Field Reports from the 2021 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 2021 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 submit them here!

May 24, 2021

Final Tallies for 2021: A Record Year!

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Tim Briggs / timbriggsphoto.com)

In 2021, a record number of Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers provided safe passage for a record number of amphibians. (photo © Tim Briggs)

This spring, more volunteers participated in our Crossing Brigade program than ever before, with 450 people attending a training and/or heading out to crossing sites on rainy nights. Collectively, we moved a record 7,904 frogs and salamanders of 14 different species to safety — including 4,434 spring peepers, 1,245 wood frogs, 1,085 spotted salamanders, and 329 American toads — at 44 different road crossing sites in 2021, bringing our project total to a jaw-dropping 61,075 amphibians since 2007. We also documented a dismaying 1,280 roadkilled amphibians in 2021. In addition, our extended network of Salamander Brigadiers identified 28 new-to-us amphibian road crossing sites — all throughout New Hampshire — that we’ll add to our map of crossings for next spring.

In 2021, the Harris Center also worked with the City of Keene to close the North Lincoln Street crossing site to vehicle traffic on four different migration nights, specifically to ensure the safe passage of migrating amphibians. To our knowledge, Keene is still the only community in the Granite State to have instituted such a measure.

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

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

Thanks to the Crossing Brigades, 1,245 wood frogs — including this one — were spared the crush of the tire this spring. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Concord

Fisk Road. Over the course of two nights, the Concord contingent — 4 volunteers strong — crossed 6 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 1 wood frog, 2 spring peepers, and 2 gray tree frogs, and recorded 1 dead pickerel frog, 1 dead bullfrog, and 1 unidentified dead amphibian.
Total: 11 live + 5 dead.

Dunbarton

Robert Rogers Road. One dedicated Dunbarton volunteer ventured out solo on two migration nights, crossing 1 spotted salamander (+3 dead), 4 wood frogs (+4 dead), 12 spring peepers, 5 green frogs, and 6 bullfrogs. She also recorded 2 dead newts, 1 dead four-toed salamander, 1 dead two-lined salamander, and 6 dead unidentified amphibians.
Total: 28 live + 17 dead.

Hancock

Antrim Road. A fantastic family of four spent three nights shepherding salamanders on Antrim Road in 2021. Collectively, they crossed 7 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 39 red-backed salamanders, 8 newts (+10 dead), 1 wood frog, 87 spring peepers (+7 dead), 2 four-toed salamanders, 2 gray tree frogs, 3 pickerel frogs, 1 green frog, and 6 bullfrogs, and recorded 1 dead unidentified amphibian.
Total: 156 live + 20 dead.

Route 137. Three salamander superheroes spent two nights on Route 137, where they crossed 1 spotted salamander (+2 dead), 15 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt (+3 dead) 3 wood frogs (+6 dead), 26 spring peepers (+30 dead), 7 American toads (+4 dead), 1 gray tree frog, 2 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), and 3 green frogs. They also recorded 3 unknown dead.
Total: 59 live + 49 dead.

Harrisville

A wood frog pauses on a Harrisville road. (photo © Paul Armbrust)

An esteemed wood frog of Harrisville.
(photo © Paul Armbrust)

Bonds Corner Road. Over the course of two nights, a trio of Brigadiers crossed 44 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 2 two-lined salamanders, 2 newts (+1 dead), 17 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 12 spring peepers (+4 dead).
Total: 80 live + 8 dead.

Breed Road at Child’s Bog. Over the course of four nights from March through May, five heroic Harrisvillians launched an impressive rescue effort at Child’s Bog, crossing 64 spotted salamanders (+7 dead), 1 Jefferson complex salamander, 19 red-backed salamanders, 2 two-lined salamanders, 5 newts (+3 dead), 8 wood frogs, at least 172 spring peepers (+19 dead), 12 American toads (+2 dead), 12 pickerel frogs (+3 dead), 15 green frogs, and 1 unidentified salamander. This is the first time a Jefferson salamander has been reported from this site!
Total: 311 live + 34 dead.

Chesham Road. Three separate Crossing Brigadiers conducted their own solo efforts along Chesham Road over the course of two nights in 2021. Collectively, they crossed 17 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 newt, 2 wood frogs, 9 spring peepers (+17 dead), 26 American toads (+9 dead), 2 gray tree frogs, 1 pickerel frog (+1 dead), and 4 green frogs.
Total: 63 live + 32 dead.

Hancock Road. A trio of Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 3 wood frogs, and 7 spring peepers near the boat launch for Skatutakee Lake on one rainy night.
Total: 13 live.

Henniker

A Crossing Brigade volunteer holding a spring peeper. (photo © Denise Zimmer)

In 2021, our Crossing Brigades helped more than 4,400 peepers — including this one — survive the most dangerous journey of their lives. (photo © Denise Zimmer)

River Road. A solo Brigadier investigated this new-to-us site, crossing 7 wood frogs (+1 dead) and 8 spring peepers (+2 dead) in just 20 minutes on a single night. A promising site!
Total: 15 live + 3 dead.

Hillsboro

Concord End & Flint Roads. A dynamic duo patrolled Flint and Concord End Roads on six different crossing nights, where they counted and crossed 25 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 7 red-backed salamanders, 3 two-lined salamanders, 1 dusky salamander, 2 newts (+6 dead), 13 wood frogs (+1 dead), 1 spring peeper, 4 American toads, 1 gray tree frog, and 2 green frogs. Dusky salamanders are a rare find at road crossings, as they’re stream-dwelling salamanders with no need to migrate or disperse overland in search of food. In 15 years of crossing amphibians, this is only our third report of a dusky!
Total: 59 live + 9 dead.

Hudson

Old Derry Road. In just over an hour on one late April night, a terrific twosome crossed 8 spring peepers (+ noted 6 dead) at this new-to-us crossing.
Total: 8 live + 6 dead.

A Jefferson complex salamander on Breed Road in Harrisville. (photo © Paul & Julie Armbrust)

48 Jefferson complex salamanders — a Species of Special Concern in New Hampshire — were moved to safety by our Crossing Brigade volunteers in 2021. This particular “Jeff” was the first record of this species at Child’s Bog in Harrisville.
(photo © Paul & Julie Armbrust)

Keene

Arch Street. A fantastic family of four investigated a new-to-us crossing on Arch Street. In just under 30 minutes on a single night, they crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 8 wood frogs (+1 dead), 3 spring peepers, and 1 American toad.
Total: 17 live + 1 dead.

Eastern Avenue. An intrepid pair spent a single night at Eastern Avenue where they crossed 7 wood frogs (+6 dead) and 4 spring peepers (+3 dead) in 45 minutes.
Total: 11 live + 9 dead.

Jordan Road. Over the course of six migration nights from March through May, the Jordan Road crew — an impressive 24 Crossing Brigadiers strong! — crossed 31 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 33 Jefferson complex salamanders (+2 dead), 61 red-backed salamanders (+7 dead), 23 newts (+2 dead), 70 wood frogs (+13 dead), 82 spring peepers (+13 dead), 8 American toads (+4 dead), 40 gray tree frogs (+6 dead), and 1 pickerel frog. They also noted 4 unknown fatalities. Jefferson complex salamanders are a Species of Special Concern in New Hampshire, so this site carries extra conservation significance.
Total: 349 live + 53 dead.

A group of Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers records data on a spotted salamander. (photo © Tim Briggs, timbriggsphoto.com)

The salamander paparazzi of North Lincoln Street.
(photo © Tim Briggs)

North Lincoln Street. The North Lincoln Street crew — at least 50 volunteers strong, including an impressive showing of KSC students! — spent six nights on salamander patrol from March through May. Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the City of Keene, the road was closed to vehicles to protect migrating amphibians on the four busiest nights for amphibians. Collectively, we provided safe passage for 42 spotted salamanders, 12 red-backed salamanders, 6 newts (+8 dead), 227 wood frogs (+4 dead), 1,874 spring peepers (+66 dead), 18 American toads (+1 dead), 53 gray tree frogs (+1 dead), 8 green frogs, and 1 bullfrog.
Total: 2,241 live + 80 dead.

