Night Excursion to Vernal Pool Clifton, VA

This time of year the sounds of peepers are everywhere. Tonight I visited a vernal pool next to the southern side of the rail road trax located at the western edge of town. The pool was teaming with spring peepers and the sound of their calls deafening.  Their small size made them very difficult to spot but with patience and persistance I was eventually rewarded with a single sighting of an indivicual tucked away under some “swamp grass”   


Above small frog captured, and released unharmed, from vernal pool where spring peepers were calling.

On my way home down Chapel street I could hear the sound of toads calling from a nearby drainage ditch. The ditch is part of a sewr line separating one of the properties in town and the fire station. Tonight there was water slowly flowing through although normaly it’s dry.  Water was pretty foul smeling too but that didnt deter a pair of male american toads from wrestling around in the nasty water. At one point one tried to amplex with the other.


Wood Frog and Spotted Salamanders.

woodfrog program (2)

Thats me looking into a vernal pool where wood frogs were seen just a few days earlier.

woodfrog program (12)

Spotted Salamander emerging from vernal pool (above)

woodfrog program (9)

Red back Salamanders (above) woodfrog program (6)

Spotted Salamander (above)

Green Frog (below)

woodfrog program (4)Tonight we headed out to Western Fairfax County along the rte 28 corridor in search of wood frogs and spotted salamanders. These two sensitive amphibian species are our early spring arrivals to the vernal pools created by rain fall and snow melt. Tonight we werent as lucky to see the wood frogs but were able to find spotted salamanders and a two other amphibian species-a red back salamander and green frog. Over all a successful herp night out.

Snakes are out tonight

Driving home on Neuman Road, a distance of about 2 miles, (around 8:00pm) I counted 5 snakes. Two were crossing the road and two were already killed by cars and one was lying in the middle of the road when I past by but I was too late to make a rescue before another car behind me killed it Most appeared to be black rat snakes except for one which may have been a large garter snake.

Walking Big rocky Run at Night

Tonight Mike Gregory and I conducted a Night time Creek Walk through Big Rocky Run.  The program was intended to give families a chance to explore, with their kids, a local stream and the animals that live there.     

Mike found this eastern snapping turtle lurking in a shallow pool along the stream. Overall we had a great program. Most of the people got into the stream with us.  In fact the majority of the snakes we saw were spotted by our guests but the job of catching them was left to us.


Below: Northern Water Snake we encountered 5 of them on this trip. Seems like I am a magnet for these animals.