I’ve begun to check the pools again, early each morning and with more regularity. Hoping they arrived in the night, crossing the darkened fields and woods, to slip, unnoticed, into this cool water.
And, although turned a dark and rusty brown by the oak leaves lining its basin, the water remains clear--enough so, to see straight through its 13 inches of depth, to the bottom.
No spermatophores yet. Easy to distinguish, if here--small, white, gelatinous deposits of sperm left by the males at night, for the females to find later.
A clue to the presence of what, otherwise, would remain unseen.
Dark bodies, still, against the dark, leafy bottom.
Again, I find none.
As I bend low and peer into this quiet pool, woods around me barely touched by sunshine, it would seem I have found the essence of spring.
From water, waiting.
Vernal pools are wetland areas that contain water in the spring, and, often, become dry by the end of the summer. They are necessary to the life cycle of certain amphibian species, which migrate to them and reproduce within their waters before returning to lives on land. I am waiting for 2 species of mole salamander to arrive--Jefferson Salamanders first, and Spotted Salamanders, several weeks later. Because migrations typically occur on dark, rainy nights and the adults hide from daylight beneath submerged plants and leaves, finding them can be a challenge. The white spermatophores, left on the bottom of the pool by males, are easier to discover.