Lee

A woman in a bright pink vest smiles while holding a spotted salamander in their hands. (photo © Meg Hussey)

Further proof that salamanders make people smile.
(photo © Meg Hussey)

Lee Hook Road. In one night on Lee Hook Road, four intrepid Crossing Brigadiers moved 3 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 2 spring peepers, 2 American toads (+3 dead), 1 pickerel frog, and 2 bullfrogs.
Total: 11 live +3 dead.

Mill Pond Road. One dedicated volunteer spent one very late night on Mill Pond Road, crossing 1 spotted salamander, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, and 2 spring peepers. She also recorded 1 dead pickerel frog and 1 dead bullfrog.
Total: 5 live + 2 dead.

Thompson Mill Road. That same volunteer also spent one night patrolling Thompson Mill Road, where she crossed 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt, 2 wood frogs, 1 spring peeper, and 1 green frog (+1 dead). She also found 1 dead bullfrog.
Total: 7 live + 2 dead.

Nelson

Granite Lake Road. Two separate solo salamander savers (say that five times fast!) spent four nights on Granite Lake Road, crossing 28 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt (+2 dead), 14 wood frogs (+1 dead), 162 spring peepers (+36 dead), 6 American toads, 3 pickerel frogs, and 16 green frogs.
Total: 232 live + 40 dead.

Nelson Road. The Nelson Road crew — 9 Brigadiers strong — spent four nights on patrol from March through May. Together, they crossed 59 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 10 red-backed salamanders, 1 four-toed salamander, 2 two-lined salamanders, 13 newts (+23 dead), 24 wood frogs (+5 dead), 562 spring peepers (+168 dead), 2 American toads, 2 pickerel frogs, and 19 green frogs.
Total: 694 live + 200 dead.

New Boston

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Jim Hodge

Rain swept through early on March 31, leaving the ground wet enough for a migration under starry skies. The New Boston crew reported, “It was a great night because the pavement was wet, and we were not!” (photo © Jim Hodge)

Kennedy & Ridgeview Lanes. One fantastic family spent two nights patrolling for amphibians at the intersection of Kennedy and Ridgeview Lanes, where they crossed 55 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 6 red-backed salamanders, 1 four-toed salamander, 2 two-lined salamanders, 1 wood frog, and 2 spring peepers.
Total: 67 live + 2 dead.

Meadow Road. A team of five spent one night investigating this new-to-us crossing, and found 5 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 8 American toads (+2 dead), 1 dead newt, and 10 unidentified dead amphibians.
Total: 16 live + 17 dead.

Old Coach Road. In one night at Old Coach Road, a dynamic duo crossed 8 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 1 red-backed salamander (+1 dead), 8 wood frogs, and 3 green frogs, and counted 20 dead peepers.
Total: 20 live + 24 dead.

Weare Road. A terrific twosome spent one night at Weare Road — another new-to-us crossing — where they crossed 1 newt (+7 dead) and 22 spring peepers (+30 dead), along with 2 dead wood frogs.
Total: 23 live +39 dead.

New Ipswich

Thayer Road. Over the course of three nights on Thayer Road, three Crossing Brigadiers rescued 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders, 22 wood frogs (+4 dead), 11 peepers (+5 dead), 3 American toads, 3 green frogs (+2 dead), and 1 bullfrog, and counted 2 unidentified dead amphibians.
Total: 45 live + 14 dead.

A young Crossing Brigadier lends a wood frog a helping hand. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Jackson not only helped amphibians across the road at Summer Street on March 31, but also picked up litter while waiting for the frogs and salamanders to make their appearance! (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Peterborough

Summer Street. Over the course of seven nights, the dedicated crew at Summer Street — 33 Crossing Brigadiers strong! — collectively crossed 89 spotted salamanders (+13 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 4 newts (+3 dead), 213 wood frogs (+57 dead), 339 peepers (+132 dead), 49 American toads (+8 dead), 14 gray tree frogs, 3 pickerel frogs, 14 green frogs (+3 dead), 3 bullfrogs, and 3 unidentified live amphibians. Tremendous thanks to the Peterborough Conservation Commission and Peterborough DPW for the fantastic “Salamander Crossing” and “Volunteers Ahead” road signs they provide for this site!
Total: 733 live + 216 dead.

Rindge

Lord Brook Road and Lord Hill Road. In a single outing at Lord Brook and Lord Hill Roads, a frog-loving family of five crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 13 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 2 wood frogs, 1 spring peeper, and 1 American toad, along with 1 unknown roadkill.
Total: 20 live +2 dead.

Old Ashburnham Road. In one night at Old Ashburnham Road, a terrific twosome crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 4 wood frogs, 8 spring peepers, and 4 American toads, and found 2 unidentified dead amphibians.
Total: 23 live +2 dead.

A woman in a rain jacket and reflective vest, holding a salamander in her hand. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Salamanders just might be the key to happiness.
(photo © Sarah Thomas)

Old New Ipswich Road. In two nights on Old Ipswich Road, the indomitable Rindge Rangers crossed 2 spotted salamanders, 3 newts, 2 gray tree frogs, 4 wood frogs (+2 dead), 6 spring peepers (+9 dead), and 2 gray tree frogs.
Total: 17 live +2 dead.

Robbins Road. Over the course of two nights, a trio of amphibian aficionados crossed 3 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 2 wood frogs, 3 spring peepers (+1 dead), and 1 American toad.
Total: 9 live + 2 dead.

South Woodbound Road. Over the course of two rainy evenings, a trio of Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 wood frogs (+4 dead) and 8 spring peepers at South Woodbound Road.
Total: 11 live + 4 dead.

Spofford

Old Swanzey Road. A solo salamander saver crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders, 2 wood frogs, and 2 spring peepers in one night of searching.
Total: 13 live.

Strafford

A hand holding a gray tree frog. (photo © Bill Stroup)

Gray tree frogs are arguably the most adorable of all the frogs. (photo © Bill Stroup)

Route 126. A bit far afield for us, but we’ll include it! In one outing, a new Salamander Brigadier crossed 6 spotted salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders, 20 spring peepers (+15 dead), 3 gray tree frogs, 2 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), and recorded 1 dead newt and 1 dead wood frog. He said of his experience, “Success! It was hard to leave!”
Total: 34 live + 18 dead.

Sullivan

Valley Road. Over the course of four nights on Valley Road, a Sullivan power duo crossed 11 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 158 wood frogs (+11 dead), 141 spring peepers (+23 dead), 3 bullfrogs, and 2 unknown live amphibians.
Total: 315 live + 37 dead.

Springfield, VT

Route 5. This site is just across the border in Vermont, but the family of longtime Crossing Brigadiers who discovered it live in Charlestown, NH, so we include it with our tallies! In one outing, a fantastic family of four crossed 2 wood frogs, 15 spring peepers, 11 American toads, and 1 gray tree frog.
Total: 29 live.

An American toad on a road. (photo © Mary Kate Sheridan)

All hail the noble toad. (photo © Mary Kate Sheridan)

Swanzey

Holbrook Avenue. A trio of new Crossing Brigadiers discovered this new-to-us crossing site near the rail trail while traveling home from the Swanzey Lake Road crossing. In just fifteen minutes on a single night, they crossed and counted 4 spotted salamanders (+8 dead) and 12 spring peepers (+3 dead). This site is clearly in need of further investigation in 2022, but traffic moves very fast here, so if exercise extreme caution!
Total: 16 live + 11 dead.

Matthews Road. Over the course of four nights, a trio of determined Crossing Brigadiers crossed 40 spotted salamanders (+14 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 40 wood frogs (+7 dead), 69 spring peepers (+62 dead), 25 American toads (+7 dead), 25 gray tree frogs (+20 dead), and 1 pickerel frog, and found 1 dead newt, 1 dead green frog, and 5 dead unidentified amphibians. This site could use more help in 2022!
Total: 202 live + 117 dead.

