Amphibian Migration Alert

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

In the spring 2015 edition of Esopus Creek News we featured frogs and toads that use stream corridors of the Ashokan Watershed. Frogs and salamanders are set to migrate to their breeding pools in wooded and wet areas on the next warm, rainy night. Here is more information about what to expect from the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University:

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How suddenly they awake! Yesterday, as it were, asleep and dormant, today as lively as ever they are. The awakening of the leafy woodland pools.
– Henry David Thoreau

There seems little doubt that after the record-breaking warm temperatures this week, the next rainy night will entice wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and Jefferson-blue spotted salamanders out from their overwintering sites to woodland pools for breeding. And if the forecast holds, it looks like tonight may indeed be a “Big Night!”

You may recall that in some past years, it’s been more difficult to predict the migration. We’ve had unusually dry seasons with delayed rainfall, or considerable variability in ice and snow cover in different parts of the estuary watershed. (Last year this time, most of the pools were still frozen!) When suitable conditions aren’t quite right, we often observe a more diffuse migration, with several “small” or “medium” migration nights, or timing differences in the southern and northern limits of the watershed.

But after this unusual warm spell, it seems likely that migrations will occur throughout the region with the next nighttime rain. According to the National Weather Service, there was a record high temperature of 81F set in Albany yesterday, 82F in Poughkeepsie, and 77F in Central Park. If the rain starts this afternoon, and continues after darkness and temperatures remain above 40F, we should see lots of migration activity. Very exciting!

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