I first learned about vernal pools when my boss called one night to leave a mysterious voice message on my answering machine: “Meet me at the nature center at 9pm. Wear a raincoat and boots. Bring a good flashlight.” We walked out around the Big Field to the far side of Big Pond, into the woods a ways, then off the trail to a pond surrounded by trees.
All along the way, the spring peepers were deafening. Mixed with their song was the half quacking, half barking call of the wood frog. When we got to the pond and Ruth shone her flashlight into the water, my jaw dropped. I had never seen one spotted salamander before this, let alone the hundreds that were performing on this night. It remains for me the most bizzare nature event I have ever witnessed.
Ever since that night, spring just isn’t spring without a pilgrimage to a vernal pool to see the salamanders, woodfrogs, and spring peepers. Last night, I headed down to Sarah’s to check out the pools on the top of the hill behind her house. I took tons of pictures… As you can see, I still have plenty to learn about how to get the best out of this camera at night.
Here is a view of the pool taken last November when the water was at a normal level. In spring, the woods around the pool are often completely flooded. That is the case today, making it hard to get to the pool to see if the salamanders have arrived…
Learn more. Google “Vernal Pools”.