Swanzey Lake Road. Over the course of three evenings, the Swanzey Lake Road crew — 10 Crossing Brigadiers strong! — crossed 57 spotted salamanders (+9 dead), 3 newts, 2 wood frogs, 63 spring peepers (+17 dead), 17 four-toed salamanders, 15 two-lined salamanders (+1 dead), 10 American toads (+1 dead), 2 gray tree frogs (+1 dead), 1 pickerel frog (+1 dead), and 4 green frogs, and found 1 dead bullfrog.
Total: 174 live + 31 dead.

Westport Village Road. On their way home from the Swanzey Lake Road crossing, a trio of Brigadiers moved 5 spotted salamanders and 5 spring peepers across Westport Village Road in just 15 minutes on a single night! They reported that “a kind Swanzey cop stopped to check on the crazy ladies and blocked the road till we could clear all the critters.”
Total: 10 live.

A spotted salamander crosses a road, with a yellow street sign in the distance. (photo © Tim Briggs, timbriggsphoto.com)

On Big Nights, the roads come alive. (photo © Tim Briggs)

Westmoreland

Glebe Road. Over the course of four nights, the dedicated Glebe Road crew — 16 Brigadiers strong! — collectively crossed 318 spotted salamanders (+8 dead), 13 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, 27 newts (+21 dead), 18 wood frogs, 527 spring peepers (+69 dead), 123 American toads (+1 dead), 12 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), 7 green frogs (+1 dead), and 7 bullfrogs. This site continues to delight and amaze, year after year.
Total: 1,053 live + 102 dead.

River Road. In two nights, five Crossing Brigadiers crossed 96 spotted salamanders, 13 Jefferson complex salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders, 7 newts (+6 dead), 334 wood frogs (+9 dead), 14 spring peepers, 3 American toads, 1 gray tree frog, and 1 pickerel frog.
Total: 472 live + 15 dead.

Wilton

Burns Hill Road. A solo Brigadier spent half an hour on a single night at a new-to-us crossing on Burns Hill Road, crossing 1 two-lined salamander, 2 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 3 spring peepers (+1 dead). They also recorded 1 dead spotted salamander and 6 dead unknown amphibians.
Total: 6 live + 10 dead.

Whiting Hill Road. Over the course of five nights, the Wilton crew — 9 Brigadiers strong! — crossed 14 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 Jefferson complex salamander, 8 red-backed salamanders, 8 newts, 13 wood frogs (+1 dead), 96 spring peepers (+16 dead), 17 American toads (+1 dead), 3 gray tree frogs, 6 pickerel frogs (+2 dead), 9 green frogs (+4 dead), and 6 bullfrogs (+1 dead). They also recorded 4 unidentified dead amphibians.
Total: 181 live + 30 dead.

Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers dressed in reflective vests and wearing headlamps. (photo © Amy Unger)

Big Cheer on a Big Night. (photo © Amy Unger)

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. A terrific twosome spent one night on Forest Lake Road, crossing 14 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 newt (+1 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, and 1 spring peeper. This site could use more help in 2022!
Total: 18 live + 3 dead.

Thank you to one and all. Your care for our fellow creatures — rainy night after rainy night, year after year — is an inspiration, moving brightly through the night. We can’t wait to do it all over again in 2022.

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May 5, 2021

A Small Night

A gray tree frog crossing a road. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Gray tree frogs stole the show on May 5.
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

The evening of May 5 saw steady rain and temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s — perfect conditions for a Big Night, had they taken place earlier in the season. Instead, there was but a slow trickle of movement, dominated by spring peepers and gray tree frogs. Salamander season, it seems, is coming to a close. Still, a small group of intrepid Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers provided safe passage for 230 amphibians at 7 sites on May 5, bringing our season total to nearly 7,900 crossed critters — and our project total to more than 60,000 amphibians since 2007! Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Harrisville

Breed Road. A solo Brigadier spent nearly an hour listening to the peepers sing at Child’s Bog, where no amphibians were crossing. Elsewhere on Breed Road, however, she crossed 6 spring peepers and 1 American toad, for a total of 7 live amphibians in 15 minutes.

Chesham Road. That same volunteer spent an additional 20 minutes at Chesham Road, where she crossed 1 newt, 1 spring peeper, 1 American toad, and 1 pickerel frog (+1 dead), 4 live amphibians (+1 dead) in all.

Hillsboro

A toad, resting on its back so its belly is exposed, in a person's hand. (photo © Emily Wrubel)

“I beg your pardon!” (photo © Emily Wrubel)

Concord End & Flint Roads. The Hillsboro contingent spent an hour at Concord End and Flint Roads, crossing 2 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 two-lined salamander, 1 wood frog, 2 American toads, and 1 gray tree frog, for a total of 8 live amphibians.

Keene

Jordan Road. At Jordan Road, two dedicated Crossing Brigadiers spent just over two hours on patrol. During that time, they crossed 1 spotted salamander, 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt, 4 wood frogs, 11 spring peepers (+3 dead), and 15 gray tree frogs (+2 dead), and found 3 unidentified dead amphibians, for a total of 34 live amphibians (+8 dead).

North Lincoln Street. In just over two hours, four fantastic volunteers crossed 1 spotted salamander, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, 80 spring peepers (+12 dead), 1 American toad, and 18 gray tree frogs (+1 dead), for a total of 102 live amphibians (+13 dead). The toads were in full chorus in the wetland.

Nelson

A spotted salamander on the road. (photo © Juniper King)

“See you next year!” (photo © Juniper King)

Nelson Road. In half an hour, a solo salamander superhero crossed 45 spring peepers (+27 dead) and 1 green frog — 46 live amphibians (+27 dead) in all. She reported success with wearing foam ear plugs, which drowned out the ringing roar of the peepers while still allowing her to hear oncoming cars.

Springfield, VT

Route 5. This site is just across the border in Vermont, but the family of longtime Crossing Brigadiers who discovered it live in Charlestown, NH, so we’ll include it with our tallies! In half an hour, a fantastic family of four crossed 2 wood frogs, 15 spring peepers, 11 American toads, and 1 gray tree frog, for a total of 29 live amphibians.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from May 5? 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 29, 2021

The Migration Continues…

A spotted salamander pauses on the pavement, in front of a pair of workboots. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Our Crossing Brigades provided safe passage for 327 spotted salamanders on April 29, including this one at North Lincoln Street in Keene. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

April 29 was a downpour from start to finish — theoretically better conditions than the night before, when showers ended by 9:30 p.m. or so. However, most sites that reported for both Wednesday and Thursday nights had a smaller showing of amphibians on the second night. It may be that many of our local amphibians have gotten where they want to go, at least for the time being. Those who were headed to their breeding wetlands (spring peepers, gray tree frogs, American toads) in this week’s rain will need some time to court and lay eggs. Those headed back to the woods (spotted salamanders, wood frogs) are now settling into and under the forest floor for the rest of the year — a sign that the migration season is on the wane.

Collectively, nearly 75 Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers provided safe passage for 1,499 amphibians of 14 different species at 17 sites on April 29, bringing our season total to 7,679 crossed critters. Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Hancock

Antrim Road. A nature-loving family of four spent an hour on Antrim Road, crossing 2 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 red-backed salamanders, 2 newts (+3 dead), 28 spring peepers (+2 dead), and 4 bullfrogs, for a total of 40 live amphibians (+6 dead).

Harrisville

A spring peeper "peeping" in the middle of the road. (photo © Julie & Paul Armbrust)

A peeper, mid-peep. (photo © Julie & Paul Armbrust)

Breed Road at Child’s Bog. A terrific twosome launched another impressive rescue effort at Child’s Bog, crossing 46 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 48 spring peepers, and 3 green frogs, for a total of 99 live amphibians (+2 dead) in just one hour. Once again, there were so many peepers that eventually they gave up counting. They also reported that some of the peepers did their peeping right in the road!

