Late winter/early spring is the time to look out for activity near your local vernal pool on the first rainy, warm nights of spring. Here are some photos from areas near a few Westford & Littleton vernal pools late March 2023
Any day now, when we get a big soaking rain with a nighttime temperature over 40 degrees, the amphibian migration to vernal pools will happen. Be on the lookout for wood frogs and spotted salamanders crossing the road and listen for the calls of the wood frogs (sounds like quacking). These solitary species spend most of the year in the woods surrounding the pools, and only come to the vernal pools in the spring to breed before heading back into the uplands. For some of the most secretive salamanders, seeing the animals moving to the pools or in the brief time they are at the pools may be our best chance of seeing one. And they are impressive little creatures! (from Trustees of Reservations/vernal pools)
vernal pools fill with melting snow, spring rain, runoff, and rising groundwater. These pools provide critical breeding habitat for several amphibian and invertebrate species with life cycles that have adapted to these rich, temporary phenomena.
Vernal pools are found in woodlands, meadows, floodplains, and even sandplains all across Massachusetts. They occur in a wide variety of settings including swales, kettle holes, old stream channels, and depressions in larger wetlands. see more at https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/reptiles-amphibians/vernal-pools/about
Nature Sightings are photos and stories from local residents and visitors. If you have a great outdoor photo to share in or near Westford, send it to us!