EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - What a difference a week or two makes! The snow in these photos from the last snowstorm has melted and the first signs of spring are showing up - Little things like winter fireflies, a lone singing Spring Peeper, snowdrops in a sunny sheltered spot, a Red Winged blackbird in full regalia, skunk cabbage poking out in a wetland and the first Mourning Cloak butterfly at Frost Woods this past weekend.
So how far off can the start of the Spotted Salamander migration to our vernal pools be? We suspect, not long!
We have been carefully monitoring conditions at the vernal pools and the weather and think this weekend may be the first time we will close the road. The forecast for the rest of this week is for temperatures well above normal (maybe even record-breaking) with the potential for rain and thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon and evening with the passage of a cold front. The Police have the barriers out at Beekman Road and are just waiting for us to give them the signal that conditions look good for the migration. Saturday is still a long way off, weatherwise, and we are keeping a close eye on the forecast and will provide updates as we get closer.
A few VERY important safety notes are in order (for us and the salamanders and frogs): NEVER, and we cannot stress this enough, NEVER, walk Beekman Road when it is not closed. It is NOT safe!
Park carefully and always have your children hold your hand when crossing Church Lane. Cars come fast, it will be dark and possibly rainy, and we don't want anyone hurt. When parking, choose a safe location and be exceptionally careful when pulling out onto Church Lane.
For the salamanders, be sure that EVERYONE has a strong, bright flashlight so that the salamanders and frogs are not accidentally stepped on. Check your flashlight before leaving the house and honestly, don't come out without EVERYONE having one in their hand.
Cell phone flashlights are just not strong enough to illuminate the road at night. Also, please don not handle the frogs and salamanders. Simply watch them cross and enjoy their movements. Amphibians breathe through their skin and touching them can be harmful to them. Be safe and enjoy the migration!