Chesham Road. Two separate Crossing Brigadiers conducted their own solo efforts along Chesham Road. Over the span of two hours, they crossed 17 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 2 wood frogs, 8 spring peepers (+17 dead), 25 American toads (+9 dead), 2 gray tree frogs, and 4 green frogs — 59 live amphibians in all (+31 dead).

Hillsboro

Concord End & Flint Roads. A terrific team of two spent just over an hour at Concord End and Flint Roads, crossing 8 spotted salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt (+2 dead), 2 two-lined salamanders, and 1 dusky salamander — 15 live amphibians (+2 dead) in all. Dusky salamanders are a rare find at road crossings, as they’re stream-dwelling salamanders with no need to migrate or disperse overland in search of food. However, water was running down the road like a small stream on Thursday night, so this particular dusky probably felt right at home!

Keene

A gray tree frog resting in a person's hand. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Gray tree frogs were out in adorable force on April 29!
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Jordan Road. At Jordan Road, 11 dedicated Crossing Brigadiers spent just over two hours on patrol. During that time, they crossed 4 spotted salamanders, 2 Jefferson complex salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders (+2 dead), 2 newts, 15 wood frogs (+1 dead), 18 spring peepers (+3 dead), 12 gray tree frogs, and 1 pickerel frog, for a total of 57 live amphibians (+6 dead).

North Lincoln Street. 24 enthusiastic volunteers spent a total of two hours in steady, driving rain at North Lincoln Street, counting 11 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 newt (+2 dead), 10 wood frogs, 144 spring peepers (+1 dead), 6 American toads (+1 dead), 22 gray tree frogs, and 3 green frogs, for a total of 198 live amphibians (+5 dead). The road was once again closed to vehicles to protect all those amphibians. Sixty percent of the peepers were still headed toward the wetland, along with all of the gray tree frogs and nearly all the toads. All the wood frogs and spotted salamanders were headed back to the woods.

Nelson

A green frog on the road, with something slimy on its nose. (photo © Elizabeth Irvine)

This green frog showed up on Nelson Road on April 29 with something strange on its nose. Any biologists out there know what this could be? (photo © Elizabeth Irvine)

Granite Lake Road. Two solo salamander savers, in two separate shifts, spent just over two hours on Granite Lake Road, crossing 9 spotted salamanders, 1 newt (+1 dead), 5 wood frogs, 49 spring peepers (+7 dead), 1 American toad, 3 pickerel frogs, and 9 green frogs, for a total of 77 live amphibians (+8 dead). The wood frogs and spotted salamanders were all moving away from the wetland. The peepers were coming and going in both directions.

Nelson Road. Two solo, stalwart Salamander Brigadiers, in two separate shifts, spent three hours on patrol at Nelson Road. Together, they crossed 38 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 2 wood frogs, 274 spring peepers (+40 dead), 1 American toad, and 3 green frogs, and counted 1 dead newt — 320 live amphibians (+45 dead) in all. One of them, who has been shepherding salamanders on Big Nights for a very long time, said it was the “busiest night in all my years of crossing amphibians!!”

New Ipswich

Thayer Road. In about an hour, a terrific twosome crossed 1 spring peeper (+1 dead) and 1 bullfrog, and found 2 dead green frogs, for a total of 2 live amphibians (+2 dead). They reported that it was “another night limited to the range of our baby monitor, but a great night out!”

Peterborough

A boy and a young woman, both wearing reflective vests, stand next to a sign that reads "Caution! Salamander Crossing" (photo © Sarah Thomas)

The Summer Street crew prepares for a migration earlier in the 2021 season. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Summer Street. The dedicated Summer Street crew, 10 Brigadiers strong, spent four and a half hours on the road (!), crossing 34 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 1 newt, 18 wood frogs (+8 dead), 38 spring peepers (+14 dead), 15 American toads (+3 dead), 3 gray tree frogs, 6 green frogs (+1 dead), and 2 bullfrogs, for a grand total of 117 live amphibians (+28 dead). Half of the spotties were heading to the vernal pools, half heading back to the woods.

Rindge

Old Ashburnham Road. In an hour and a half, a dynamic duo crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 4 wood frogs, 8 spring peepers, and 4 American toads, and found 2 unidentified dead amphibians — 23 live amphibians (+2 dead) in all.

Sullivan

Valley Road. A solo salamander shepherd spent an hour and a half in two different shifts on Valley Road, crossing 5 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 newt, 14 wood frogs (+2 dead), 30 spring peepers (+8 dead), and 2 green frogs — 52 live amphibians (+11 dead) in all.

Swanzey

Matthews Road. In an hour and a half, two Brigadiers crossed 9 spotted salamanders (+6 dead), 7 wood frogs (+1 dead), 22 spring peepers (+11 dead), 6 American toads, and 15 gray tree frogs (+4 dead), and found 5 dead unidentified amphibians — for a total of 59 live amphibians (+27 dead).

Swanzey Lake Road. A terrific trio crossed 30 spotted salamanders (+6 dead), 1 wood frog, 11 spring peepers (+3 dead), 2 four-toed salamanders, 6 two-lined salamanders, and 1 gray tree frog, and found 1 dead bullfrog, for a total of 51 live amphibians (+10 dead) in just one hour.

Westmoreland

A spotted salamander blends in with the dark pavement beneath it. (photo © Bethany Bechard)

Can you spot the spottie? (photo © Bethany Bechard)

Glebe Road. Three Brigadiers worked in two different shifts, crossing 61 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 5 red-backed salamanders, 4 wood frogs, 146 spring peepers (+34 dead), 50 American toads (+1 dead), 2 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), and 3 green frogs (+1 dead), and 2 dead newts, for a total of 271 live amphibians (+41 dead) in just over two hours. Sadly, they also found one roadkilled painted turtle hatchling.

Wilton

Whiting Hill Road. The Wilton crew, 7 volunteers strong, crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders, 4 wood frogs, 15 spring peepers (+4 dead), 6 American toads, 1 gray tree frog, 1 pickerel frog, and 4 bullfrogs. They also recorded 2 unidentified dead amphibians. Grand total: 40 live amphibians (+6 dead) in just under two hours.

Winchester

Forest Lake Road. A terrific twosome spent an hour on Forest Lake Road, crossing 14 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 newt (+1 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, and 1 spring peeper, for a total of 18 live amphibians (+3 dead). Interesting nature note: the four-toed salamander was tailless, having detached its own tail to escape from a predator or perhaps in a run-in with a car. Eventually, the tail will grow back!

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from April 29? 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 28, 2021

Toads’ Night Out (& Lots of Other Species, Too…)

An American toad on a road. (photo © Mary Kate Sheridan)

American toads: the noblest of amphibians. See more photos from the 2021 amphibian migration on Flickr. (photo © Mary Kate Sheridan)

After a long stretch of amphibian-unfriendly weather, April 28 was a bona fide Big Night, with warm temperatures and early evening rain spurring a diversity of species to action! Toads and gray tree frogs made their way to their breeding wetlands for the first time this year, red-backed salamanders and green frogs enjoyed a night on the town, and wood frogs and spotted salamanders took the opportunity to return to the woods, their courtship and egg laying done for the season. Spring peepers were also out and about in huge numbers.

Collectively, nearly 100 Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers provided safe passage for 2,494 amphibians of 13 different species at 20 sites on April 28, bringing our season total to over 6,150 crossed critters. Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Concord

Fisk Road. In just under two hours, a dynamic duo crossed 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 1 wood frog, 2 spring peepers, 2 gray tree frogs, and recorded 1 dead pickerel frog and 1 dead bullfrog — 6 live amphibians (+3 dead) in all.

Hancock

Antrim Road. A fantastic family of four spent an hour and a half on Antrim Road, crossing 5 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 35 red-backed salamanders, 6 newts (+7 dead), 1 wood frog, 52 spring peepers (+4 dead), 2 four-toed salamanders, 2 gray tree frogs, 2 pickerel frogs, 1 green frog, and 2 bullfrogs, for a total of 106 live amphibians (+12 dead) representing 10 different species. Sadly, they also discovered a roadkilled painted turtle hatchling, with a shell the size of a nickel. They said, “We were just so glad to have finally laid eyes (and hands!) on some Spotteds this year!”

