angels were at work over the course of the night at Nelson Road. Collectively, they moved 65 live amphibians to safety, including 3 spotted salamanders, 4 wood frogs (+1 dead), 57 spring peepers (+4 dead), 1 green frog. Also, 1 American toad was found dead.

New Boston

Old Coach Road. A mother-son team found more amphibians in the vernal pools than on the roads, but they did manage to cross 2 spotted salamanders.

Peterborough

Two flourescent orange road signs, one that says "Caution Salamander Crossing" and one that says "Slow Volunteers Ahead." (photo © Sarah Murphy)

MANY THANKS to the Peterborough Conservation Commission for purchasing these signs for our Summer Street amphibian crossing. Drivers slowed WAY down when approaching the crossing after seeing this signs. Fantastic! (photo © Sarah Murphy)

Summer Street. Five enthusiastic volunteers went out early, but when the rain didn’t materialize, they decided to throw in the towel. Bolstered by a power nap, one of them returned for a rainy, late-night critter crossing mission. She moved 16 spotted salamanders, 1 four-toed salamander, 9 wood frogs (+ 11 dead), at least 40 spring peepers (+ 11 dead), and 2 pickerel frogs, for a total of 68 live amphibians. Many thanks to the Peterborough Conservation Commission for purchasing several new, highly visible “Salamander Crossing” and “Volunteers Ahead” signs for this site! Drivers definitely took notice and slowed down as they entered the crossing.

Springfield, VT

Route 5. A family of longtime Crossing Brigadiers moved 12 spotted salamanders, 50 wood frogs, and 115 spring peepers across Route 5, just over the river from the Granite State, for a total of 177 amphibians.

Swanzey

Swanzey Lake Road. A solo Swanzey salamander superhero moved 6 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 6 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), and 11 spring peepers (+3 dead), for a total of 23 amphibians.

Westmoreland

A wood frog with bits of leaves stuck to its skin. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Wood frogs migrated in just a light mist on April 12 and 14. They were coming straight out of the woods, and with no rain to wash them clean, many of them were still carrying bits of the woods with them! (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Glebe Road. Eleven people joined forces to cross 16 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 Jefferson salamander, 6 newts (+4 dead), 2 wood frogs, 211 spring peepers (+19 dead), and 2 American toads on Sunday night. In the pre-dawn hour on Monday morning, one of those volunteers returned, contributing 1 spotted salamander (+2 dead), 3 Jefferson salamanders, 3 newts, 11 spring peepers, 4 pickerel frogs, and 1 bullfrog to the count. In all, 261 amphibians were helped to safety. These counts aren’t a “Big” Night for this site, but the raucous chorusing from the wetland is a sure sign that many critters made it across unaided in the late-night hours on both April 12 and 14.

River Road. A quintet of Crossing Brigadiers moved 1 spotted salamander, 16 wood frogs, 1 newt, and 1 spring peeper across River Road, 19 amphibians in total.

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, 2019

Big Night, Late Night

The rain didn’t get going until 10:30 p.m. or later on Friday, but once it did, frogs and salamanders were on the move! Read on for site-by-site tallies (alphabetical by town), as reported by our hearty crew of night owls and early birds:

A person in a red raincoat holds a spotted salamander. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A spotted salamander gets a helping hand during the first Big Night of the season in Keene.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Concord

Fisk Road. Technically speaking, these counts are from April 13 but really, it was the same rain! On Saturday morning, an early bird in Concord safely ferried 3 wood frogs, 1 spring peeper, 1 newt, and 1 green frog across the road, and recorded 4 roadkilled wood frogs.

Harrisville

Chesham Road. On her way home from another crossing site in the wee hours, one tired volunteer shepherded 4 spotted salamanders across Chesham Road.

Keene

Eastern Avenue. In the early part of the evening, a brave volunteer spent half an hour at the Eastern Avenue crossing site, moving 10 wood frogs and 1 peeper to safety. During that same time, she sadly witnessed 16 wood frogs and 2 peepers succumb to car tires. Around midnight, two valiant volunteers crossed an additional 9 wood frogs at this site — for a total of 19 live amphibians across both the early and late shifts — and noted many frogs who had been killed while attempting to cross this busy road.

