Every year, I wait for the first warm rainy night in April, excited as a kid anticipating Santa Claus. That’s because this is the night of the annual salamander migration. Under the cover of rainy darkness, salamanders come out of the forest en masse and crawl to wetlands and small ponds to breed. It’s the one night of the year when I get to see these ancient creatures doing what they have done for millions of years.
I recruit a team of hardy souls and go to a spot where a road bisects woods and wetland. Salamanders have no choice but to cross. The traffic is light, but even a few cars can cause a lot of carnage. Flashlights in hand, we patrol the road, look for small waggling objects, and deliver them quickly to the other side. We identify and count the species we see— Jefferson, spotted, four-toed, red-backed, plus spring peepers and wood frogs. On a good night, we may find 20 or more in an hour.
Except this year… the only salamanders I get to see are the ones on this page. That’s because there have been no steady early evening rains, only rain after midnight (and I’m not crazy enough to trade sleep for rain and amphibians). Salamanders have crossed into a new season, and I’ll have to wait a whole year to see them again.
Beautiful post Jean. Thanks for sharing this great night.
My kids were some of those hearty souls in the past and still talk about the memory!
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Yeah Michelle! I always loved having kids come out in the rain at night! I’m putting you back on my call list!
This is amazing, I can’t imagine how exciting it’d be to see these elusive creatures in the flesh. I’m sorry you missed it this year, hopefully you’ll make up for it next year.
Thanks! It’s raining again today and I may poke around tonight if it continues. But, yes! This is a really fun thing to do…and to draw!