Route 137. A solo salamander superhero spent 45 minutes on Route 137, between Longview Road and the cemetery. In that time, he crossed 1 spotted salamander (+2 dead), 15 red-backed salamanders, 3 wood frogs (+4 dead), 24 spring peepers (+25 dead), 4 American toads, 1 gray tree frog, 2 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), and 1 green frog. He also recorded 2 dead newts and 3 unknown dead. All in all, he found 51 live amphibians (+37 dead) representing 9 different species. Not too shabby for less than an hour on the road!

Harrisville

A Jefferson complex salamander on Breed Road in Harrisville. (photo © Paul & Julie Armbrust)

An exciting — and adorable — find at Child’s Bog in Harrisville on April 28! (photo © Paul & Julie Armbrust)

Breed Road at Child’s Bog. A terrific twosome launched a massive rescue effort at Child’s Bog, crossing 18 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 1 Jefferson complex salamander, 17 red-backed salamanders, 4 newts (+3 dead), 1 wood frog, at least 116 spring peepers (+19 dead), 11 American toads (+2 dead), 2 two-lined salamanders, 9 pickerel frogs (+3 dead), and 12 green frogs, for a total of 191 live amphibians (+32 dead) across 10 species in just an hour and a half. There were so many peepers that eventually they gave up counting. This is the first time a Jefferson salamander has been reported from this site!

Hillsboro

Concord End & Flint Roads. A dynamic duo spent just over an hour at Concord End and Flint Roads, crossing 12 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 5 wood frogs, 2 American toads, and 2 green frogs and noting 4 dead newts, 24 live amphibians (+5 dead) in all.

Hudson

Old Derry Road. In just over an hour, a terrific twosome crossed 8 spring peepers (+ noted 6 dead).

Keene

A hand holding a gray tree frog. (photo © Bill Stroup)

“Hey guys! Thanks for the lift!” (photo © Bill Stroup)

Jordan Road. The Jordan Road crew, 10 volunteers strong, spent three hours on patrol. During that time, they crossed 15 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 3 Jefferson complex salamanders (+1 dead), 54 red-backed salamanders (+5 dead), 19 newts (+2 dead), 21 wood frogs (+9 dead), 13 spring peepers (+4 dead), 8 American toads (+4 dead), and 13 gray tree frogs (+4 dead), for a total of 146 live amphibians (+31 dead). A neat natural history note: some of the red-backed salamanders were the “erythristic” (all-red) color morph, a less common variation on an otherwise quite common creature.

North Lincoln Street. 21 volunteers spent a total of three hours at North Lincoln Street, counting 3 spotted salamanders, 7 red-backed salamanders, 3 newts (+1 dead), 43 wood frogs (+3 dead), 385 spring peepers (+3 dead), 8 American toads, 13 gray tree frogs, 5 green frogs, and 1 bullfrog, for a total of 468 live amphibians (+7 dead). The road was once again closed to vehicles to protect all those amphibians. Peepers were calling loudly from the wetland, and later in the evening some toads joined in to trill as well.

Nelson

Granite Lake Road. A solo salamander steward spent two hours on Granite Lake Road, crossing 10 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders, 3 wood frogs (+1 dead), 73 spring peepers (+3 dead), 5 American toads, and 7 green frogs, along with 1 dead newt, for a nice, round total of 100 live amphibians (+5 dead).

Nelson Road. The Nelson Road crew, 6 volunteers strong, spent two hours on amphibian patrol. Together, they crossed 17 spotted salamanders, 12 red-backed salamanders, 8 newts (+10 dead), 16 wood frogs (+1 dead), 211 spring peepers (+69 dead), 4 two-lined salamanders, 2 pickerel frogs, 1 American toad, and 15 green frogs, for a total of 286 live amphibians (+80 dead). One family of new Crossing Brigadiers also crossed 3 spotties on Old Stoddard Road on their way home from the Nelson Road crossing.

New Ipswich

Thayer Road. In just over an hour, a dynamic duo crossed 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 wood frog, 3 spring peepers (+1 dead), 3 American toads, and 3 green frogs on a 100-foot stretch of road — 12 live amphibians (+1 dead) in all.

Three different salamander species -- red-backed, Eastern newt (red eft), and spotted salamander) -- in human hands for scale. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

A diversity of species, at a diversity of sizes, at Summer Street on April 28. Bottom-left: red eft (Eastern newt). Center: red-backed salamander. Right: spotted salamander.
(photo © Sarah Thomas)

Peterborough

Summer Street. Ten volunteers spent a total of five hours (!) at the Summer Street site, crossing 41 spotted salamanders (+9 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt (+2 dead), 37 wood frogs (+9 dead), 126 spring peepers (+ a dismaying 70 dead), 34 American toads (+5 dead), 11 gray tree frogs, 3 pickerel frogs, 8 green frogs (+1 dead), and 1 bullfrog, for a grand total of 264 live amphibians (+96 dead) of 10 different species. One of the Site Coordinators said, “Our biggest night this season! Also, we saw at least one of every single species commonly found on Summer Street, which was very exciting.”

Rindge

Lord Brook Road and Lord Hill Road. A frog-loving family of five spent one hour on the road, crossing 3 spotted salamanders, 13 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 2 wood frogs, 1 spring peeper, and 1 American toad, along with 1 unknown roadkill — 20 live amphibians (+2 dead) in all.

Strafford

Route 126. A bit far afield for us, but we’ll include it! In two hours, a new Salamander Brigadier crossed 6 spotted salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders, 20 spring peepers (+15 dead), 3 gray tree frogs, 2 pickerel frogs (+1 dead), and recorded 1 dead newt and 1 dead wood frog — for a total of 34 live amphibians (+18 dead). He said of his experience, “Success! It was hard to leave!”

Sullivan

Valley Road. A Sullivan power duo spent nearly two hours on Valley Road, crossing 52 wood frogs (+5 dead), 72 spring peepers (+3 dead), 3 bullfrogs, and 2 unknown live amphibians, along with 1 dead spotted salamander. All in all, they counted 129 live amphibians (+9 dead). They also found two Northern red-bellied snakes, small snakes that hunt at night for slugs, snails, earthworms, and occasionally small frogs.

Swanzey

A spotted salamander crossing a road. (photo © Tim Briggs / timbriggsphoto.com)

Spotted salamanders were on the move throughout the Monadnock Region on April 28. (photo © Tim Briggs)

Matthews Road. In two hours, two stalwart salamander savers crossed 10 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 7 wood frogs (+2 dead), 19 spring peepers (+48 dead), 6 American toads, 10 gray tree frogs (+16 dead), 1 pickerel frog, and 1 green frog, and found 1 dead newt — for a total of 56 live amphibians (+70 dead). They also counted exactly 61 passing cars, which means that each car struck an average of 1.1 amphibians. This site could use more help on future migration nights! That said, with a high volume of fast-moving traffic, this is not a family-friendly crossing — and everyone else should exercise extreme caution, too.

Swanzey Lake Road. Four volunteers in two different shifts counted 9 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 3 newts, 25 wood frogs +11 dead), 8 spring peepers (+1 dead), 11 four-toed salamanders, 8 two-lined salamanders (+1 dead), 1 gray tree frog (+1 dead), 1 pickerel frog (+1 dead), and 3 green frogs, for a total of 69 live amphibians (+17 dead) in two and a half hours.

Westmoreland

Glebe Road. The Glebe Road crew, 14 Brigadiers strong, crossed 45 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 8 red-backed salamanders (+1 dead), 5 newts (+2 dead), 1 four-toed salamander, 14 wood frogs, 204 spring peepers (+25 dead), a whopping 71 American toads, 10 pickerel frogs, 4 green frogs, and 2 bullfrogs, for a total of 364 live amphibians (+31 dead) in two and a half hours.

