Hiding in Plain Site: Southern Dusky Salamanders

Last year on a warm sticky day in June, we ventured into a large perennial seep at the base of a small sandhill.  There are similar seeps all over the southeast where groundwater trickles out onto the surface and forms small mucky swamps that are rarely more than a few inches deep.  Seeps provide important […]

Egg Mass Identification in the Great Northern Forests

Spring Egg Mass Identification in the Great Northern Forests With winter concluding in Northern New England and already past farther south, amphibians in the northeast are migrating to their breeding habitat and beginning to lay eggs. Many of the species that breed in the early spring seek temporary bodies of water to lay their eggs, […]

Porcupines: Bark-eating Beasties of the Northern Woods

A few years ago a visitor from South Carolina told me they saw a beaver climbing a tree in the woods behind my house. As much as I’d love to believe arboreal beavers inhabit woodlands around my house in central Vermont, it was highly unlikely. North American porcupines, which are similar in size and shape […]

Mink Fogs: The Frog of the North

Ever since my first introduction to the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) of Vermont back in high school I was hooked. Boreal forests, sphagnum wetlands, carnivorous plants, bubbling brooks, and moose-infested swamps all drew me back to the NEK time after time. It’s an area where the air even smells nice in a gas station parking lot! […]

Beavers

While kayaking in a town wetland a couple months ago I noticed a slow-moving trail of bubbles ahead of me. As a herpetologist, I recognized the bubbles as a sign there was a Common Snapping Turtle walking through the debris at the wetland bottom, so I decided to follow the bubble trail toward shallower water […]

Northern Hardwoods of Vermont

When people picture Vermont they conjure images of sap buckets on maple trees, fall foliage, rolling hills, and lush forested mountains peppered with lakes. Not that long ago, however, the landscape was very different. At the peak of environmental devastation in Vermont, around 1850, roughly 80% of Vermont’s land was cleared to make way for […]