COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.

Salamander Forecast

When Will the Amphibians Migrate? Here's Our Best Guess.

Spring amphibian migrations are spurred by a combination of thawed ground, warm nighttime temperatures (above 40°F), and wet weather — though temperature fluctuations and varying snow depth mean that Big Night often occurs at different times in different places. Spring weather in New England is notoriously fickle, so check back often for the most up-to-date forecast!

May 15, 2020

The majority of the spring amphibian migration has now come to an end. Stragglers could migrate back to the woods from their breeding pools over the next few rainy nights — tonight’s thunderstorms could in fact be quite toady, though thunder and lightning will likely preclude human participation in critter crossing — but we won’t be updating the salamander forecast again until 2021.

That said, do stay alert, as frogs and toads will be out and about on rainy nights all summer longespecially on roads near wetlands, lakes, ponds, and other water bodies!

May 8, 2020

Rain looks likely starting right around sundown tonight. That rain will eventually turn to snow (the horror!) but it doesn’t look like temperatures will dip below 40° until sometime after 10 p.m. — leaving a two-hour window for amphibian activity. The migration is winding down for the season, but spring peepers will likely be afoot. Any spotted salamanders, Jefferson salamanders, or wood frogs who haven’t yet left their breeding pools for the season could make their move tonight, too. It will probably be too cold for toads, though Monday looks promising in that regard!

May 4, 2020

If Friday night is any indication (field report soon to come!), salamander season is on the wane. Toads and gray tree frogs were out in force that night — along with an interesting diversity of other amphibians — but spotted salamander numbers were low. Wood frog egg masses will be nearing hatch soon, spotted salamander egg masses have appeared in most area pools, and it’s likely that many amphibians emigrated from their breeding pools in the deluge that occurred between midnight and dawn last Thursday into Friday. We’ll keep an eye on the forecast for a while longer, but the big push is likely now behind us.

April 30, 2020

With overnight temperatures in the high 40s and rain a near certainty after midnight, tonight has the potential to be a Big Night — but whether amphibians will be afoot in the early part of the evening, in addition to the wee hours, is still in question. Current forecasts predict that daytime rain will end by 4 p.m. or so, with only a low chance of evening showers before midnight. If the ground is still wet from the afternoon rain when nightfall arrives or if the overnight rains come earlier than anticipated, amphibians could be on the move while us humans are still awake. In short: whenever it’s wet after dark, amphibians will be out and about!

This next period of wet weather may be one of the last migration windows of the season, as American toads and gray tree frogs finally take advantage of warmer temperatures to head to their breeding wetlands and all the spotted and Jefferson complex salamanders who’ve been hunkered down in their vernal pools since the last warm, rainy night on April 13 take this opportunity to head back to the woods for the year.

As a reminder, we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings. Go out only with members of your own household, to sites that are close to home. Keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) If there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. Wherever you are, don’t forget to don your reflective vest, carry a bright light, and step aside for passing cars as soon as they come into view! You can read more about salamander season in the age of COVID-19 here.

April 28, 2020

The rains (and snow!) earlier this week proved too cold to spur much amphibian movement, but Thursday and Friday will be a different story entirely. With temperatures in the 50s and a 50% chance of rain on both nights, we could see some significant movement, as all the critters who’ve been hunkered down in the pools for the last two weeks see an opportunity to emigrate — as long as the wet weather comes to pass. Keep your eye on the skies at the end of this week!

April 26, 2020

Spotted salamander eggs are popping up in vernal pools all throughout the region, and wood frog eggs are nearing hatch in some places — a sign that salamander season is on the wane. Still, all the amphibians who migrated into their breeding pools on April 13 still need to migrate back out, and many American toads and grey tree frogs have yet to make their move.

Wet weather seems certain tonight, but temperatures are a big question. If the ground is wet after dark and temperatures stay at or above 40°, we could see some significant movement, as all the critters who’ve been hunkered down in the pools for the last two weeks see an opportunity to emigrate. At sites where the temperature quickly drops into the 30s at or after sunset, however, our four-legged friends will likely wait for a warmer night. Similar conditions are predicted for Monday night. However, Monday day is expected to be much cooler than today. Of the two, tonight is a better bet. Wednesday and Thursday may also provide warmer opportunities for stragglers to make their move.

As a reminder, we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings. Go out only with members of your own household, to sites that are close to home. Keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) If there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. Wherever you are, don’t forget to don your reflective vest, carry a bright light, and step aside for passing cars as soon as they come into view! You can read more about salamander season in the age of COVID-19 here.