River Road. It was a quieter-than-usual night at River Road, where a mother-son team of longtime Crossing Brigadiers crossed 8 spotted salamanders, 39 wood frogs, 3 American toads, 1 gray tree frog, and 1 pickerel frog,  for a total of 52 live amphibians in an hour and a half. Sadly, they also found a road-killed garter snake.

Wilton

Whiting Hill Road. The Wilton crew crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 1 Jefferson complex salamander, 5 red-backed salamanders, 4 newts, 2 wood frogs, 26 spring peepers (+2 dead), 10 American toads (+1 dead), 2 gray tree frogs, 1 pickerel frog, 1 green frog (+1 dead), and 3 bullfrogs (+1 dead). They also recorded 2 unidentified dead amphibians. Grand total: 61 live amphibians (+7 dead) representing 11 different species in two and a half hours.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from April 28? 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 15, 2021

Salamanders in the Snow!

A spotted salamander dodging snowflakes along Glebe Road in Westmoreland. (photo © Liza Lowe)

A spotted salamander dodging snowflakes along Glebe Road in Westmoreland on April 15. See more photos from the 2021 amphibian migration on Flickr. (photo © Liza Lowe)

After two weeks of dry weather, soaking rain finally arrived. There was just one catch: it was cold, with a Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10 p.m. onward. In most places, it was simply too chilly for amphibians — but at a few sites, the drenching rain spurred salamanders to action, even when temperatures dropped into the 30s and snowflakes began to fall!

Collectively, our Salamander Crossing Brigades provided safe passage for 295 amphibians at 5 sites on April 15, bringing our season total to more than 3,660 crossed critters. The vast majority of amphibians were leaving their breeding wetlands, their courtship and egg laying done for the year — a sign that salamander season may be starting to wind down. Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Keene

A young woman, wearing a reflective vest, smiling, and holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Sophie Chaisson)

The look of a person who has seen their very first spotted salamander. A moment of magic among the raindrops. (photo © Sophie Chaisson)

Jordan Road. A solo Brigadier crossed 1 very cold peeper in 20 minutes on the road before calling it a night.

North Lincoln Street. A team of six spent about two hours on North Lincoln Street in a cold, steady rain. Together, they crossed 120 spring peepers (+21 dead) and 1 spotted salamander, and counted 2 dead newts, for a total of 121 live amphibians. They also saw a bobcat, who crossed itself! Peepers were chorusing loudly in the wetland, but no wood frog cackles could be heard. Nearly 90% of the peepers were headed back to the woods, though the lone spottie was still making its way to the wetland.

Hillsboro

Concord End & Flint Roads. A dynamic duo split their time into early evening and late-night walks along Flint and Concord End Roads, crossing 2 spotted salamanders and 3 wood frogs, for a total of live amphibians in two hours. When the salamanders were out, it was a shocking 35° and actively snowing!

Westmoreland

Glebe Road. In just two hours, a dedicated family of four longtime Crossing Brigadiers crossed 140 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 1 newt (+6 dead), 14 spring peepers (+7 dead), 2 American toads, and 1 bullfrog, for a total of 158 live amphibians. Sadly, they also found a roadkilled turtle hatchling. The majority of salamanders were leaving the pond, their courtship and egg-laying having come to a close. Temperatures started at 36°, but dropped to 33° before they were done. They noted, in a real-time text, “There is literally snow on the salamanders that are crossing right now.” Amphibians truly never cease to surprise and amaze!

Wilton

Whiting Hill Road. With temperatures in the low 40s, a terrific twosome crossed 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, and 10 spring peepers (+3 dead), for a total of 12 live amphibians in just under two hours.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from April 15? 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, 2021

The Migration Continues…

Hands holding a spotted salamander. (photo © Jim Hodge)

The distribution of Wednesday’s rain was, ahem, spotty. Amphibians moved across wet roads in Rindge, Peterborough, and New Boston earlier in the evening, but roads were bone-dry until after midnight in other places. (photo © Jim Hodge)

In most places, Wednesday’s rain arrived much later than initially predicted, so while amphibians were very likely on the move, there were not too many Crossing Brigadiers awake to count them! Thankfully, there’s far less traffic on the road at that hour. That said, passing showers at dusk in a few of our more easterly locations did spur some early-evening movement, and a few night owls patrolled for amphibians in the wee hours. Collectively, our Salamander Crossing Brigades provided safe passage for 446 amphibians at 11 sites on March 31, bringing our season total to nearly 3,400 crossed critters. Read on for site-by-site details, listed alphabetically by town:

Dunbarton

Robert Rogers Road. One dedicated volunteer ventured out after midnight, assisting 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 3 wood frogs, 11 spring peepers, 5 green frogs, and 6 bullfrogs, for a total of 26 live amphibians between 1 and 2 a.m. She also recorded 2 dead newts, 1 dead four-toed salamander, 1 dead two-lined salamander, and 4 dead unidentified amphibians, 9 roadkilled critters in all. She left for home with her “ears ringing” from the roar of nearby peepers!

Harrisville

Two people holding three spotted salamanders in their hands (photo © Jim Hodge)

The New Boston crew had their hands full on Wednesday night! (photo © Jim Hodge)

Bonds Corner Road. Between 3 and 4:30 a.m., one seriously dedicated Brigadier — possibly also an insomniac — crossed 12 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 2 newts (+1 dead), 7 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 11 spring peepers (+4 dead), for a total of 35 live amphibians.

Lee

Lee Hook Road. Not in the Monadnock Region, but we’ll include it! In two hours, four intrepid Crossing Brigadiers moved 3 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 2 spring peepers, 2 American toads (+3 dead), 1 pickerel frog, and 1 bullfrog, for a total of 10 live amphibians (+3 dead)

Nelson

Granite Lake Road. A deedicated solo salamander saver ventured out in 1:30 a.m. rains, crossing 8 spotted salamanders, 3 wood frogs, and 34 spring peepers (+22 dead), for a total of 45 live amphibians and, sadly, 22 dead frogs in just half an hour.

New Boston

Kennedy and Ridgeview Lanes. One fantastic family of Crossing Brigadiers spent just under two hours crossing critters on wet roads along Kennedy and Ridgeview Lanes. Their counts included 36 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 2 two-lined salamanders, 1 wood frog, and 1 spring peeper, 40 live amphibians in all. They reported: “It was a great night because the pavement was wet, and we were not!”

Old Coach Road. A terrific twosome spent two hours at Old Coach Road, where the ground was wet but the rain had stopped. Together, they crossed 8 spotted salamanders (+3 dead), 1 red-backed salamander (+1 dead), 8 wood frogs, and 3 green frogs and counted 20 dead peepers, for a total of 20 live amphibians and, sadly, 24 roadkills.

A young Crossing Brigadier lends a wood frog a helping hand. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Three cheers for Jackson, who not only helped amphibians across the road at Summer Street, but also picked up litter while waiting for the frogs and salamanders to make their appearance! (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Peterborough

Summer Street. The Summer Street crew — 15 volunteers strong! — spent four hours crossing 2 spotted salamanders (+2 dead), 1 newt (+1 dead), 45 wood frogs (+21 dead), and 79 spring peepers (+30 dead), for a total of 121 live amphibians and, sadly, 52 roadkills. Site Coordinator Sarah Thomas shared: “A surprising amount of amphibians on a night where I wore a fleece jacket (no rain coat) all night! It was slow at first, so we spent the time picking up trash — a total of 5 very stuffed grocery bags in all. Jackson Farmer did most of the heavy lifting. He’s an invaluable addition to the Crossing Brigade.” Way to go, Jackson!

Rindge

Old New Ipswich Road. The Rindge Rangers welcomed a first-time Crossing Brigadier to their team, and reported that she was “thrilled” to join the fun. In one hour, the trio crossed 2 spotted salamanders, 2 newts, 2 gray tree frogs, 2 wood frogs (+2 dead), 5 spring peepers (+9 dead), for a total of 13 live amphibians (+11 dead).

