Vernal pools in the spring are special places
Vernal are the place some important amphibians in our forest ecosystem come to breed. Vernal means spring and these areas are wet in the spring and typically are dry in the summer and fall. Wet areas are classified as vernal pools if they are breeding sites for wood frogs or mole salamanders (e.g. yellow spotted salamanders). Vernal pools dry up so they are missing something that is in most ponds...can you guess?
The eggs of wood frogs and salamanders would be quickly eaten by fish. Can you see the wood frog or the eggs in the photo below?
It is a challenge with the reflections. Below is a closer look.
This year, the temperatures have had some amazing variations late February and early March. Warm rains brought the wood frogs and salamanders back to the pools earlier than I have seen before.
The wood frogs came to the pools on warm wet days or nights. On warm days like the photo above they quacked like ducks. Then the vernal pool froze very solid. I saw a lot of frogs under the ice. Less reflections in the photo below because of the ice.
Then then the pool thawed again.
And now more cold weather and possibly snow is on the way...hard to believe with weather in the 50's today.
If you keep your eyes and ears open, it is amazing what you can discover!
Share what you notice with a family member, friend or neighbor.