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Vernal Pool Migration

My first ever blog post follows my annual trip to see the salamanders migrate across the road to vernal pools.

Easter Sunday was an unusually warm April day (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit), and the hot winds brought with them an early evening rain storm. I believe I visited the vernal pools two years ago around April 15th on a wet, warm night such as tonight to see the spotted salamander migration. We (my dad and I) decided to check the street that runs in between two major vernal pools in our town for activity. Before leaving the house we saw a rather large American toad in the driveway, so we moved him into the grass where he would be more safe from cars. IMG_0369

As we approached the pools, the number of frogs in the road increased immensely. Dad avoided hitting them by driving in the middle of the road, but occasionally I had to get out of the car and persuade them to safety. For frogs and toads, I saw a pair of mating toads and a few wood frogs (since we didn’t stop to check out all of them), but most exciting was the spring peepers, who we have just started to hear chiming since the winter thaw. IMG_0378

Finally, we approached the vernal pools, which sat at either side of the road in a low valley-like area. The first salamander of the night was a very exciting find – what I believe is a Jefferson Salamander and Blue Spotted Salamander hybrid. The two species are known for interbreeding where their regions overlap.

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We also found many spotted salamanders, who tend to be a bit slower and stand in the middle of the road. Therefore, I saw a few dead salamanders that had been hit by cars, and one that had been hit but was still alive. I tried helping as many across the road as I could, but I think it would be helpful for my town to install signs to alert drivers of the salamanders when they are due to migrate, so they would at least be able to keep an eye out for the vulnerable creatures.

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I am excited to be starting my very own nature blog, and I would love feedback, help identifying creatures, and other information!

 

 

 

Morel Mushroom Haul

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Sorry for the delay between my posts, I’ve just moved back home from school and I’m getting comfortable after the transition period.

My mom was excited to show me these Morel Mushrooms which she found in our yard, growing in old mulch under a winterberry tree. We have yet to eat them because truthfully, we have a bit of fear associated with mis-identification of these mushrooms (from the research we gathered from the internet and books, the False Morel can cause digestive distress and possibly death if consumed). I am fairly certain that these are Common Morel Mushrooms (Marcella esculenta) because of their honey-comb textured caps, tan coloring, and hollow stems which are attached to the caps.

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If any of my readers could offer their opinions regarding the identity of these morel mushrooms, it would be greatly appreciated!!