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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!

Friday 5/7

No Rain

No rain = no migration.

Saturday 5/8

No Rain

No rain = no migration.

Sunday 5/9

Late-Night Movement Possible

There's a 30% chance of showers late Sunday night. Although the bulk of the migration is over for the year, some frogs could be out and about if those showers come to pass.

Monday 5/10

Maybe So, Maybe Not...

There's a 30% chance of showers on Monday evening. Although the bulk of the migration is over for the year, some frogs could be out and about if those showers come to pass.

Tuesday 5/11

No Rain

No rain = no migration.

High Probability: Get out your rain gear and reflective vest!
Maybe So, Maybe Not: Watch the weather; it’s a nail-biter.
Very Unlikely: Too cold, too dry, or too snowy — there’ll be no migration tonight.

May 6, 2021

Last night 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. (We’ll post a full field report here when we’ve tallied all the counts from last night.) Although gray tree frogs and some spring peepers were still heading toward their breeding wetlands, other amphibians were moving back to the woods. Based on this information, it seems unlikely that we’ll have another Big Night this spring, though Smaller Nights with less concentrated movement are certainly possible if it rains after dark in the next week or two. We’ll keep the forecast going a little while longer, for those of you who still want to head out in search of peepers, toads, gray tree frogs, and other late-spring amphibians one last time…

May 5, 2021

Rain moved through the last two nights, and amphibians may have moved with it — but both times it was late, with rain starting around 10:30 p.m. on Monday and midnight on Tuesday, so we haven’t yet received any reports from Crossing Brigadiers who were out and about to confirm.

At this late point in the season, it’s difficult to know how many amphibians have yet to migrate or which Big Night will be the last– and, after two rainy nights in a row, there might not be many critters still waiting to make their move. That said, tonight’s 50% chance of early evening showers is the last nighttime rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. In other words, we can’t say whether there will be a migration tonight, but if there is, it could be the last migration of the season.

If it’s wet after nightfall and you’re up for one more adventure before salamander season comes to a close, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! Please remember to submit your counts and photos via the online forms here.

May 4, 2021

Heavy rain moved through last night, and amphibians may have moved with it — but it was late, starting around 10:30 p.m., so we haven’t yet received any reports from Crossing Brigadiers who were out and about to confirm. We’re looking at a similar forecast for tonight, with rain currently predicted to begin around 1 a.m. So, a challenge for the night owls among us: We are a little over 500 critters away from topping our own record for live amphibians moved across the road in a single season, set in 2018. Anyone up for after-midnight excursions to their nearest crossing site to help us set a new record?

Wednesday may offer earlier evening showers — and thus an earlier evening opportunity for Crossing Brigade action — but at this late point in the season, it’s difficult to know how many amphibians have yet to migrate or which Big Night will be the last. At some point soon, the migration will taper off. The only way to know is to keep checking when conditions look good, until numbers for migratory species (spotted salamanders, wood frogs, spring peepers, American toads, gray tree frogs) dwindle and/or the majority of the movement is headed away from the wetlands. Non-migratory species (green frogs, pickerel frogs, bullfrogs, newts) will be out and about on wet nights all summer long, and so aren’t a good gauge of migration yet to come.

If you’re still awake when tonight’s rain moves through and you’re up for the adventure, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! Please remember to submit your counts and photos via the online forms here. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetlands — as well as reports from people who went out in perfect conditions, but did not find amphibians — as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season.

May 3, 2021

At this late point in the season, it’s difficult to know how many amphibians have yet to migrate or which Big Night will be the last. The week ahead looks wet, with rain a possibility for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. At some point — perhaps this week — the migration will taper off. The only way to really know is to keep checking when conditions look good, until numbers for migratory species (spotted salamanders, Jefferson salamanders, wood frogs, spring peepers, American toads, gray tree frogs) dwindle and/or the majority of the movement is headed away from the wetlands. Non-migratory species (green frogs, pickerel frogs, bullfrogs, newts) will be out and about on wet nights all summer long, and so aren’t a good gauge of migration yet to come.

If you’re still awake when tonight’s rain moves through and you’re up for the adventure, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! Please remember to submit your counts and photos via the online forms here. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetlands — as well as reports from people who went out in perfect conditions, but did not find amphibians — as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season.

