GrosbeakAmphibian Monitoring Program - News from 2007 - 2015

4/7/15 - More training resources have now been added! We now have over 50 minutes of videos uploaded and more links to a few additional resources are on the way!

4/3/15 - The first of the training videos have been posted online, and amphibian migration is just beginning in Vermont. Conditions in the Champlain Valley are primed for movement and snow is melting fast in central Vermont. The next warm, rainy night should result in large movements in the Champlain Valley. Stay tuned for more videos and the latest predictions on when amphibians will be moving.

3/30/15 - With the 2015 crossing season right around the corner, it's time to get ready for amphibians! Within the next week, we will be rolling out a series of training videos. Whether you are a seasoned volunteer or looking to get involved for the first time, these videos should be a helpful resource. We've also added new crossing sites to our archive, including sites in Elmore, Fayston, Randolph, South Burlington, Waitsfield, and Warren.

6/18/14 - Our 2014 season year-end report is now posted at the NBNC blog.

3/1/14 - Our 2014 training sessions have been announced and are now posted here (see the column on the right).

4/11/13 - Lots of amphibians have been active this week, with reports (collated by Jim Andrews) coming from Bridport, Salisbury, Shelburne Pond, Cambridge, Fairfax, Richmond, Huntington, Monkton, Calais, and Duxbury.  There have also been some recent blog entries about amphibians... check out these articles for deeper insights as well as stunning images:

Amphibian Monitoring & Education
Salamanders and the Midnight Rain

3/12/13 - Some minor amphibian movement occured in the warmest pockets of the Champlain Valley last night marking the first active amphibians in Vermont this year! See a photo of a Wood Frog taken in Essex at the NBNC Blog.

2/18/13 - Most of our news has moved to the NBNC Blog. To see old news posts, visit the old news page. New training dates were added for this spring (see the upper-right corner of this page).

5/16/11
This spring's amphibian migration proved to be a spectacular one, with the highest numbers of salamanders ever recorded by our program. We also set a record for the most data returned in a season and documented new species in towns where they were never known to exist previously. Our partnership with Friends of the Mad River resulted in new records for Spotted Salamander and Pickerel Frog in Fayston, and a volunteer in Essex documented that town's first Blue-spotted/Jefferson hybrid. A special thanks to Abby Mihaly, a student at Orchard Valley who rallied her classmates to monitor a site in East Montpelier and has helped raise funds for the program. We appreciate everyone’s effort and support! A video of "congressing" Spotted Salamanders is available below, and for more photos from this year's migration, visit our nature blog at the NBNC blog.

 

4/25/11
Weather looks good the next two nights (see weather report on the right column at the top of the page). Also, amphibians have been getting good press lately, with a nice article in the Sunday Times Argus about the efforts of Abby Mihaly, a 6th-grade student at Orhcard Valley who has rallied her classmates to help monitor a crossing in East Montpelier (sorry, the Times Argus charges a fee to view this article online). Also, amphibian monitoring was featured on News Channel 3 (WCAX) last Friday evening. Click here to view the segment.

4/12/11
Yesterday's rains dicipated early resulting in only limited road crossings in central Vermont during the early evening hours. Also, many central Vermont sites still have extensive snow cover and have not yet received their first crossings. In some cases, sites with activity are extremely close to those without... for example, small numbers of Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders were observed on Brook Rd. in Middlesex last night, while just a mile away at the Zdon Rd. crossing, conditions were still too snowy.

The next chance for a big movement looks like Wednesday evening, with rain forecasted throughout the day. While many Champlain Valley sites have already seen their peaks, our central Vermont sites are just getting started. Keep in mind that throughout the warm season, amphibians can still be seen on roads during rainy nights so even if the bulk of vernal pool breeders have migrated in your area, there may still be other species on the roads.

frog4/11/11
Yesterday's rains and warm temperatures were just what our sleeping amphibians have been waiting for, and reports have been rolling in from around the state. While colder sites in the Champlain Valley were seeing their peak activity, even the warmest sites in central Vermont were just experiencing their first movements of amphibians and few frogs were heard singing. There are still many areas of central Vermont that are waiting for their first activity of the year, but if sufficient melting occurs at those sites over the course of the day and roads remain wet we could see widespread activity throughout the area this evening.

If you have to be driving, please watch the roads carefully for amphibians. For some photos from the activity on Pond Rd in Shelburne, visit the NBNC blog.

4/5/11Spring Peeper
With rain expected to dissipate into this evening, road conditions may or may not be wet enough to favor migrations in the Champlain Valley.  I've gotten word of movement in the south (Vernon) and throughout the Champlain Valley (Salisbury north to Grand Isle).  No reports of amphibians in central Vermont yet save a single account of a singing frog in South Woodbury. 

