“Big Night” Amphibian Migration Saturday?

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

With the snow pack sat­u­rat­ed on Ashokan Water­shed moun­tain­sides, we may be primed for a snowmelt event that fills small wood­land pools and chan­nels. Small wood­land pools are prime habi­tat for amphib­ian breed­ing. In ear­ly spring, after the ground has start­ed to thaw, species like spot­ted sala­man­der and wood frog emerge from under­ground win­ter shel­ters in the for­est and walk over­land to breed­ing pools. Accord­ing to the NYSDEC Hud­son Riv­er Estu­ary Pro­gram, in our region, this migra­tion occurs on rainy nights when the night air tem­per­a­ture is above 40F. When these con­di­tions align just so, there can be explo­sive (“big night”) migra­tions, with hun­dreds of amphib­ians on the move. Cur­rent­ly, the Sat­ur­day fore­cast includes rain dur­ing the day and into the evening, with tem­per­a­tures stay­ing above 40F after nightfall.

Dri­vers are encour­aged to pro­ceed with cau­tion or avoid trav­el on the first warm, rainy evenings of the sea­son. Amphib­ians come out after night­fall and are slow mov­ing; mor­tal­i­ty can be high even on low-traf­fic roads. You can help by telling the NYSDEC when and where you see migra­tions of wood­land pool amphib­ians. To learn more, vis­it DEC’s Amphib­ian Migra­tion and Road Cross­ings web­page, which includes safe­ty infor­ma­tion for vol­un­teers and an amphib­ian iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guide.