Friday, March 18, 2011
Amphibians On the Move at Wilton Wildlife Preserve
The weather is warming at last! Close to 70 degrees today, and the snow and ice are melting fast. That means that the amphibians that make their home in Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park are starting to stir. Having spent the winter in their hibernation sites, they will soon be moving to their spring breeding sites, and the folks at WWP&P are looking for volunteers to help out with a fun and unusual project.
Probably by early next week, as the amphibians make their move, the park staff at Wilton are planning to go out to do a count of how many and what kinds of amphibians inhabit the site. The count will take place around 9 o'clock at night, with volunteers assisting in the count and helping the amphibians cross the road to their vernal breeding pools. Margo Olson, director of the preserve, said she expects to find Spring Peepers, Green Frogs, Wood Frogs, Grey Tree Frogs, American Toads, Yellow-Spotted Salamanders, Red-backed Salamanders, maybe even Four-toed Salamanders or Spadefoot Toads.
The park is looking for volunteers who can be on call to come at a moment's notice when observers send out the word that the critters are on the move. If any of this blog's readers would like to join the counting party, please send an email to Margo Olson at email@example.com and leave a phone number where you can be reached at around 9 at night. Wear rainboots and wet-weather gear and bring a flashlight and a clean bucket.
Naturalist Kenny Barnett will be helping the volunteers to search the blacktop and roadsides, assisting the volunteers to identify species, record size and sex, and record if the animals are alive or dead on the road. He will also instruct participants in how to safely transport the creatures across the road, and will lead all in a celebration dance when the evening's tasks are completed. Sounds like a party!