Thursday, 26 March 2015

Salamander Nights!

When the first full day of rains come in March its time for the Salamanders to come out of hibernation and head for temporary vernal pools where they will breed. This first night of rains is called the "Big Night" by herpetologists. So it didn't rain heavy all day but it was pretty wet so we thought it could possibly be the "Big Night". Myself and Gina drove a back road just a few hundred metres from the house at about 8pm and over the next two and a half hours we picked up and moved off the road about 30 Spotted Salamanders, 20 Four-toed Salamanders, 1 Red-backed Salamander, 50 Wood Frogs and 2 Spring Peepers. Unfortunately we saw just as many amphibians squashed by cars as we actually saved. We will see if any more emerge tomorrow.  

Great looking Spotted Salamanders
These tiny Four-toed Salamanders were hard to spot and difficult to pick up and move
This Red-backed Salamander doesn't look very red !
One of the lucky Wood Frogs we saved from being squashed
You can just about make out the X mark on the back of this tiny Spring Peeper

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Snaking !!!

The first few sunny days of the year and we decided to see if there were any Adders about. We tried Dartmoor National Park at a favourite site but despite searching under a thousand gorse bushes we found nothing. Then we decided to try our faithful spot in Stover Park and after searching under every bush we eventually found a perfect looking Adder sunning itself in a small open patch amongst the gorse. It sat there for 5 minutes before slithering off into the undergrowth. We also saw our first Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies of the year.
Nice Adder! (Vipera berus)