Thursday, June 14, 2012

Aspetuck Land Trust and Connecticut Audubon Society vernal pool walk

In late May, the Aspetuck Land Trust set up a vernal pool walk for kids at the Trout Brook Valley Preserve led by our own Conservation Biologist Dr. Twan Leenders, one of the best and most experienced herpetologists in the world. I joined Twan along with Sean Graesser, one of our Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds technicians. We met at the orchard and proceeded into the woods where Twan had a couple pools staked out for us.

He found some pools that still had water (it had been quite dry until then as opposed to the last couple of weeks) and that would not be injured by children hopping through them (they were without critical species or eggs). The best kind of education can be the wet and muddy kind, and all of the kids (and parents!) had a blast hopping after frogs and searching for salamanders.

 A friendly Spotted Salamander

 A hugeeeee snake skin Twan had found a couple days before

 Looking here there and everywhere

 Catch one?

 We had a big crew

 There's a happy catch!

Another salamander making visits

It turns out that they were better than expected as one of the kids turned up this tremendous find well away from the pool on the way out, a species Twan himself sees only a couple of times a year in the state, a Four-toed Salamander. So many of these species are extremely difficult to find outside of a few nights every year.

  A tiny species

It curls up in the leaf little for passive defense and can also shed its tail

He expected to find one here considering the habitat requirements and some of the high-quality pools, but this was real conservation science in action. Everyone got a great look, and Twan took some great shots of it later on, including this one.

Thanks to all who joined us for a fun afternoon!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

All photos © Scott Kruitbosch & Twan Leenders and  not to be reproduced without explicit permission

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks. This was a wonderful walk for everyone. My son especially enjoyed spotting the frogs and salamanders. Or maybe just hiking in the mud with sneakers.