Amphibians


These rainy days on Little Crum Creek make great conditions for catching up with the red-backed salamander.

Though spending no part of its life in water, this amphibian prefers to maintain moist skin.

So damp & overcast days present a fine opportunity to get around comfortably.

We visited for just a while before its return to the wet cover of woodland leaf litter.

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100_4048edcropBrush aside some wet leaves, roll a log, or overturn a stone nearby, and you’ll have a good chance of spotting a red-backed or lead-backed salamander. 

Each is simply a coloring variation of the Northern Red-Backed Salamander.

Just about finger-length and thin, these salamanders have been particulary abundant under the driveway’s wet fall leaves.100_4138ed.cropB

Lately, in the canopy shade of spring days, we’ve discovered them in various damp places, often where the lungless salamanders can moisten their thin skin for breathing and maybe unwind from nocturnal insect-hunting adventures.

I uncovered these two by tugging at a garlic mustard plant rooting under a shade stone.

It was a happy occasion.  

Compared to the common lead-back, the red-backed variety is rare among the salamanders we meet.

 

Ridley Creek State Park – In the middle of March, after heavy rains, the spring peeper frogs courted on the marshy side of Ridley Creek, opposite the multi-use trail. Their invisible chorus lulled many walkers to  pause and listen awhile to spring’s arrival.

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More recently, at the end of April, an eastern American toad crossed the trail. 

 

 

 

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And along several yards of Ridley Creek, several green frogs leapt from muddy perches into the clear flowing stream…

 

 

 

…where thousands of tadpoles teemed in shallow pools by the banks:

*Occasionally, I will venture from the yard. In these cases, I’ll title the post “Afield” and identify our new location.   Any other time on this page, you can be sure of  visiting Little Crum Creek.