Monday, March 9, 2009

Hello!

It has been a very dry spring--one many would choose, eager for the warmth and beautiful rays of sunshine to follow this gray winter.
I, too, turn my face upward and draw it deeply in, yet it is not as it should be--
for this season is one of wetness.

I walk through the brown, dried, tangled grasses of the field, into the woods surrounding Wood Pool, shallower and already less wide than last year, my boots tossing the light, crisp leaves ahead of each step, scuffing along the dry trail.
And I wonder how they will walk here, tender bodies, without the softness left by rain.

Several males are already in Little Pond Pool, from journeys days ago, when light rain over warm earth released them to walk to this water. Each night I spent watching and waiting by the trail at midnight, hoping to meet them before losing them into the darkness of the pool. And, though I see their spotted bodies flash and turn below the water’s surface, it does not feel the same to find them already here.
I miss the walking.

Perhaps because this remarkable migration defines them.
Gathering these solitary beings for just several days into small pools of spring rain.
From adjacent fields and woods, acres beyond these borders, across roads and fences, they will return home.
Then, again, go off to disappear below the ground.

This evening dark clouds brought a beautiful rain.
And the grass glistened and shone brightly in the beam of my flashlight. I turned my face upward and drank in the damp night air.
And it was as I had hoped—
a salamander rain.


Spotted Salamander. Ambystoma maculatum, female
walking to Little Pond Pool
March 8, 2009

Another male (?)

Is there a sweeter, smiling face?




Spotted Salamander, female


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39 comments:

Tom said...

Nina- since Weston hasn't smiled yet, I'm going to have to say, no, there isn't a sweeter smiling face, yet! Did you catch any Jeffersons this year?

Tom

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Weston's adorable, (for one without spots)--smiling or not!
No Jeffersons this year, but they've been in my pool and left spermatophores very early--2-3 weeks ago.
I'm a little concerned that it is already so dry--I hope the water stays long enough for them all to do well!

Robin said...

What a wonderful face. You write so beautifully...especially about these special guys.

jozien said...

What Wonderful creatures!
Thanks for sharing.

MojoMan said...

Wow! Until I saw one with your hand for scale, I didn't appreciate how large these salamanders are.

Kallen305 said...

So cute! They do look like they are smiling! I ca't wait to follow this over the summer. This is a speices I know nothing about.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Yes, Mojoman, they're GOOD size! Spotted salamanders grow to between 6-8 inches long, and they're rather stocky--not slim or slender like others.
See her costal grooves?(the ribbing around her chest) And broad head? Other characteristics of these mole salamanders.
Real cuties!

Kelly said...

...they look like they are smiling right at you and can't wait to hop into your hand! They have crazy cute faces...

spinyurchin said...

Oh too cute! And their little hand-feet!

mon@rch said...

I just love these guys . . . they are soo cute!

Susan Gets Native said...

I love your salamander photos. They make me just all warm and fuzzy and giggly.

Bernie said...

Oh Nina I so enjoy your blog. It is very informative and even more intresting than many I have read. I am thankful to be able to read each new posting, and see your beautiful pictures and read your wonderful words. God Bless, Bernie

giggles said...

Yes, I concur with Bernie and others.... I bring my kids to your place for a little extra schooling... Yours is a great place to visit!! I always learn something new....

Big, bright, shiny, smiley sallys!! (I didn't know!)

Sally said...

How wonderful, and you capture them so beautifully. I miss ours (especially those smiles), but we are having a terribly dry time this winter. (Big storm this week has put less than a half-inch of snow on the ground this a.m.)

Thanks so much, Nina!

dguzman said...

Cool! I need to look for salamanders more carefully when I'm out in the woods.

I was thinking about you and your 'manders as I watched "Life in Cold Blood" the other night. Good stuff!

Wenda said...

What an adorable little creature!

Deborah Godin said...

To answer your question - No, there is not a sweeter smile!! When I lived in the Alberta foothills, I was always amazed to find salamanders (Tigers) living in the pastures and paddocks. That country is so dry, but there they were.

RuneE said...

One might perhaps imagine other faces, but the photos fitted very well with the conclusion

Janie said...

That's a beautiful salamander, and you got some great photos of him.

Granny Smith said...

Otto and my courtship had much tramping through the the woods looking for these adorable amphibians! These pictures bring back memories.

Life with Kaishon said...

They are truly adorable! We don't have any of those around here. I know Kaishon would be enchanted if we did! He loves all things creepy crawly!

Anna said...

What fabulous little creatures and such smiley faces. Would love to see one !

Rinkly Rimes said...

Rather like a dolphin's grin. And great to greet the day.

Babooshka said...

Hello you little cutie. He's so colourful and such a swet face.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

That guy is smiling because he knows who is waiting for him in that pool. Yay for rain.

Mary said...

They're so cute. The last one looks quite hefty.

ramblingwoods.com said...

Remembering your research of pools last year, I went into the woods, but it was still frozen. I think that will change with all the rain we are getting now...

Tumblewords: said...

You are right - he has a wonderfully warm and happy smile. Sweet face.

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Hello to you too or in swedish HEJ!
Love you stunning photos of the spotted Salamander, cute little fellow.

Take Care, Tyra

THE GREENHOUSE IN TYRA'S GARDEN

spacedlaw said...

What cute critters!

Carolina said...

What a lovely sweet smiling face! Great photos.

Annette said...

Beautiful words and darling faces.

"And it was as I had hoped--
a salamander rain." makes a GREAT title. :)

pictureeachday said...

I never knew salamanders were so adorable. Beautiful photos to match your beautiful words. And thank you for including the picture of your hand - I would never have guessed how big they are!

Marvin said...

Who could resist that smile?

It's drier than it should be for this time of year here also. We've had our share of gray, misty days, but enough enough real winter rain.

Greyscale Territory said...

I am amazed at the colouring of the salamander! Such strong yellow spots! Then again, I have never (nor will ever) see a salamander in the wild in Australia.

Great photos! And that broad smile almost swallows the face!

i beati said...

colorful cutie sandy

Dianne said...

absolutely a sweet smile, they're really cute

Manz said...

Amazing markings!

Heather said...

Hi Nina. I've been away from your blog for a while, and I see I've missed a lot! Yes, it has been uncharacteristically dry so far this spring. I usually call this time of year "mud season", but right now it's more like "dust season". Wonder what that means for the rainfall through the rest of spring and summer? I love your salamanders - they are so cute! And I love the pictures of the peepers from a few posts back, too. All these special, sweet little creatures that we share the world with - isn't it wonderful?