April 29, 2021

Counts are still coming in, but most sites that have reported for both Wednesday and Thursday nights so far show that, despite conditions being far better for amphibians last night, it was a smaller night than the one before. It may be that many of the critters have gotten where they want to go for the time being. Those headed to their wetlands (spring peepers, gray tree frogs, American toads) will need some time there to court and lay eggs before migrating away. Those headed back to the woods (spotted salamanders, wood frogs) are settling into and under the forest floor for the rest of the year.

What does that mean for tonight? Good question! If tonight’s showers materialize, some stragglers will very likely be out and about. However, with chillier temperatures following two nights of significant movement, tonight could be a quieter one out on the roads.

If it’s wet after nightfall and you’re up for a third night of salamandering, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! Please remember to submit your counts and photos via the online forms here. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetlands — as well as reports from people who went out in perfect conditions, but did not find amphibians — as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season.

April 29, 2021

Last night was a bona fide Big Night, with warm temperatures spurring a diversity of species to action throughout the region! (Counts are still rolling in, but we’ll post a full report here as soon as it’s ready.) Steady afternoon-into-evening rain looks even more certain for tonight. At this late point in the season, it’s difficult to know how many amphibians have yet to migrate or which Big Night will be the last — but, given the near-perfect conditions predicted for this evening, it does seem likely that the migration could continue tonight.

If the forecast holds and it’s wet after nightfall, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! Please remember to submit your counts and photos via the online forms here. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetlands — as well as reports from people who went out in perfect conditions, but did not find amphibians — as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season.

The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will be closed to vehicles tonight, from George Street to the southwest corner of Robin Hood Park, as indicated by the red bars on this map. Critter counts and spot pattern photographs will continue at this site − in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the road closures. You can find more information on the North Lincoln Street amphibian detours here.

April 28, 2021

Update at 5 p.m.: The initial forecast of 80% chance of rain through the night has now turned into a 50% chance of rain only through 8:30 p.m. or so. Any wet weather will likely spur amphibian movement, but rain now seems a little less certain. Warm rain is still forecast for tomorrow night, so any critters who don’t migrate tonight could make their move then. These could be the last Big Nights of the spring.

If it’s wet after nightfall, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing! If you do, we’d love to hear what you find out there. Please submit your counts and photos via the online forms here. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetlands — as well as reports from people who went out in perfect conditions, but did not find amphibians — as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season.

The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will be closed to vehicles tonight, from George Street to the southwest corner of Robin Hood Park, as indicated by the red bars on this map. Critter counts and spot pattern photographs will continue at this site − in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the road closures. You can find more information on the North Lincoln Street amphibian detours here.

April 26, 2021

We are keeping close watch on Wednesday and Thursday! After such a long period of salamander-unfriendly weather, the next warm evening rains could spur a significant migration away from the breeding pools, as well as the appearance of warm-weather species like toads and gray tree frogs. The first rain will likely see the biggest movement, but some stragglers could be out and about on subsequent nights too, if the weather remains favorable. These could be some of the last Big Nights of this season.

As we’ve seen this season, lots could change between now and then. Stay tuned…

April 24, 2021

The current forecast has this weekend’s rain limited to the daylight hours on Sunday. Unless that timing changes, our next best chance for a migration is Wednesday, when afternoon thunderstorms could give way to early evening showers. With evening temperatures in the 50s, wet weather that night could prompt a concentrated migration away from the breeding pools, as well as the appearance of warm-weather species like toads and gray tree frogs. Of course, lots could change between now and then. Stay tuned!

April 22, 2021

Last night got colder — and, in some places, drier — than predicted rather quickly. Some cold-hardy critters might have made their move on wet roads, but significant amphibian movement was unlikely. Our next best chance is the weekend. Although the weekend rain is currently forecast for very late night Saturday into Sunday, ending by sunset, the timing could well shift into something both frog-friendly and volunteer-friendly. Stay tuned!

April 21, 2021

Afternoon thunderstorms are expected to settle into scattered showers around 6 p.m. Current forecasts show a 40% chance of rain just before sunset, ending shortly thereafter. If the ground is wet after dark, amphibians could be on the move in places where the temperature lingers above 40. Any movement is likely to be short-lived, as the ground dries and mercury dips into the 30s. We’re also keeping close watch on Saturday and Sunday, when heavy rain could prompt a true Big Night — perhaps the last of the season. It’s too soon to say for sure, but right now the weekend forecast looks promising.

