Last Thursday, on the 8th of February, we had a brief warm and rainy spell. The temperature rose to about 50F during the day and then dropped into the high 40s as night unfolded. Although way too early in the season for amphibian activity here in upstate New York, I decided to visit a local natural area just in case a wayward Jefferson Salamander was on the move.

It was raining, so I left my video camera in my car. With the aid of a bright headlamp, I carefully searched the area for over an hour. As I had expected, I didn’t find any salamanders. So, around 8pm, I decided to call it quits and began walking back to my car. And that’s when I found one, a male, moving quickly across a grassy clearing. I rushed back to my car to retrieve my camera and then returned to the clearing.

Although it took me awhile, I managed to find him again and document his movements as he ambled under a grove of tall pine trees and then marched into the wooded swamp. He was moving so quickly that I had trouble keeping my camera on him, and I was quite lucky to capture the moment when he scurried over some ice and then slithered into an open pool, quickly disappearing into the leafy muck.

Well folks … this is living proof that SPRING IS HERE! There is no argument about this. One salamander on the move proves, without question, that the season of renewal has finally arrived in my neck-of-the-woods!

White Pine stem with brown needles in snow © Lang Elliott

Now, just six days later, snow covers the ground again and it looks and feels like winter outside (see above photo, taken today). But I know better. And if I come to doubt my declaration of spring, all I need to do is think of the salamander, resting patiently in swamp, ready to burst into action during the next warm, rainy spell. He does not doubt that it’s spring, so why should I?

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