April 24, 2020

Spotted salamander eggs are popping up in vernal pools all throughout the region, and wood frog eggs are nearing hatch in some places — a sign that salamander season is on the wane. Still, all the amphibians who migrated into their breeding pools on April 13 still need to migrate back out, and American toads and grey tree frogs haven’t started calling yet, so many of them have yet to migrate.

Sunday looks like a soaker, but temperatures are a big question. If the ground is wet after dark and temperatures stay at or above 40°, we could see some significant movement. If the mercury drops into the 30s, however, our four-legged friends will likely hunker down and wait for a warmer night.

April 17, 2020

The winter weather advisory in effect for tonight is certainly not Big Night material. After that, it’ll be dry for a while, so the critters will be biding their time before their next big move. Stay tuned!

April 14, 2020

Last night was a bona fide Big Night, with amphibians of all stripes and sizes on the move throughout the Monadnock Region — and beyond! (We’re still tallying the counts, but hope to have a field report up in the next day or two.) Wood frogs were mostly found heading away from wetlands, their breeding done for the year, a sign that we’ve reached the midway point of the migration season. In a few places, spotted salamanders were starting to head back to the woods too, though many more were still wetland-bound. Our next chance for evening rain isn’t until the weekend. Stay tuned!

April 13, 2020

Today’s rain is expected to end just before sunset, but with temperatures in the mid-50s and a day-long drenching, wet ground will likely be enough to spur a migration in the early part of the evening. Wood frog eggs have started to appear in vernal pools throughout the region, so wood frogs might be found headed away from the wetlands, their breeding done for the year. Spotted salamanders will likely still be headed towards the pools, and today’s warmer temperatures might prompt some new species (American toads, gray tree frogs, redbacked salamanders) to make an appearance.

As a reminder, we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings. Go out only with members of your own household, to sites that are close to home. Keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) If there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. Wherever you are, don’t forget to don your reflective vest, carry a bright light, and step aside for passing cars as soon as they come into view! You can read more about salamander season in the age of COVID-19 here.

April 4, 2020

Light rain and temperatures in the l0w 40s spurred amphibian migrations throughout the region last night. (We’ll post a field report in a day or two!) More amphibians could make their move on the next rainy night, though the next best chance for evening rain isn’t until mid-week. Stay tuned!

April 2, 2020

It was quite chilly last night, but a few cold-hardy frogs made their move (approximately 30 frogs in 3 hours at North Lincoln Street in Keene). Tonight’s temperatures will be warmer, but the rain is less certain. If it does rain after dark, amphibians will almost certainly be on the move!

As a reminder, we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings. Go out only with members of your own household, to sites that are close to home. Keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) If there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. Wherever you are, don’t forget to don your reflective vest, carry a bright light, and step aside for passing cars as soon as they come into view! You can read more about salamander season in the age of COVID-19 here.

April 1, 2020

Rain seems certain for tomorrow evening, but temperatures will be right on the cusp of frog-friendliness. If temperatures linger around 40°, some amphibians could make their move in the early part of the evening, but once it dips into the 30s, movement will likely slow. Unless the forecast takes a turn for the warmer, we don’t anticipate a Big Night.

March 30, 2020

A few slow, chilly wood frogs and peepers were on the move last night, but it was too cold for any significant movement. Tonight looks to be quite similar. Our next chance for a more significant migration is Thursday, but it’s too soon to tell whether the temperature and timing will line up just right. Stay tuned!

March 29, 2020

Although we can’t say for sure (because none of us were out to see it!), it’s very likely that many of our local amphibians made their move in last night’s late-night rains. Rain seems certain again today and into the early evening, but temperature is a big question. If local temperatures hover around 39° or 40° after dark, it’s possible that — after three warmer days and a good day-long soaking — any remaining amphibians will forgive that extra chilly degree or two and make a move. If temperatures dip lower into the 30s, they’ll probably stay put. Temperature varies more than a few degrees from site to site, so it’s best to keep an eye on your local conditions.

As a reminder, we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings. Go out only with members of your own household, to sites that are close to home. Keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) If there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. You can read more about salamander season in the age of COVID-19 here.

March 27, 2020

This afternoon, wood frogs are in full chorus in Keene. After the weekend, frog songs will likely fill the air in other towns, too. Saturday and Sunday’s forecast both look promising, though rain might not arrive until late on Saturday and Sunday evening temperatures will be right on the cusp of frog-friendliness. After three days of warm temperatures and a good day-long soaking, it’s likely the amphibians will forgive that extra chilly degree or two and make a move.

