Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lanesborough/Savoy April 24, 2013

Today I visited conservation land behind a farm in Lanesborough, MA. While hiking into the forest behind the fields I came across an industrial scale maple syruping operation where there were acres of trees along a hillside that were all tied together by tubing where gravity passively let the sugar water flow downhill to a large storage tank. Fun fact, it takes 40 gallons of sap to to produce one gallon of maple syrup. My mission was to look at two vernal pools where the forest met the fields. 

I thought it would be weird to walk across the field with farmers working and have to explain what I was doing so I hiked in from the power lines. The hike in was about a mile up and around a small mountain. 

Sugar maple sap collection operation 

Sugar maple sap collection operation and vernal pool
It turns out that the pools were old farm ponds. The first pool I checked out was filled with Jefferson salamander eggs. The second pool was much deeper and filled with a lot of fish with were only four Jefferson salamander egg masses that were mostly predated. This property is managed by the Berkshire Natural Resources council. Our report will include a recommendation that the larger, fish filled pond be periodically drained to remove the presence of fish and give the Jefferson salamanders a chance for greater reproductive success on the property.

Jefferson salamander eggs

Jefferson salamander eggs
I spent the afternoon surveying a wildlife management area in Savoy, MA. This property was at higher elevation and much cooler than the other sites I had previously visited and it even had patches of snow still on the ground in shaded areas. There were many wood frogs still chorusing and mating while other lower elevation sites were done with breeding activity weeks earlier. On this property I had four vernal pools to survey. The first two ended up being slow flowing creeks with small beaver impoundments making them look like it might be suitable breeding habitat from aerial photos. I wasn't able to find any salamander eggs at these sites.

The third pool I checked out in Savoy was an old pond that looked like it was created by beavers 100 years ago. This pond was filled with the common spotted salamander eggs as well as wood frog eggs. I found an old minnow trap at the bottom of the pond and found a few crayfish inside.

The last pool of the day was full of spotted salamander and wood frog eggs. This was a small isolated pool far from any other wetland.

No comments:

Post a Comment