The yellow spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) moves from underground to vernal ponds in late March early April in order to mate…
While it was not THE Big Night, it was a big night in my mind! These salamanders are amazing and they are also endangered which is why people help them across roads in the spring.
Monday night, April 4, we received an email from Friends of Thatcher organizer extraordinaire, Bert Shou to meet at 7:30pm in the Hop Field parking lot to look for these little guys crossing the road and give them a hand across the macadam.
It was about 42F. It was raining. We dressed warmly and had boots on our feet. Gloves and a bucket and a safety vest provided. Flashlights, too. I was impressed that many kids were there with families including a girl scout troup earning an environmental badge. Just amazing to see the interest from about fifteen or so hearty souls.
Walking back and forth from Yellow Rocks picnic site to the caretakers cabin, we looked for the salamanders guided by biologist Doug Fraser who teaches at Siena College. He taught us some different facts about these guys and took a tally of the 40 or so our group helped over the road. Their yellow spots are an individual signature... each one is different!
Want to learn more? Check out the Encyclopedia of Life entry on these guys:
and join the Friends of Thatcher next year: