Oakland County’s Vernal Ponds – Alive With Wood Frogs!

Photo credit: Taylor Reynolds

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

We knew winter really was over and spring was firmly taking hold on the wilder side of Oakland County when my hiking companion and I unexpectedly encountered an ancient amphibian ritual deep in the woods of Bald Mountain Recreation Area. Although light rain fell the evening before, the sun was shining. Only a few, very small remnants of snow remained on north facing slopes of the glacially sculpted, wooded hills, and the temperature had just reached 55°F. Those environmental conditions were perfect for the encounter that was about to occur.

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Vernal Ponds = April Amphibian Action

Wilder Side of Oakland County

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As winter yields to spring, blue-spotted salamanders are roused into action. They emerge from their moist subterranean dwellings and embark on overland journeys to reach the same vernal ponds where their lives began. The vernal pond is a unique forest pond as it only holds water part of the year and is fish-free. The word vernal is derived from vernalis, Latin for spring. In another few weeks, these ephemeral ponds will teem with life, with some creatures so bizarre that they appear to be alien species.

SpringPeeper calling

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