As the New Moon nears, it's time to reflect on my Wetland Loop Moon Challenge. My five-mile walking/biking loop introduced me to many wonderful things. Here's a sampling of wetland-related sightings:
- I noticed a few active Eastern Garter Snakes, saw Painted Turtles basking on warm, sunny days, heard Wood Frogs calling from various vernal pools and heard Spring Peepers join in around mid-challenge, too. The following audio is of Wood Frogs and one loud Spring Peeper.
- I recorded the mass movements of Wood Frogs (pictured) and Spotted Salamanders on two rainy, warm nights (noticed primarily by dead creatures on the road the following mornings).
- The second such night, I found and photographed a live Wood Frog, and took a short video of a Spotted Salamander safely crossing a road to get to a vernal pool.
- I visited a potential vernal pool with a friend, and found ample evidence to certify the pool (including Fairy Shrimp, numerous Spotted Salamander egg masses, Caddisfly larvae, and Wood Frog eggs). We'll submit the certification form and supporting documents to the NHESP. Below is a photo of some Fairy Shrimp. Find these in a pool and you've likely found a certifiable vernal pool.
Other notables on my biking/walking loop:
- A flying Eastern Red Bat (see photo in yesterday's post); a soaring/calling Red-shouldered Hawk; singing Winter Wren, Pine Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, and Field Sparrows; and a Red Fox curled up in the sun.
- I noticed the following creatures who had been killed by vehicles: Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, ~20 Spotted Salamanders, ~18 Wood Frogs, and two Eastern Cottontails.
- I walked 50 miles and biked 100 miles in 30 days.
I encourage you to challenge yourself by committing to a specific nature-based practice during this next Moon cycle.