Small changes in timing or temperature could make a big difference tonight, so keep close watch on your local conditions! As always, if conditions look good and you decide to head out in search of salamanders, we’d love to know what you find out there. We’re especially interested in hearing what percentage of amphibians were heading away from their breeding wetland, as this helps us gauge how close we are to the end of the migration season. Please submit your counts and photos via the online forms here.

April 19, 2021

Salamander season may be starting to wind down, but a concentrated migration away from breeding wetlands is still likely, especially in places that were too cold for amphibians last Thursday. We’re keeping an eye on Wednesday and Sunday — both of which have potential for evening rain. Stay tuned!

April 16, 2021

In most places, yesterday’s temperatures were just too cold for amphibians — but at a few sites, a day of drenching rain spurred salamanders to action, even when temperatures dropped into the 30s and snowflakes began to fall! We’ll post a full field report as soon as have the counts tallied, but it’s worthwhile to note that the majority of amphibians out and about last night were leaving their breeding wetlands, courtship and egg laying done for the year — a sign that salamander season may be starting to wind down.

Cold rain and snow is expected to continue tonight, but without the advantage of daytime soaking rain and starting temperatures above 40, we don’t expect there to be much amphibian activity. Our four-legged friends are likely hunkered down, waiting for warmer weather. Stay tuned!

April 15, 2021

Tonight’s forecast is wild! Rain seems certain, but frog-friendly temperatures are not, and there’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10 p.m. onwards. Early in the evening, amphibians could be on the move in places where temperatures remain above 40, but they’ll start to hunker down once the mercury dips into the 30s. In higher-elevation towns like Harrisville, Nelson, and Hancock, that temperature drop could happen before or right at sunset, so amphibian movement could be minimal. At lower-elevation sites like Keene, we could see a couple of hours of concentrated migration — likely away from the breeding wetlands — before the wintry mix sets in.

In short, it’s really hard to know what to expect. Small changes in elevation or temperature could make a big difference, so keep close watch on your local conditions! As always, if conditions look good and you decide to brave the rain, we’d love to hear what you find out there. Please submit your counts and photos via the online forms here.

Note: The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will not be closed to vehicles tonight, so if you venture out to that crossing, reflective vests, bright lights, and staying alert to traffic are absolute musts.

April 13, 2021

Thursday is our next chance for significant precipitation, but the forecast is looking a little….wild, with the potential for significant overnight snowfall in higher-elevation areas. Thursday’s afternoon-into-evening rain could spur a flurry of amphibian movement, but it’ll likely die down when temperatures drop below 40° — currently predicted to happen between 9 and 10 p.m. in Keene. Temperature and timing will both be important factors, and they could vary significantly from site to site — and with two days to go, the forecast could change plenty between now and then. Stay tuned!

April 11, 2021

As of 5 p.m., the forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers, starting after midnight. If that happens, wood frogs and Jefferson salamanders and some spotted salamanders could take the opportunity to leave their breeding wetlands, their courtship and egg laying done for the year. Other spotted salamanders may still be heading in to the pools.

If showers do materialize you’re still awake when it happens, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing. If you do, we’d love to hear what you find out there. Please submit your counts and photos via the online forms here.

April 10, 2021

Amphibian egg masses are appearing in vernal pools throughout the region, so the next rainy night could see migrations in both directions — some leaving their breeding wetlands, their courtship and egg laying done for the year, with others still heading into the pools.

After this long, dry spell, amphibians will be on the move whenever wet weather next arrives. The first showers will likely spur the biggest movement, but amphibians could be afoot whenever the ground is wet after dark. There is currently a 30% chance of showers on Sunday night. If and where they arrive, we could see a migration. Conditions will likely vary widely from site to site, so keep an eye on your local weather — and check back tomorrow for the most up-to-date predictions!

April 8, 2021

Wood frog egg masses have appeared in vernal pools throughout the region and, in places where they exist, Jefferson salamander eggs, too. Spotted salamander eggs are still scarce, but have started to pop up over the last few days. The next rainy night could see migrations in both directions — wood frogs, Jefferson salamanders, and spring peepers leaving their breeding wetlands, and spotted salamanders, American toads, and gray tree frogs still heading in.

