EBEC Tries to "Think Like a Salamander"

Sal A. Mander, cousin to Warren S. Dorfer, seen on Beekman Road last week. Credits: Friends of EBEC

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - They're baaaaaaack!  Salamanders on are crossing Beekman Road tonight, making their annual migratory trek to the vernal pools nearby.
I am writing to bring to your attention that world famous ( East Brunswick salamander have started migrating to the vernal pools.

For the last 12 years, with the help of the township and police, on days that the East Brunswick Environmental Commission thinks that the weather conditions are favorable for migration, Beekman Road (near Hardenburgh Lane) is blocked to car traffic to ensure safe crossing of the amphibians.

When the road is closed, residents are invited to come and see the amphibian as they cross. Says a member of the EBEC, "To decide when to close the road, we follow the weather forecast carefully and try to think like a salamander."  Apparently, thinking like frogs makes the members a bit jumpy.

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The EBEC shares their thoughts, decisions and observations (with lots of photos) on the Friends of the EBEC website  and blog .

Here's an excerpt from the most recent blog entry by David Moskowitz which includes some updates on the amorous encounters among Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers:

"...Nonetheless, a trip to the vernal pools last night was fantastic! Our Amphibian Protection Plan is working better than we could have ever imagined as evidenced by the huge numbers of Spotted Salamanders, Eastern Newts and Wood Frogs in both pools. In fact, we saw many more of these three species than we have ever seen before!!! The pools were literally teeming with salamanders and newts skirting and slithering in the water, in and out of the leaves on the bottom and Wood Frogs were floating in their classic sprawled posture and chorusing in both pools along with plenty of Spring Peepers to add to the amphibian orchestra. There were also already a few Spotted Salamander eggs masses and spermatophore fields, so in this crazy early "spring" things have obviously happened fast. 

If you visit the pools, please don't venture into them. Just bring a strong flashlight and look in from the edge where you'll be able to see anything moving around and hear the wonderful frog songs. With all the ongoing mating and egg laying, walking through the pools can be disruptive of breeding and also directly impact the egg masses. During the day, the pools are also worth visiting, especially on a warm day with or without rain, as the male Spring Peepers and Chorus frogs will likely be singing their little hearts out hoping to find some love!"   

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