If roads remain wet and temperatures warm, more movement in the Champlain Valley can be expected.  The possibility remains that isolated movement will occur in central Vermont's warmer hollows but nothing widespread as the snow cover is still deep in most places.

More pictures from last night's crossing event in the Champlain Valley area on our blog: http://northbranchnaturecenter.blogspot.com/

4/4/11
CHAMPLAIN VALLEY FORECAST

The current forecast calls for a good, soaking rain this evening with temperatures in the low 40's.  With the chance of rain nearly 100% I have high confidence that amphibian movement will be substantial in parts of the Champlain Valley (despite many vernal pools still being partially/completely frozen).  Keep in mind that conditions vary from site-to-site and there still may be areas in the Champlain Valley where snow cover is substantial enough to limit amphibian movement. 

CENTRAL VERMONT FORECAST

In central Vermont, our snow should transition to rain, but with temperatures in the high 30's this evening and significant snow cover in most areas, amphibian movement (if there is any at all) will likely be extremely limited (warm, low elevation, steep south-facing slopes, etc.). 

3/18/11 - A few web updates occured today. Amphibian reports can now be submitted electronically using our new online data entry form. We've also updated the section of our site where we list previous crossing sites. All sites are now grouped by county, making them easier to browse. Stay tuned for other updates as we continue to improve our site.

2/28/11 - As we flip the pages in our calendars with the close of February, our eyes are greeted with those coveted words on the next page: "first day of spring"! Yes, spring is nearly here and amphibians will once again need your help. New training dates have been announced for the 2011 crossing season, and stay tuned for more updates.

8/19/10 - Please take a look at this naturenews article which highlights recent discoveries made about the association between algae and salamanders. According to the article, this discovery marks the first time that algae has been found to occur inside the cells of another vertebrate!

Spring Peeper4/9/10 - This has certainly been a good week for migrating amphibians. Some of the rains (such as last night) came in the wee hours of the night, while other evenings had wet conditions earlier allowing volunteers to monitor crossing sites throughout the state. Migration is well underway at this point, and volunteers should be aware that the next few rainy nights may be some of the last opportunities to catch migration at its peak. Thanks to all who have monitored already this season!

4/5/10 - As some have already seen, WCAX filmed a segment about amphibian migration during last week's training session here at the Nature Center. The weather forecast ended up being spot on, as this was the night that many amphibians (including the Spotted Salamander pictured below) began to migrate in Central Vermont and elsewhere throughout the state. The video has been posted online and can now be viewed at the WCAX website.

Spotted Salamander from March 30 20104/1/10 - The first major amphibian crossings in Central Vermont occurred on Tuesday,
March 30, and although it is very early in the season, there were some Wood Frogs, Spring Peeprs, and Spotted Salamanders present on the roadways around Middlesex as well as other areas around the state.

We also have several new crossing sites added to our "Previous Crossing Sites" page in the towns of Calais and Essex. Expect more crossing nights in the next few weeks and keep your eyes on the weather forecast!

3/29/10 - Tonight may be the first large movement of amphibians in Central Vermont this year.  While we've had some reports of activity in Central VT (Calais, Montpelier, Craftsbury) no major movements or breeding activity has been reported thus far.  It is still very early in the season, but if rains and warmer temperatures persist, expect there to be amphibians on the roads tonight.  If you choose to monitor a crossing site, data sheets can be printed from the "Resources" section on the right column of this page.

3/26/10 - A relatively mild winter has transitioned into a relatively mild spring. With record high temperatures last week, some extremely early amphibian movements have been reported throughout many parts of Vermont. While some significant movements occured the warmest locations, in and around the Champlain Valley, only limited movement was reported in Central Vermont, including some reports of active amphibians from Montpelier, Calais, and Craftsbury. Few singing frogs and no egg masses have been reported so far.

With cold seaping back into the region, no movement is expected through the weekend. Stay alert to the weather forecasts, as the next warm, rainy night could mark the start of major migrations here in Central Vermont.

2/18/10 - For the past five years, NBNC has trained volunteers throughout central Vermont (and beyond) to rescue salamanders and frogs as they cross busy roads on their annual migration. Our efforts will continue this year, although a new and ambitious project is underway and also needs your help. Vermont Center for Ecostudies, in partnership with Arrowwood Environmental, have embarked on a project to map vernal pools throughout Vermont in an effort to better understand and protect these fragile wetlands.

You can get involved in both of these great volunteer-driven projects by attending a training session for amphibian monitoring AND vernal pool mapping this spring. No registration necessary. All programs are free.