After this long, dry spell, amphibians will be on the move whenever wet weather next arrives — and we seem to be heading into one of those wishy-washy weeks, where there’s a 30-50% chance of rain in the forecast at any given moment. These sort of forecasts make predictions difficult, and conditions will likely vary widely from site to site, so keep an eye on your local weather. The first showers will likely spur the biggest movement, but amphibians could be afoot whenever the ground is wet after dark. Sunday looks quite promising, but a lot can change in a few days. Stay tuned!

April 1, 2021

In most places, the rain didn’t arrive until midnight or later last night, 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. The first wood frog egg masses of the season were also observed in Keene last night, with both peepers and wood frogs in full chorus.

We’re entering a bit of a dry spell now, which could make for a concentrated migration away from the pools whenever nighttime rain pops back into the forecast. We’ll keep you posted!

March 31, 2021

Rain and temperatures in the 40s and even 50s seem certain tonight — and with it amphibian movement! There’s just one catch: current forecasts show the rain starting after 9 or 10 p.m. and amphibian activity often takes a little while to get going after the first raindrops. So, it could be another fairly late-night migration.

If you’re still awake when the rain begins, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head out to your nearest crossing shortly after the rain starts — whenever it might be. If you do, we’d love to hear what you find out there. Please submit your counts and photos via the online forms here.

The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will be closed to vehicles tonight, from George Street to the southwest corner of Robin Hood Park, as indicated by the red bars on this map. Critter counts and spot pattern photographs will continue at this site − in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the road closures. You can find more information on the North Lincoln Street amphibian detours here.

March 29, 2021

Counts are still trickling in but depending on where you were, last night was either a Big Night, Medium Night, or Small Night! Temperatures were lower than initially predicted, which made all the difference. We’ll post a full report here as soon as it’s ready. In terms of our next migration, right now Wednesday is looking very promising, especially for places where the migration hasn’t yet begun in earnest due to colder temperatures or frozen ground — but a lot can change in two days, so stay tuned!

March 28, 2021

Wood frogs and spring peepers are chorusing throughout the region — indicating a successful migration late last week — but there is likely more movement to come, and conditions look good for tonight! Wednesday evening also looks promising, though it’s too soon to know for sure.

If it’s still raining and in the 40s after dark tonight, don your reflective vest and flashlight, and head to your nearest crossing. If you do, we’d love to know what you find.

There’s a wind advisory this evening, so stay alert for tree branches and other flying debris — and if the wind gusts start to feel unsafe, head home for the night. Your safety comes first.

The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will be closed to vehicles tonight, from George Street to the southwest corner of Robin Hood Park, as indicated by the red bars on this map. Critter counts and spot pattern photographs will continue at this site − in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the road closures. You can find more information on the North Lincoln Street amphibian detours here.

March 27, 2021

The first choruses of wood frogs and spring peepers of the season have been reported in Keene, Harrisville, Peterborough, and likely other towns as well — indicating a successful frog migration on Wednesday and late Thursday night! Tomorrow still looks promising for a continuation of the migration — and perhaps the first large-scale appearance of spotted salamanders — though if the timing of the rain shifts by just a few hours, it could conclude before dark. Stay tuned…

March 26, 2021

Amphibians were afoot in the wee hours of the morning today, and at least one team of Crossing Brigadiers got up before sunset to help a few frogs on their way! Today’s rain isn’t expected to continue after sunset, but the balmy temperatures and high humidity could prompt some amphibians to make their move at sites where the ground is still damp after dark. Winds are expected to increase and humidity to decrease as the days wears on, so we don’t necessarily expect a Big Night — but if you’re eager and prepared for being on the road, it can’t hurt to check out your nearest crossing site if the ground’s still wet after sunset. If you do, we’d love to know what you find. Our next best chance for rain after dark is Sunday, though the timing is still a bit uncertain. Stay tuned!

