Glacier Pools Preserve

………………….Walking Paths for Eastern Lycoming County

June 3, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Early Laurel

The Laurel bloom is beginning and it looks like it’s a winner of a season. Many bushes are loaded with buds and some are in bloom. I’m so lucky to be in a position to visit daily and watch the progression through the woods and in various lights. Please enjoy it as you can. Here’s a shot taken yesterday.

May 13, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Azalea and Ladyslippers

The colony of ladyslippers is entering bloom, as is the single wild native azalea I protected last year.   You can see them both by climbing the hill to the “throne”,  and entering the woods at the ShortCut trail.  The ladyslippers are on the right and left about 200 feet in (watch that you don’t step on the one in the trail, and don’t wander off into the patch or you’ll step on another.)  Then continue on ShortCut to ‘mander Meander and turn right.  The azalea is on the right with a wire fence and a bit of yellow tape.  If you get to the big downhill, you went too far.

The orchid colony is shrinking, and I’m tempted to throw a little granular fertilizer on it after the bloom.  Does anyone have a better idea?

April 6, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Peepers and the progression of spring

Peter and I went out the night before last and he taught me how to find peepers:  just look on low branches, logs, and plants for little frogs with close-set eyes.  It’s quite hard to locate them from the sound of their singing.  Peepers are less shy than salamanders, and even tolerated Peter getting within a few inches to snap this picture.  We both remarked on how few salamander egg clusters there are this year.  Our suspicion is that the weird weather has delayed the arrival of females to pick up the spermatophores left last week by their males.  In support of that theory, last night I found a nice cluster of fresh eggs (and one maybe older one.)  They were in a very small pool in the woods that I rarely visit.  I also put a nice new article on vernal pools and salamanders by Peter (check the Vernal Pools page under the tab for Land, Plants, and Animals page) and a map of all our pools with numbers in the same place, so when we talk of them we’ll know what we mean. (Eggs are in pool #9.)

March 31, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Salamander Success

Well, after a false spring, a second winter, and another spring we finally got it right and on Wednesday night got to see lots of males, their spermatophores, and hoards of wood frog males swimming around hoping for mates.  Then Thursday night we struck the fairy shrimp jackpot!  See the red video as they came towards that color, and the white one taken right afterwards.  These 3/4″ long crustaceans live their entire life cycle over several weeks, then wait as eggs for conditions they ‘like’.  They are not seen often, and this was my first sighting.  Yesterday and todays rain should bring the female spotted salamanders into the pools to lay their eggs, and for the next several weeks these will be easy to see and watch as embryos develop.  Last year I even saw  juveniles slither out into the water from egg masses.

March 7, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Salamander migration not likely tonight.

The pools refroze over the weekend and are still almost completely locked in. Tomorrow is a better bet, though still several days earlier than last year. I’ll be at the kiosk tonight in case someone comes, but advise tomorrow. And if they don’t move tomorrow, then later in the week or even the following week. It depends on the weather, the soil temp, the calendar, and their inner physiologic drives.

March 1, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Salamander breeding–maybe tonight, probably soon

I’ve been watching the pools for signs of life.  This morning I saw the first frog hop in, and heard a few calling.  It’s the first rain of “spring” and a little earlier for mass breeding than in earlier years, but everything is becoming odd outdoors these years.  So I’ll be going up to explore starting at 8:00 tonight.  If anyone wants to join me, meet at the kiosk and prepare for wet footing.  If the animals choose to hold off, we’ll try again another day.

February 27, 2017
by Michael
0 comments

Time for Salamander Sighting

The “mole” salamanders move to vernal pools to mate around now.  They like the first warm rain in early spring (actually late winter) and they insist on darkness.  I’m checking the pools most nights after 8:00.   Last year on March 10 I got to see a large group together in the water plus a display of wood frogs mating.  (See my post at that time.) It could be earlier this year.  Please let me know if you’d like to join me on this “hunt”.  I’ll keep posting progress here.