Spotted Salamander4/07/09 - This past Friday marked one of the first movements of the year in central Vermont and a continuation of movements throughout the state. Although it may be too cold the next few evenings, as soon as conditions are wet and over 40 F we expect migration to continue.

We've also had a barrage of media coverage this spring. Over 100 news outlets from Alaska to Florida, and beyond, have picked up an Associated Press story about the crossing site in New Haven, VT. I encourage everyone to check out the AP article and stay tuned for more coverage.

4/03/09 - Conditions tonight will be favorable for amphibian movement. Although large movements are waning in the Champlain Valley and other low-elevation sites, it may be the beginning of movements in other parts of the state. If you choose to monitor a site tonight, please be sure to record data and drive carefully to ensure the safety of our amphibians.  Data sheets, known crossing locations, X-ing signs, and other useful info can be found under the "Resources" section on the right column of this page. Thank you in advance, and good luck on the roads!

3/26/09 - Based on the latest weather forecast, conditions look favorable for amphibian migration tonight in the Champlain Valley, parts of southern Vermont, and other sites with sufficient snow melt. Please drive carefully if you must be on the road.

If you choose to monitor a site, please take extreme care to ensure you don't cause more road mortality than you prevent.  Also be sure to record your data.  Data forms are available for download from the "Resources" section in the right column of this page.

3/25/09 - Amphibians migration is just weeks (or in some places, days) away, and the 2009 trainings begin tonight. This spring also marks the start of a project to map all of the Vernal Pools in the state. Here is an excerpt from an appeal for volunteers by Michael Lew-Smith, one of the project leaders:

This is a three-four year project beginning this year in the northern tier of the state (Lamoille and Franklin counties and the Northeast Kingdom).  As part of this process we are looking for volunteers to help identify and assess these sites in the field...We will be conducting training workshops throughout the study area (this year the northern 1/3 of the state).  At the training workshop, you will learn how to identify vernal pools and the critters that live in them, how to navigate to these sites with GPS and how to collect the necessary data...  If you are interested in participating, please email Steve Faccio.

2/20/09 - The AMP has been hibernating for the winter, but we're beginning to thaw out! We have five trainings scheduled for this spring, which will incorporate exciting new video footage as well as visual imagery and rich sounds. If you have already attended a training, encourage friends and family to come, they're fun and they're free!

4/25/08 - The peepers are roaring, and the Wood Frogs have laid eggs here at the Nature Center. There were other reports of movement this week. If it rains this weekend, there is still the possibility that some movement could occur in Central VT and other cooler parts of the state.

On another note, we are rearing Wood Frog eggs at the Nature Center, and will be posting their progress as they develop on the "Nature News" section of the NBNC website.

4/15/08 - There was a sizable movement of amphibians in Chittenden County, and other warmer areas of the state over the weekend. With a sunny forecast, the next movements may not be until next week. Be aware that snowmelt on warm nights can also trigger migrations, so be ready! Also, a crossing site in Cabot was added to the list.

4/07/08 - Thanks to a great suggestion from an anonymous trainee last evening, I have launched a Google Group for the Amphibian Monitoring Program. This will be a useful tool for networking with other volunteers.

4/03/08 - I've added a site in Huntington, quite close to Richmond. Perfect for the many folks who made it out to last night's training. For those in the south and in the Champlain Valley, keep your eyes on the weather tomorrow night.

4/02/08 - The first amphibian movements of the season were reported last night and Monday night, in southern areas of the state, and in the Lake Champlain Valley. It looks like the next potential movement date could be this Friday, April 4th.

3/31/08 - The training at ECHO in Burlington for 4/19 at 2pm has been canceled, but the training at 11am will happen as scheduled. Also, weather may be favorable for crossings as early as tonight in the Champlain Valley and southern Vermont. Keep a close eye on the forecast.

3/26/08 - Amphibian Monitoring has been in the news again. Click here to see the article which appeared in today's Burlington Free Press about our upcoming training in Richmond. Thanks to everyone who has come to trainings so far, and if you haven't yet, there are still more opportunities to get involved. See the training schedule on the upper-right of this page.

3/05/08 - Note the following changes to training dates/times :
Our Training in Calais will take place 4/10 at 6:30pm
Our Trainings at ECHO in Burlington will be at 11:00am and 2:00pm on 4/19. Note that museum admission will be required for the training at ECHO.

2/15/08 - Amphibian trainings for the 2008 season have been announced! Tell your friends, families, and strangers you pass on the street. Our best source of advertising these free events is word-of-mouth.