Jordan Road. The dedicated crew at Jordan Road crossed 17 spotted salamanders, 17 Jefferson complex salamanders, 14 wood frogs, 3 spring peepers, 1 redbacked salamander, and 1 newt, 53 amphibians in all.

A person in raingear and wearing a headlamp stoops on a dark road to pick up a frog. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A Crossing Brigade volunteer stoops to examine a spring peeper on North Lincoln Street in Keene on April 12. The barricades closing the road to traffic — ensuring safe passage for amphibians and amphibian lovers alike — are visible in the background. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

North Lincoln Street. The City of Keene graciously closed the North Lincoln Street crossing site to vehicles on Friday night, providing safe passage for the amphibians and creating a safe place for the next generation of herpetologists to get to know our local frogs and salamanders. Between sunset and 12:30 a.m., 43 volunteers counted 345 wood frogs, 288 spring peepers, and 12 spotted salamanders, for a total of 645 live amphibians. Many more surely migrated well into the night. Two dead spring peepers were also found beyond the road closure barriers.

Milford & Amherst

Route 13 and Baboosic Lake Road. An intrepid mother-daughter team on a late-night scouting mission may have discovered two new crossing sites, on Route 13 in Milford and Baboosic Lake Road in Amherst. Stay tuned for more details from future Big Nights!

New Boston

Old Coach Road. A solo salamander superhero went out after midnight, crossing at least 20 spotted salamanders. She also reported seeing hundreds of peepers!

Swanzey

Matthews Road. In one hour at Matthews Road, a solo salamander shepherd crossed 33 spring peepers (and, sadly, noted 20 dead), 12 spotted salamanders (+ 6 dead), and 3 wood frogs, and counted 4 dead American toads, for a total of 48 live amphibians.

Swanzey Lake Road. A terrific trio crossed 66 spring peepers (+ 1o dead), 48 spotted salamanders, 6 red-backed salamanders, 1 four-toed salamander, 1 dusky salamander, and 1 wood frog, 123 live amphibians in all.

Westmoreland

A Jefferson complex salamander pauses mid-migration on Jordan Road in Keene, NH. (photo © Anna Tomcyzk)

A Jefferson salamander pauses to contemplate the magic of Big Night. (photo © Anna Tomcyzk)

Glebe Road. A solo Crossing Brigadier crossed 2 spotted salamanders, 2 spring peepers, and 1 wood frog on a dry road (!) in the early part of the evening at Glebe Road.

River Road. A solo salamander superhero crossed 77 spotted salamanders (+ 1 dead), 9 Jefferson complex salamanders, 26 wood frogs (+ 2 dead), 5 newts, 2 spring peepers, and 1 American toad, for a total of 12o live amphibians, between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

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 31, 2019

The Faintest Trickle of a Migration

The spring migration got off to a very slow start on March 31, with just a handful of amphibians making their first appearances of the year on cold, wet roads in Keene and Westmoreland.

Keene

A cold wood frog pauses in the road. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

A chilly wood frog makes its way along North Lincoln Street during the first slow trickle of the 2019 amphibian migration. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Eastern Avenue. A family of superheroes crossed 5 wood frogs (and counted 17 dead) in half an hour at Eastern Avenue.

Jordan Road. That same family also crossed the very first Jefferson salamander of the year at Jordan Road!

North Lincoln Street. Humans were more numerous than amphibians at North Lincoln Street, but 6 wood frogs and 3 spring peepers were given safe passage. 2 unfortunate roadkilled peepers and 2 unknown amphibian roadkills were also documented.

Westmoreland

River Road. A dynamic duo braved wind chills in the 30s for nearly an hour at River Road, crossing 2 wood frogs and 2 Jefferson salamanders — including one with a stumpy tail.

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. A trio of Crossing Brigadiers crossed a trio of wood frogs on a drying, cold road.

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.