Robbins Road. Over the course of one hour at two different locations along Robbins Road, one intrepid volunteer crossed 1 spotted salamander, 2 wood frogs, 1 American toad, and 3 spring peepers (+1 dead), 7 live amphibians in all. It was not actively raining, but the road was still wet from earlier showers.

Sullivan

Valley Road. One impressive night owl spent the midnight hour crossing critters on Valley Road. His counts included 6 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 42 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 37 spring peepers (+4 dead), for a total of 85 live amphibians.

Wilton

Whiting Hill Road. The Wilton crew spent two hours on the wet road (no rain) at Whiting Hill, crossing 30 spring peepers (+3 dead), 1 American toad, and 2 green frogs (+1 dead), for a total of 33 live amphibians.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from March 31? 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 28, 2021

A Big Night, Medium Night, & Small Night — All At Once

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

On March 28, our Salamander Crossing Brigades collectively moved 340 spotted salamanders to safety — including this one. See more photos from the 2021 amphibian migration on Flickr. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Sunday was a classic example of the importance of temperature. In places where the mercury hovered at or below 40°F, amphibian activity was minimal. Where temperatures rose to 43° or 44°, salamanders and frogs were out in huge numbers. We received reports from 34 different crossing sites, where more than 150 volunteers shepherded 1,900 amphibians to safety — bringing our season total to nearly 3,000 amphibians, and it’s not even April! Read on for site-by-site details, which are listed alphabetically by town.

Concord

Fisk Road. Over the course of two hours, four volunteers counted and crossed 5 spotted salamanders (+1 dead). They also observed that spring peepers were “very, very, quiet in the wooded wetlands,” and the wood frogs were not yet chorusing. Migration may only just be getting started at this site!

Dunbarton

Robert Rogers Road. In one hour, a solo Brigadier crossed 1 wood frog (+4 dead) and 1 spring peeper, and recorded 2 dead spotted salamanders, as well as 2 unidentified dead amphibians.

Francestown

Route 136. In just over an hour, two Brigadiers crossed 6 spotted salamanders (+11 dead), 1 newt, 5 wood frogs (+10 dead), 12 peepers (+8 dead), and 1 green frog along Route 136, between King Hill Road and Hopkinton Road — 25 live amphibians (+29 dead) in all.

Hancock

A wood frog pauses on a Harrisville road. (photo © Paul Armbrust)

569 wood frogs were helped across roads by Crossing Brigade volunteers on March 28 — including this lucky lady in Harrisville. (photo © Paul Armbrust)

Antrim Road. In one hour, a sweet family of longtime Crossing Brigadiers moved 7 spring peepers to safety, and counted 1 dead peeper. Migration may only just be getting started at this site!

Route 137. A terrific twosome spent one hour at Route 137, crossing 1 newt (+1 dead), 2 spring peepers (+5 dead), and 2 green frogs, and noting 2 dead wood frogs — 5 live amphibians in all. There was a definite chill in the air, which likely kept many amphibians hunkered down for the night. These volunteers noted that “all the amphibians we picked up felt like ice!”

Harrisville

Bonds Corner Road. In an hour and a half, a dynamic duo crossed 32 spotted salamanders, 2 two-lined salamanders, 10 wood frogs, and 1 spring peepers, 42 live amphibians in all.

Breed Road at Child’s Bog. In an hour and a half, a team of five crossed 1 newt, 2 spring peepers, 7 wood frogs, and 1 unidentified salamander, 11 live amphibians in all. This is a big toad site, so it might not really get hopping until temperatures warm up a bit.

Hancock Road. A small team of Crossing Brigadiers crossed 3 spotted salamanders, 3 wood frogs, and 7 spring peepers near the boat launch for Skatutakee Lake, for a total of 13 amphibians.

Henniker

River Road. A solo Brigadier investigated this new-to-us site, crossing 7 wood frogs (+1 dead) and 8 spring peepers (+2 dead), for a total of 15 live frogs in just 20 minutes. A promising site!

Hillsboro

Concord End & Flint Roads. A dynamic duo investigated a new-to-us crossing along Flint and Concord End Roads, moving 5 wood frogs (+1 dead) and 1 spring peeper to safety, for a total of frogs in one hour.

Keene

A Jefferson complex salamander resting in a person's hands. (photo © Meg Hussey)

Jefferson complex salamanders are a species of conservation concern in New Hampshire — so it’s especially great that our volunteers were there to lend them a helping hand on Sunday at Jordan Road in Keene and River Road in Westmoreland. (photo © Meg Hussey)

Arch Street. A fantastic family of four investigated a new-to-us crossing on Arch Street, between Whitcombs Mill Road and the stone tunnel where Arch Street turns into Chesterfield Road. In just under 30 minutes, they crossed 5 spotted salamanders, 8 wood frogs (+1 dead), 3 spring peepers, and 1 American toad, for a total of 17 live amphibians. They noted that traffic moved fairly fast at this site, so take extra care if you visit this spot for future migrations.

Eastern Avenue. An intrepid duo spent 45 minutes at Eastern Avenue, where they crossed 7 wood frogs (+6 dead) and 4 spring peepers (+3 dead), 11 live frogs in all. In years past, this site has had many more frogs; it’s possible that the timing or temperature were not quite right on Sunday, or that heavy traffic along this stretch of road has taken its toll over the years.

Jordan Road. The Jordan Road crew — 15 Crossing Brigadiers strong! — crossed 11 spotted salamanders, 19 Jefferson complex salamanders (+1 dead), 5 wood frogs, and 18 spring peepers (+3 dead), for a total of 53 live amphibians in less than three hours. Jefferson complex salamanders are a Species of Special Concern in New Hampshire, so this site carries extra conservation significance.

North Lincoln Street. North Lincoln Street was once again closed to vehicles to protect migrating amphibians. Over the course of four hours, 20 well-spaced volunteers counted 25 spotted salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 newt (+3 dead, likely from rain earlier in the day), 38 wood frogs (+1 dead), 440 spring peepers (+21 dead), and 3 American toads, 508 live amphibians in all.

Lee

Mill Pond Road. Not in the Monadnock Region, but we’ll include it! One dedicated volunteer spent the very wee hours of the morning on Mill Pond Road, crossing 1 spotted salamander, 1 red-backed salamander, 1 wood frog, and 2 spring peepers, 5 live amphibians in all. She also recorded 1 dead pickerel frog and 1 dead bullfrog.

Thompson Mill Road. That same volunteer also patrolled Thompson Mill Road, crossing 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 newt, 2 wood frogs, 1 spring peeper, and 1 green frog (+1 dead), for a total of live amphibians. She also found 1 dead bullfrog.

Nelson

Granite Lake Road. Two different solo Crossing Brigadiers spent time on Granite Lake Road throughout the evening, collectively crossing 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 3 wood frogs, and 6 spring peepers (+4 dead), for a total of 10 live amphibians in three hours. One volunteer also shared the following observation: “Large earthworm migration east of mailbox 463. One unhappy beaver tail slapping the water.”

Nelson Road. Three volunteers patrolled Nelson Road at various points throughout the evening, collectively crossing 1 eft, 1 wood frog, and 10 spring peepers (+2 dead), 10 live amphibians in all. Like Granite Lake Road, this site was on the colder side on Sunday, and will likely hop to life once temperatures warm a bit more.

New Boston

Two spotted salamanders resting in one hand. (photo © Jim Hodge)

A two-fer in New Boston! (photo © Jim Hodge)

Kennedy & Ridgeview Lanes. A dynamic duo spent an hour and a half at the intersection of Kennedy and Ridgeview Lanes, where they crossed 19 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 1 red-backed salamander, 1 four-toed salamander, and 1 spring peeper, for a total of 22 live amphibians.

Meadow Road. A team of five investigated this new-to-us crossing, and found 5 spotted salamanders (+4 dead), 3 red-backed salamanders, 8 American toads (+2 dead), 1 dead newt, and 10 unidentified dead amphibians, for a total of 16 live amphibians in an hour and a half.

