Thursday, March 17, 2011

The traditional order of the spring is as follows: tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum - maybe in the winter, but we'll count 'em), then spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) together with wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). Then the reptiles start to show up. Spotted (Clemmys guttata) and some other turtles like painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) start basking even in very cold weather, and then we start seeing the garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), followed by basically everything else in a rush from mid April through May.

I haven't found any spotted turtles quite yet, and on a spotted turtle trip to our favorite marsh, this baby water snake (Nerodia sipedon) skipped the usual order, though I think the springhouse spillway we found it in (entwined with watercress roots) may have been where it spent the winter.

Here's another of the springhouse spillway regulars, a pickerel frog (Rana palustris).
Even a strike-out trip (in spotted turtle terms) is still better than almost anything else I could be doing, and even a brown, still-dead-vegetation marsh is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

I'll wind up with a video that I took as an excuse to record the sound of a spring peeper chorus. I didn't see any, but they were all around me.