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Big Night!

4-13-18 amphibsA magical migration awaits all who take note of the first rainy spring day (in the 40’s) when the rain continues into the night. Last night these conditions resulted in what herpetologists refer to as “Big Night.” While snow still covers parts of the forest, there is ample bare ground that has warmed up enough to waken hibernating frogs and salamanders at this time of year. As if silently communicating with each other, thousands and thousands of these amphibians emerge from their subterranean hibernacula on the very same night and migrate en masse to their ancestral breeding pools, known as vernal pools. They avoid the lethal sun by travelling at night, in the rain. Unfortunately, many die, as they often must cross hazardous roads in order to reach the pool where they breed every year. If you are driving in these conditions, please keep an eye out for these jaywalkers and try to avoid them. Roads can quickly become slick with their squashed bodies.

How many Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders can you find in this photograph taken on Big Night? (There are six.)  Thanks to the unbelievable generosity of Naturally Curious readers, this photograph was taken with my new camera and lens.  I cannot tell you how deeply touched I am by your kindness and generosity.

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19 responses

  1. Julie

    Big night in north central Vermont is tonight!

    April 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm

  2. Marilyn

    Wonderful! There’s a vernal pool along our camp road; it may be functional by now, although a few days ago it was iced up.
    Quick work replacing your camera. Did you have an upgrade in mind, or did you just replace the amazing equipment that “sprouted legs?”

    April 13, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    • Replaced the lens, and the next generation of my camera. I feel so very, very fortunate.

      April 13, 2018 at 8:25 pm

  3. Alice Pratt

    Yes, found six….the term “squashed bodies” makes me sick…can’t the roads be closed off for a night? There must be other routes. Mary…. a new camera is an extension of your whole being….something you can not do without…..and in the long run…neither can we….seeing as we all look forward to your beautiful photos!

    April 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm

  4. Jan

    Wonderful post. I’ve never seen a ‘big night’. Still on my list.

    April 13, 2018 at 7:08 pm

  5. Gary Kezerian

    What a great photo taken with your new camera! Thank you!!

    On Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 6:12 PM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “A magical migration awaits all who take note of the > first rainy spring day (in the 40’s) when the rain continues into the > night. Last night these conditions resulted in what herpetologists refer to > as “Big Night.” While snow still covers parts of the fore” >

    April 13, 2018 at 7:24 pm

  6. Jo

    Wonderful photo!
    And I’m glad you told us there were six amphibs or I would have stopped looking at 4… but I eventually found all of them. :))

    April 13, 2018 at 7:42 pm

  7. Guy Stoye

    That your followers have pitched in so generously to let you replace the camera is not at all surprising to me. Reading their comments over the many months, it’s easy to see that they are all very special people who value the good things of life, especially life in the natural world. We are so happy for you, Mary!

    April 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm

  8. Dave Taylor

    Saw lots of frogs last night, not sure about salamanders.

    April 13, 2018 at 9:18 pm

  9. Major

    So happy about your new granddaughter, and so sad about the theft of your camera and equipment. You are one of my heroes. I so admire all you have already accomplished in your life dedicated to the natural world and all it has to teach us. Your family, your love of nature, your exquisite talent in photography and writing, your inner and outer beauty as an amazing individual in this crazy time we call “life,” all point to your incredible talent and the love you share with so many others. You are the “bestest” ever! Much love to you, my forever friend. ¡Salud! — Major

    April 13, 2018 at 11:03 pm

  10. David Fedor-Cunningham

    I have thought of creating a vernal pool next to the woods so that the amphibians don’t need to travel as far and cross a road to reach their traditional breeding ground. We have heavy clay soil so it should hold water well.

    April 14, 2018 at 7:48 am

  11. Bill On The Hill...

    Good for you Mary… Spotted all 6 pretty quickly actually…
    Sounds like you are in possession of the 5DM4… Ooh, la, la!

    How’s the babe?

    Bill Farr… 🙂

    PS: I have several vernal pools on the upper elevations of my property. ( 90 acres )
    You have inspired me to take a hike and have a look!

    April 14, 2018 at 9:14 am

  12. Melanie Cerne

    Cheers, Cheers, for little girls! Mind telling us what camera and lens you purchased?

    April 14, 2018 at 10:07 am

    • Not at all. The camera is a Canon 5D Mark IV. I am totally spoiled. And I replace my favorite close-up lens, the 100mm macro.

      April 14, 2018 at 10:47 am

  13. Bill On The Hill...

    Since you spilled the beans on your new replacements Mary, ( I’m so envious, lol )
    I have had my eye on the 5DM3 for quite some time now & it is ” still ” available at about $1000.00 less…
    I have always wanted a good macro lens since ” The Creation of Man ” and I think it is the one you had stolen, sadly…
    The Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L USM with image stabilization… Tremendous lens & surprisingly affordable, if $750.00 can be considered affordable!

    This is my hobby and a expensive hobby at that…

    … Bill Farr

    April 14, 2018 at 11:46 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Bill: photography equipment is not as expensive as the ‘hobby’ of ‘traveling, fashion trends, jewelry, fine wines & restaurants & caviar’ just to name a few ‘other things’….I think photography is a much more lasting and satisfying pursuit and usually brings you outdoors….so much healthier!

      April 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    • Hi Bill,
      The biggest plus to the Mark IV is you can touch the screen with two fingers and b low it up to see if what you want in focus is in focus! Not sure if that makes it worth the extra!

      April 16, 2018 at 10:43 am

  14. Polly

    If I see just one of these now I am soooo excited. Can’t imagine seeing 6. I do miss them & hate to think what it means for the future because they are so scarce.

    April 14, 2018 at 1:01 pm

  15. Dianne Rochford

    Dear Mary,

    This post is sooooo timely…….My daughter and I went out on the ‘BIG Night’..And what we discovered in Newport, NH. is that the few critters that were crossing were extremely cold and some were torpid. We rescued 2 Spotties, 9 Peppers, 3 Wood Frogs ( One was gravid) which was so special to witness) One Wood Frog stayed in my daughter’s hand for the longest time…We figure was soaking up the warmth form her hand…….How lucky are we to live in an area where we witness the BIG and the SMALL migrations. >

    April 14, 2018 at 2:05 pm

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