Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At the Edge


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.




(click images to enlarge)

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.

Ice on Wood Pool

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.

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13 comments:

mon@rch said...

I just want to reach out and touch those! WOW those are amazing photos!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Don't walk on that ice! I got my feet wet in the hydrology profession studying vernal pools in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There's a piece of me still up there working on them.

Zhakee said...

Beautiful ice imagery!

hitch writer said...

Oh dear, it keeps getting better every day....

beautiful pictures and lovely write up...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is so exciting. I just can't wait until you find "them".

Wanda said...

... like an etched glass design.

Rurality said...

Hope you see them soon! I had to laugh at myself last night, when walking near the pond I thought little critters - fish? tadpoles? - were hopping around at the edge. Then I realized it was just starting to rain!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

This area continues to surprise me with every turn, and though I spent days crouched over it last spring, this year it's new again.
That this simple, low, poorly drained area can hold such beauty--even now, as I wait for the salamanders to return to it. There's something almost magical about being in the woods so dark and early--seeing sunshine light the ice crystals grown overnight.
I want to protect such a place.

NCmountainwoman said...

One of my new favorite things about spring is the awakening of your vernal pool. I so enjoyed it last year.

Great photographs of the icy lace.

Mary said...

I enjoy hearing and seeing your vernal pool, whether iced over or fresh in the sunshine.

Beautiful ice images!

Cicero Sings said...

Loved the ice photos and am looking forward to your pools "coming alive".

Kathiesbirds said...

You have discovered nature's stained glass! Exquisite!

dguzman said...

Can't wait to see the first traces of THEM!