Glacier Pools Preserve

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

April 6, 2017
by Michael
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

June 8, 2016
by Michael
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Peak Laurel

The Laurel does not get any better than this and should stay fine for a couple of days, possibly to the start of the weekend.   I suggest walking up the entrance path to the high field (very grand specimens a short bushwhack to the right about halfway up) then turning right on the yellow trail to the red trail out to the throne. Enjoy. 

May 19, 2016
by Michael
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Birds and Blooms

Two quick announcements: the Lycoming Audubon group is having their annual at Glacier Pools Preserve on Saturday morning 5/21 starting at 8:30. It’s not really a walk, but rather an introduction to birding for the rest of us. The warbler migration north is happening right now and their experts usually scatter around the woods and spend the morning helping us beginners locate birds of interest. Come any time and look for groups of people in the fields and woods.
And while you are here, the annual Ladyslipper Orchid bloom just started. They are beautiful. They are along the “Shortcut” trail near the field and are marked with a grey number 5 sign. Please be careful not to step in the area so you don’t injure invisible emerging shoots.