appendage

Comparing appendages.

On warm, wet nights from mid-March to mid-April frogs and salamanders move from their wintering sites on high ground to wetlands to mate and lay eggs. Their route to the nearest vernal pool sometimes takes them across a road.

This is the thirteenth spring that Otter Creek Audubon and the Salisbury Conservation Commission will patrol an amphibian crossing site in Salisbury. Across Vermont, groups of concerned individuals attempt to alter amphibians’ lethal odds by moving them off the road during nights of significant movement. At the most dangerous crossings they may suffer 50 percent mortality, but this crossing has very little traffic. This site retains not only large numbers of amphibians but also remarkable species diversity: four salamander and three frog species. On a big night we’ll move more than a thousand amphibians in a two-hour period. The site affords all who participate an opportunity to experience this remarkable natural phenomenon at first hand, since traffic is infrequent and slow.

You can witness and help perpetuate this migration if you sign up for the 2016 amphibian email alert. You’ll receive an email alert on the morning of a projected big night and then a confirming email at about 6 pm. Movement starts around 8:30 pm and can run for several hours. Volunteers may arrive and leave when they wish and are responsible for their own safety and the safety of others in their group. Upon arrival OCAS provides you with species identification tips and a reminder of appropriate behavior. With your help we’ll record the numbers of each species we move for the first two hours. Sign up at kinglet@together.net even if you were on the list in another year.

– Warren King

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