Weare Road. A terrific twosome spent two hours at Weare Road — another new-to-us crossing — where they crossed 1 newt (+7 dead) and 22 spring peepers (+30 dead), along with 2 dead wood frogs, for a total of 23 live amphibians (and, sadly, 39 roadkills).

New Ispwich

Thayer Road. In three hours, a team of three Crossing Brigadiers rescued 1 spotted salamander (+1 dead), 2 red-backed salamanders, 21 wood frogs (+4 dead), and 7 peepers (+4 dead), and counted 2 unidentified dead amphibians — 31 live amphibians in all.

Peterborough

Wood frogs in amplexus on North Lincoln Street. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Amplexus (n.): “the mating position of frogs and toads, in which the male clasps the female about the back.” (Oxford Languages). Usually, they wait until they’re in the vernal pool to do this sort of thing — but not on Summer Street, apparently. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Summer Street. The dedicated crew at Summer Street — 22 Crossing Brigadiers strong! — stayed until midnight, collectively crossing 12 spotted salamanders, 1 newt, 88 wood frogs (+13 dead), 77 peepers (+15 dead), and 3 unidentified live amphibians, for a total of 181 live amphibians in just over five hours. In a modern herpetological version of the old Beatles tune, at least 8 pairs of wood frogs were seen crossing the road while in amplexus. Our Site Coordinators reported that “the energy really picked up when people started spotting spotties!”

Rindge

Old New Ipswich Road. The Rindge Rangers reported that it was too cold for much movement, but they did help 1 newt, 2 wood frogs, and 1 peeper along on their journeys, for a total of 5 amphibians in one hour.

Robbins Road. A dynamic duo crossed 2 spotted salamanders (+1 dead) in one hour at Robbins Road.

South Woodbound Road. A trio of Crossing Brigadiers crossed 2 wood frogs (+2 dead) and 4 spring peepers, for a total of amphibians in just over half an hour.

Spofford

Old Swanzey Road. A solo salamander saver crossed 7 spotted salamanders, 2 red-backed salamanders, 2 wood frogs, and 2 spring peepers in an hour and a half of searching, 13 amphibians in all.

Sullivan

Valley Road. A team of two spent a total of two hours at this new-to-us crossing site, shuttling to safety 2 spotted salamanders, 54 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 11 spring peepers (+8 dead), for a total of 67 live amphibians.

Swanzey

A Crossing Brigade volunteer holding a spring peeper. (photo © Denise Zimmer)

A very lucky peeper. (photo © Denise Zimmer)

Holbrook Avenue. A trio of new Crossing Brigadiers discovered this new-to-us crossing site near the rail trail while traveling home from the Swanzey Lake Road crossing. In just fifteen minutes, they crossed and counted 4 spotted salamanders (+8 dead) and 12 spring peepers (+3 dead), 16 live amphibians in all. This site is clearly in need of further investigation. Traffic moves very fast here, so if you choose to check it out, exercise extreme caution!

Matthews Road. A solo salamander savior spent two hours at Matthews Road, where she crossed 21 spotted salamanders (+5 dead), 5 wood frogs, and 3 spring peepers (+1 dead), and noted 1 dead toad, for a total of 29 live amphibians.

Swanzey Lake Road. Two different teams of Crossing Brigadiers patrolled Swanzey Lake Road, collectively crossing 18 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 four-toed salamanders, 1 wood frog, and 27 spring peepers (+3 dead),  50 live amphibians in all. They also found 2 dead two-lined salamanders.

Westport Village Road. On their way home from the Swanzey Lake Road crossing, a trio of Brigadiers moved 5 spotted salamanders and 5 spring peepers across Westport Village Road — 10 live amphibians total — in just 15 minutes! They reported that “a kind Swanzey cop stopped to check on the crazy ladies and blocked the road till we could clear all the critters.”

Westmoreland

A spring peeper and an American toad pause next to each other on the centerline of a road. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

“We must never speak of this again.”
(photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

Glebe Road. The dedicated Glebe Road crew — 17 volunteers strong! — crossed 72 spotted salamanders, 21 newts (+11 dead), and 163 spring peepers (+3 dead) in under four hours, for a total of 256 live amphibians.

River Road. In three hours, five busy Salamander Crossing Brigadiers shuttled a jaw-dropping 88 spotted salamanders, 13 Jefferson complex salamanders, 3 red-backed salamanders, 7 newts (+6 dead), 295 wood frogs (+9 dead), and 14 spring peepers, for a total of 420 live amphibians. Only four cars passed by during that time, but they were responsible for 15 dead critters.

Wilton

Burns Hill Road. A solo Brigadier spent half an hour at a new-to-us crossing on Burns Hill Road, from the intersection with Wilson Road to the intersection with Sand Hill Road. They crossed 1 two-lined salamander, 2 wood frogs (+2 dead), and 3 spring peepers (+1 dead), and counted 1 dead spotted salamander and 6 dead unknown amphibians — 6 live amphibians (+10 dead) in all.

Whiting Hill Road. Five volunteers with the Wilton Community Center spent just over three hours at Whiting Hill Road, where they crossed 2 spotted salamanders (+1 dead), 4 newts, 6 wood frogs (+1 dead), and 15 spring peepers (+4 dead), 27 live amphibians in all.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from March 28? 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 24, 2021

The First Migration of the Season!

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

A wood frog enjoys the safety provided by the amphibian road closure at North Lincoln Street in Keene on the night of March 24, 2021. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

The rain didn’t start until 9 p.m. and was never more than a trickle, but that and a week of warming temperatures were enough to spur the first frogs of the year to action at sites where the ground was well-thawed! The late-night nature of this migration — and the fact that the ground is still frozen at a number of our higher-elevation sites — kept volunteer efforts modest, but our Salamander Crossing Brigades provided safe passage for 1,011 amphibians in the span of just a few hours. Read on for site-by-site details:

Keene

North Lincoln Street. The City of Keene worked with the Harris Center to close the North Lincoln Street crossing site to vehicles on Wednesday night for the first Big Night of 2021. Between 9 and 12:30 a.m., 15 well-spaced volunteers counted 707 spring peepers (+8 dead), 135 wood frogs, 2 red-backed salamanders, 1 spotted salamander, and 1 newt at this site, for a total of 846 amphibians. At times, there were so many peepers on the road that it was nearly impossible to get an accurate count, so consider this number an underestimate. Frogs likely continued migrating well through the night, after we were no longer there to keep count — but while the road closure was still in place to provide them with safe passage.

Jordan Road. Over a two-hour period with very light rain and temperatures in the upper 40s, 8 dedicated volunteers moved 25 wood frogs (+3 dead), 21 spring peepers, 9 Jefferson complex salamanders, 1 red-backed salamander, and 1 eft to safety at Jordan Road, for a total of 57 live amphibians. Two barred owls were also heard calling in the surrounding woodlands.

A smiling Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteer, with a peeper in hand. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Sarah Thomas lends a helping hand — and a smile — to one of the first spring peepers of the season at Summer Street in Peterborough. (photo © Sarah Thomas)

Peterborough

Summer Street. From 10 p.m. to midnight, four night owls crossed 18 live wood frogs (+6 dead) and 15 spring peepers (+1 dead) — 23 live amphibians in all. It was a fairly quiet night, with temperatures in the mid-40s, but this site will likely be hopping with activity during the next warm, soaking rain.

Swanzey

Matthews Road. A single intrepid Crossing Brigade volunteer crossed 21 wood frogs (+4 dead) and 25 spring peepers (+2 dead), for a total of 46 live amphibians in just over an hour, with temperatures in the high 40s.

Swanzey Lake Road. From 9:30 to 11:30, a family of salamander savers crossed 22 spring peepers, 3 wood frogs, and 3 spotted salamanders — 28 live amphibians in all.

Do you have amphibian tallies or photos to share from March 24? 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.