Curiosity: It drives us to do curious things like look under rocks and logs, peek into tree cavities or to don waders and grab a net and see what you can fish out of a pool or pond. This morning I was curious to see if any spotted salamanders moved last night during the rain. I grabbed the camera and a pair of polarized sunglasses but I left my net behind. Things are getting underway slowly and I don’t want to interrupt the magic.
The wood frogs have been quacking in the pools, although not quite making a ruckus yet. It was cool, about 40°F, and sunny. I started out and the clouds moved in, which makes it hard to see underneath the water’s surface and darn near impossible to get a nice photo. I did manage to check a dozen or so spots. To sum up my findings, some pools had some spermatophores in them, but not all pools. The pools that did present this evidence of salamander movement didn’t have a lot compared to what I’ve seen in the past. So last night was a small to medium sized big night.
What struck me this morning was that each woodland pool had at least one pair of wood ducks dabbling about the pools surface. Not that this is unusual, wood ducks love vernal pools! It was how much I felt like I was interrupting; that these creatures have waited so long for spring and what business does a nosy naturalist have spooking the courting pair out of the pool!
Once, while tent camping at Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park a very large, shiny RV pulled in. They parked their enormous bus in a rather unfortunate place- my view of the creek upstream and the wilderness beyond. As if this wasn’t enough, the occupants proceeded to start their generator. The sun was setting and I could see silhouettes inside in plush leather recliners watching TV.
Then I noticed it. The name of the RV was The Intruder. How fitting. Not once did they come outside during their stay.
This morning, I was the intruder. I moved quietly and slowly, trying not spook the creatures as I checked for salamanders. I kept my distance and let the ducks dabble. At 10:26am a few wood frogs began to chorus as the sky really became overcast, spitting rain. The ducks, the weather and the frogs were all telling me that it wasn’t quite yet time for the show, but it is close.