Of course, the recent stay-at-home order complicates things for us humans. Outdoor exercise — with rigorous attention to social distancing — is still allowed, so if the only people at a given crossing site are members of your own household, if none of you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, and if you exercise extreme caution, salamander crossing may still be an acceptable activity. Larger gatherings are an entirely different story. If you choose to go out and there are ten or more people at a crossing site when you arrive, head home or go to a different site. In all instances, you must keep at least six feet away from other people at all times. (This means no gathering together to admire salamanders!) Bottom line: we must take social distancing seriously, even at amphibian crossings.

March 21, 2020

Last night’s showers were very brief, but the just-before-nightfall timing and warm temperatures prompted a significant migration at some sites! (We’ll post a full field report early next week.) Now we’re entering a colder period, which will likely have amphibians hunkering down until at least the middle of next week.

March 20, 2020

We received one report from an early-morning Brigadier who passed through North Lincoln Street and Eastern Avenue in the pre-dawn hours this morning and reported that the wood frogs were out “big time” in the chilly, pre-dawn rain. Today’s showers are predicted to end before sunset, but with temperatures rising, amphibians could continue their migration if the ground is still wet after dark. If you go out, remember to wear a reflective vest, carry a bright light, take social distancing exceptionally seriously (no gathering together to look at salamanders!), and to submit your counts and photos here.

March 18, 2020

Friday looks like our next opportunity for a migration, though there’s only a 40% chance of showers after sunset, so it’s too soon to tell what might happen. While you wait and watch the weather, please check out this update on some important changes to this year’s salamander program, in light of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing.

March 10, 2020

Current forecasts predict a 40-50% chance of showers between 6 and 10 p.m. tonight. Best case scenario is that the rain is fleeting and the critters stay tucked away another week or two − but with a high near 60°, any rain lasting more than a half-hour or so could prompt a pulse of migration at sites where the ground has thawed.

Bottom line: If the snowpack is gone where you are and there’s a soaking rain after dark, amphibians could be out and about. If you’ve been trained as a Salamander Crossing Brigade in the past and you’re up for a who-knows-what-we’ll-find kind of evening, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head to your nearest crossing to scout for early-season frogs. If you haven’t yet been trained, it’s still snowy in your neck of the woods, or the rain passes quickly, hold tight, as the best is yet to come.

Due to the uncertain forecast, North Lincoln Street and Jordan Road will not be closed to traffic.

March 8, 2020

Last Tuesday, following a period of exceptionally warm weather, 50° rains ushered in one of the earliest amphibian migrations on record. Only a handful of frogs made their move, but the door is now open for additional early migrations in places where the ground has thawed. We haven’t even held this year’s volunteer trainings yet, but the frogs don’t know that.

There is a 50% chance of showers on Tuesday evening. Best case scenario is that the rain is fleeting and the critters stay tucked away another week or two − but with a high near 60°, any rain lasting more than an hour or so could spur a migration. It’d be a good idea to dig out your reflective vest and put fresh batteries in your flashlight, just in case…

March 4, 2020

There was the tiniest trickle of frog movement last night and aboveground conditions were quite frog-friendly, but the mostly-frozen ground forestalled a mass migration. Next week looks potentially warmer and wetter, so barring any surprise snowstorms, it’s possible that we’re in for a very early salamander season this year. Stay tuned!

March 3, 2020

In terms of temperature and precipitation, tonight’s forecast looks promising for a very early-season migration (!!), but the big question is whether the ground has thawed enough to spur amphibians to action. (Although wood frogs can thaw in as few as four hours, it takes about a day for them to fully rouse.) At most of our sites, the answer is no.

One possible exception is North Lincoln Street in Keene, where the snow cover is mostly gone and a few patches of thawed earth are starting to emerge from the otherwise-frozen forest floor. It’s unlikely that tonight will be a Big Night — but a few eager, cold-hardy wood frogs could be on the move at North Lincoln Street and any other low-elevation sites with bare ground.

This is very early for a migration, so we’re still getting everything in order for this year’s salamander season. (For instance, our trainings for new volunteers won’t take place for another three weeks!) However, if you’ve been trained as a Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteer in the past, live near North Lincoln Street or another crossing site whose hillside is snow-free, and are itching to see the first frogs of 2020, check to see if it’s raining after dark. If it is, put fresh batteries in your flashlight, don your reflective vest, and head out to see if amphibians are afoot. If you do, we’d love to hear what you find out there. (You can submit your counts and photos here.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: North Lincoln Street will not be closed to traffic, so trained Crossing Brigadiers in proper safety attire only, please.

Contact Us

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