Spotted Salamander found during a nocturnal forest hike

While it hasn’t felt like it this past week, Spring 2024 began on March 19th. Earth Spirit’s in between seasonal focus on maple sugaring has come to an end, along with, hopefully, these frigid days. It seems each day exhibits another reminder of Spring’s arrival. Trout lilies and other plants have started to burst through the forest floor and the buds on our trees are growing. ┬áChanges in our forests are not limited to the plant world. The annual salamander migration is well underway at different intervals throughout Western New York. During this time, spotted salamanders and other amphibians migrate en masse to vernal pools to breed. It is quite a sight to observe dozens of salamanders at once that are typically spending their time hidden underground. In the feathered world, more and more migratory birds are being spotted throughout Western New York. Canada geese are beginning to nest, and Great Horned Owl chicks are getting close to fledging the nest. Great Blue Herons are becoming more frequent in the area again, and soon breeding will be on their mind. Spectacular rookeries created by these wading birds will soon be bustling with activity along the Niagara River and in other places. Earth Spirit is holding a birding program at Beaver Island State Park on April 6th to hopefully catch a glimpse of these birds. The resident Osprey should have returned by then as well, hunting the river and the ponds for its fish prey. To celebrate another bird happening, Earth Spirit will be conducting a “Woodcock Walk” exclusively for members on April 20th! This evening-nocturnal program will focus on the American Woodcock and its famous spring behavior. This is one of the many benefits of becoming a member and joining the Earth Spirit family.

To view these two mentioned public programs as well as other events, click here! We hope to see you out there!

Recent Wildlife Sightings:

Sandy

  • 20 bird sightings from our Community Foundation Grant program along the Niagara River including four Bald Eagles, a Peregrine Falcon and lots of Red-breasted Mergansers.
  • Walked through a grove of planted Kentucky Coffee Trees at Unity Island Park.
  • Ongoing sightings of Red-shouldered Hawks at the Cabin in Colden.
  • A busy Red Fox left tracks and droppings throughout the woods at the Cabin.
  • Located a large stand of mature Black Gum trees and scattered Sassafras in Letchworth forest on the UB campus.
  • Spotted a mature Bald Eagle while driving on the outskirts of Hamburg.

Jon

  • flock of 50+ American robins, mostly male, in a grassy patch in Amherst.
  • active whitetail deer playing in the soccer fields at The Park School of Buffalo.
  • a mob of Crows most likely harassing a Great Horned Owl.
  • Bluebirds, Red-winged blackbirds, and Killdeer at Taylor Rd Park in Hamburg.
  • two flocks of Tundra Swans flying overhead in early March in Hamburg.

Daniel

  • Two Great Horned Owlets in an active owl nest.
  • Possible nesting Eastern Screech Owl at Reinstein Woods.
  • A pair of Barred Owls.
  • A Red Fox running with some sort of prey animal.
  • Spotted Salamanders in vernal pools in WNY.
Spring is here!

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