Photo of caddisfly and mosquito larvae with Fairy Shrimp

The number and range of things to see increases tremendously as spring arrives. We hadn’t quite entered our Study Area when a Great Egret flew out of it, big and white against the blue sky, and bucking the strong north wind. Once in, under a little grove of Red Maples we noticed that the leaf litter was gone already, consumed by introduce earthworms (we found the culprits under a log: Lumbricus terrestris, along with L. rubellus and Aporrectodea turgida). In the over-browsed main maple woods, a limited roster of spring ephemerals was in bloom: Spring Beauty, Dutchman’s Breeches, and Bloodroot. Several members found Garter Snakes.

Photo of Yellow-spotted Salamander in hand

This being a late-afternoon and evening trip, we settled down for supper overlooking a sparkling woodland pond. Those who finished their meal early poked around in the shallows, coming up with fascinating invertebrates: Fairy Shrimp, caddisfly larvae, and mosquito wrigglers.

Along the shoreline, under logs, Niccolo found two salamanders, one the common Blue-spotted,and the other the very first Yellow-spotted Salamander we have ever seen in the Study Area. And we have been looking since 1970! As night came on, a dozen Spring Peeper choruses came to life, and in one corner of the Woodland Pond, we heard three Chorus Frogs.