Weather at Bedford, Hanscom Field, MA - via NOAA's National Weather Service

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Nighttime

I went for a walk to some nearby vernal pools this evening, looking for salamanders and/or wood frogs, which migrate from their upland winter homes on warm rainy spring nights. They head back to their natal ponds to breed and begin the next generation. This was my first time out trying to do this, and I will admit that I saw neither wood frogs nor salamanders of any sort. Maybe it was a little too cold this evening, since it was just 40ºF by my thermometer when I left my house, and it usually needs to be that or warmer. Maybe I just didn't know where to look - I'll have to ask around to see if anyone else has seen migrating amphibians in that area.
But I did get to hear a wonderful chorus of spring peepers in the wetland (and if you click on that link, you can get to a recording of what they sound like). As long as I can remember, the sound of spring peepers has been one of my springtime markers. Unlike wood frogs and some salamanders, peepers do not need vernal pools to reproduce, but they do need water and will use vernal pools. The lack of fish in such water bodies is an advantage to these small frogs, as fish will prey on peepers.
Cool (literal) fact about wood frogs: they freeze solid in the winter, and thaw out when spring comes. How's that for energy conservation?!

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