Clifton Vernal Pool “Phibs”

Active Vernal Pool. Peepers, Wood Frogs, American Toads
Watch this video on YouTube.

Went out tonight to visit the vernal pools near my house in Clifton. Above, although not the best quality video, are the voices of several species of male frogs all making their voices heard in order to attract a mate. In this video you can hear the deafening sound of spring peeprers dominating all other frog calls. In a close second are American Toads, followed by an occaisional wood and green frog.

Also seen in this video are the different species mentioned above. In one instance you can see a pair of spring peepers in amplexus. In another nearby pool I could see pickerel frogs a green and what might have been a bull frog but could not make a 100% positive id on the bull. I did howver catch a bull later tonight in a small branch just behind my hosue and saw several green frogs in some drainage ditches down the street along Chapel near the fire hall. Unfortunately areas where the pools and wet areas are near the roads are the signs of many frogs that were lured to their death as they lay in the roads perhaps attracted by the calls or for absorbing some of the heat from the black top. By mid morning tomorrow many of the fatalities will have been consumed by foxes and other mammals and by the numerous crows that inhabit our area.

Vernal Pool Phibs 2
Watch this video on YouTube.

Jefferson Salamander Excursion Elizabeth Furnace 3/3/2012

Well we had a great turnout fot for the this trip to Elizabeth Furnace. However conditions were not the best for finding Jefferesons and for that matter Spots either. There had been quite a bit of rain the days before and the pools were “murked” up. Mike was able to capture a nice Jefferson and Spot almost immediately but after that it was mostly spots some Marbled Sal larva and a wood frog. In years past we have seen quite a bit of Jeffersons but the combination of arriving late in the season (3/3/2012) thereby missing the window of opportunity to see a mass breeding ritual and the heavy rains limited our sightings. No complaints here just wish we could have seen more Jeffs.

We did get to see a red bat (photo by Mike) and get some close up photos of it as it periodically rested on a tree next to Passage Creek.

Road Herping Night. Feb 29,2012

Weather conditions perfect for late winter night time road herping and vernal pool watch. The roads were full of dead phibs. Wood Frgos, Toads, Peepers, and some spotted sals were among the casualties due to cars. On the bright side I we were able to save a number and relocate them in the direction of the known pools we assumed they were headed for to breed.

The pools were quite active. Male wood frogs were extremely vocal and were not shy of our presence. Some were amplexing some trying too. Spotted salamanders could be seen lurking on the bottom and occasionally surfacing for a breath. In some pools we could hear spriong peepers too.

Spotted Salamander Breeding Challenges (photo courtesy Rad Moncure)

This photo was submitted by a Chantilly Local Rad Moncure. Rad had been cruising the roads one rainy late winter night nearly 10 years ago in an area known as Balmoral when he stumbled upon what appeared to be a large number of “worms” migrating across a road. Stopping his truck to investigate Rad quickly discovered that the “worms” were actually spotted salamanders were attempting to get to a nearby vernal pool en masse to breed. Realizing that the animals would become casualties of cars he gathered up as many as he could and helped them across the road in the direction they were migrating. Way to go Rad!!!