On April 17 a group of 17 participants gathered in the parking lot of the Woodland Warbler Preserve in Salem. They took part in the first of three programs exploring amphibians and reptiles. The leader was led Dennis Quinn, a herpetologist who had been contracted by the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Coordinating Committee to carry out herpetological surveys in several of the preserves in the Eightmile River Watershed.
Dennis found red back salamanders, spotted salamanders (picture above), eastern newts, wood frog tadpoles, green frogs and a friendly Ribbon Snake (below).
During the walk Denis talked about the habitat that each of the species needed to survive along with their natural history. He also explained some of the issues around invasive plants and animals. He described the relationship between invasive Japanese barberry and non-native earthworm species and how they are having the effect of decreasing the population of native salamanders.
One of the most interesting discoveries was on the way back from the hike Denis found a full-grown male spotted salamander and everyone got the chance to experience him up close. The salamander posed for pictures and was definitely the star of the show!
The next two programs will be scheduled for June and September. For more information on the Eightmile River Watershed Coordinating Committee and their scheduled events, please visit www.eightmileriver.org.