March 25, 2021

Rain arrived in Keene shortly after 9 p.m. last night, and with it came frogs — at least at low-elevation sites where the ground has well-thawed! Check out the field report here. (High-elevation spots like Nelson are still waiting.) The migration will likely continue in the wee hours tonight, but even the most intrepid Crossing Brigadiers probably won’t be awake to see it, as the rain isn’t predicted to arrive until well after midnight. This is sad news for us, but great news for the frogs, who will have far fewer cars to contend with. Right now, our next best chance of early evening rain is Sunday. Stay tuned!

March 24, 2021

Rain seems likely tonight — and with it the first amphibian migrations of the season at sites where the ground is bare! There’s just one catch: current forecasts show the rain starting at 9 p.m. and amphibian activity often takes a little while to get going after the first raindrops. So, it could be a fairly late-night migration. Tomorrow night looks promising as well, but even later, as tomorrow’s rain isn’t forecast to arrive until well after midnight.

If you’re a night owl, grab your reflective vest and flashlight and head on out shortly after the rain starts — whenever it might be. If you do, we’d love to hear what you find out there. (You can submit your counts and photos here.) If the late start isn’t your cup of tea, hang tight, as there will be more migrations to come!

One more detail: We’re experimenting with using Google Groups as a way for volunteers who are interested in specific crossing sites to be in touch with one another for migration-night planning, but we’re still getting the logistical details worked out for these site-specific lists and won’t have them all ready for tonight’s migration. If you’re planning to head out tonight, just pick the site that works best for you — and if you haven’t yet signed up for a list and want to do that, there’s still time. You can sign up here.

The North Lincoln Street crossing site in Keene will be closed to vehicles tonight, from George Street to the southwest corner of Robin Hood Park, as indicated by the red bars on this map. Critter counts and spot pattern photographs will continue at this site − in part so we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the road closures. You can find more information on the North Lincoln Street amphibian detours here.

March 19, 2021

A few intrepid Crossing Brigadiers visited North Lincoln Street in Keene in last night’s rain. Temperatures were below 40° after dark and, with the exception of a few early-adopter wood frogs across town at another low-elevation site, amphibians were not afoot. Next week’s warming trend looks quiet promising. Stay tuned!

March 18, 2021

Rain seems certain at sunset. Now, the big questions are whether the ground has thawed enough to spur amphibians to action, and whether it’ll stay warm enough for long enough. Most forecasts for the Monadnock Region have tonight’s temperature dipping into the high 30s by 8 p.m. While some eager, cold-hardy wood frogs might make their move in 39° rains at sites with bare ground, others will likely wait for warmer rain.

So, the first migration of the year is possible at low-elevation sites like North Lincoln Street in Keene and Matthews Road in Swanzey — where the snow cover is gone and the soil has thawed to a depth of a few inches or more — but amphibian movement may be limited to the window of time between sunset (when temperatures are still hovering in the low 40s) and 8:30 p.m. or so, when the chill settles in. At higher-elevation sites (Nelson, Harrisville, and Hancock, for instance), the ground is still too frozen.

Tonight also happens to the be the night of our Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteer training. If you have not yet been trained, I’d encourage you to attend tonight’s workshop. If you are a returning volunteer who knows the Big Night ropes and you live near a crossing site with bare ground, put fresh batteries in your flashlight, don your reflective vest, and head out to see if amphibians are afoot. Before you go, be sure to check out what’s new with the Crossing Brigades in 2021, and review these helpful reminders for Big Nights. If you do go out, we’d love to hear what you find out there — even if it’s nothing! You can submit your counts and photos here.

March 16, 2021

Rain has been blinking on and off in Thursday’s forecast for the last few days. If it does rain after dark, Thursday could be our first migration of the season! 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.

Low-elevation sites like North Lincoln Street in Keene and Matthews Road in Swanzey — where the snow cover is gone and thawed earth is starting to emerge from the otherwise-frozen forest floor — could be an exception.

This is early for a migration, so we’re still getting everything in order for this year’s salamander season. (For instance, our training for new volunteers is taking place on Thursday night, just as the frogs might be starting to move!) However, if you’ve been trained as a Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteer in the past, live near North Lincoln Street or another crossing site with thawed ground, and are itching to see the first frogs of 2021, 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. We’d love to hear what you find out there. (Be sure to check out what’s new with the Crossing Brigades in 2021, and to submit your counts and photos here.)

Contact Us

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