1/31/08 - While the amphibians rest peacefully under the snow and ice, we are gearing up for their return! Expect to hear about the '08 trainings shortly, but first, a brief recap of last year. We:

  • Trained 80 volunteers around Vermont.
  • Recorded 63 hours of volunteer time at crossing sites.
  • Identified at least four new crossing sites to our program.
  • Safely crossed over 600 amphibians.
  • Submitted data to Jim Andrews, state herpetologist.

So, congratulations to everyone who helped make last year a success!

5/1/07 - Congratulations to those volunteers who made it out this weekend! There are lots of data sheets still coming in, and so it may be some time before I have a final tally, but hundreds of amphibians were reported moving across Central Vermont. There very well may be some more crossing nights to come, so stay tuned to the weather, and check back for more updates.

4/6/07 - OUR LAST TRAINING EVENT will take place at NBNC on Monday April 16th at 7 PM. Tell your friends! Last night's presentation in Roxbury occurred despite the inclement weather, and went very well. New (and more easily accessible) crossing sites (in Shelburne, Hinesburg, and Northfield) are up on the link under "Resources".

4/5/07 - ONE LAST TRAINING EVENT will take place at NBNC due to popular demand. The date will be announced shortly, and will go up over the email list as well as on the web. Last night's training in Burlington drew a crowd of 18, while 16 people were in attendance in Barre.

The varying levels of snow received throughout Vermont yesterday should keep the amphibians at rest for the time being (no good looking nights yet in the 10-day forecast), but I will keep everyone posted.

I will also be adding some crossing sites in Chittenden County, and trying to make that info more easily accessible through the website, so check back later today for those updates.

4/3/07 - On April 1st, an email alert went out regarding the favorable weather conditions. It seems that things in the Montpelier area were still too frozen to permit amphibian movement, however I got reports of movement in New Haven, and Salisbury (where I was, numbers below). The cold temperatures (and even snow!) predicted for the remainder of the week will most likely mean no imminent movement, but I will send an email if that changes.

In the 2.5 hours I was at Morgan Rd. in Salisbury, there were 14 Spotted Salamanders, 1 Jefferson Salamander, 26 Jefferson/Blue-spotted hybrids, 49 Blue-spotted Salamanders, 18 Four-toed Salamanders, 43 Wood Frogs, and 34 Spring Peepers (plus a few roadkills). Click here for photos.

3/29/07 - I have added 2 new crossing sites to the list you can download under "Resources" (one in New Haven and one in Marshfield). The New Haven site marks the first crossing of AMP's '07 crossing effort. Jefferson Salamanders and Red Efts were found (8 total, 3 alive). Last night's training session had three people in attendance, and tomorrow will be our training in Calais. I will also try to post some pictures from the crossing in Salisbury over the next few days.

3/27/07 - Last night's program in Waitsfield went very well, with 10 people in attendance. There are still many more training sessions scheduled, so don't miss out! After last night's training I spend about 45 minutes looking around Middlesex for any signs of activity(just in case), but found no movement.

More activity, however, was reported farther south in Salisbury. Temperatures should remain cool the rest of this week, but if things change and activity looks likely, I will send out an email, and make some phone calls to let everyone know.

3/26/07 - More activity was reported in Salisbury this weekend, foreshadowing the coming amphibian movement in our area. Tonight will be rainy, but on the cooler side. There is still near 100% snow cover in the area, however I will check around for signs of early movement. Don't forget the training session tonight in Waitsfield!

3/23/07 - The Burlington Free Press ran a cover article today on amphibian migration, and the Amphibian Monitoring Program. Click here to view the article (the paper version has a nice section about our training sessions).

Also, note that a very small amount of amphibian movement (about a dozen Blue-spotted Salamanders) was observed in Salisbury last night, however, cooler temperatures will prevent any more movement in the near future. This sighting is not indicative of the rest of Vermont, where it is unlikely that any movement occurred.

3/22/07 - The Burlington and Calais training sessions have officially been announced, and are posted in the column to the right of this section. A flier is also available under the "Resources" section, for you to help us advertise these events in your community. Just download the flier, and then edit the date/location to match the training session you wish to advertise.

3/20/07 - The AMP's website is officially online! This page will serve as a resource to our volunteers and supporters. Please feel free to e-mail me at larry@northbranchnaturecenter.org with any suggestions on how to improve this site.

3/16/07 - Our first training session, held at the nature center, was a great success! Despite the poor weather, there were 16 people in attendance. If you missed this training session or were held captive by the snow, don't worry! There are plenty more training sessions to attend throughout central Vermont. I hope to see you at one soon!

 

 

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206
info@northbranchnaturecenter.org

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
Contact Us