Although there are still patches of snow around, I found this Salamander in the snow. I put it on the birch bark for the photo.
Here are some of the comments I received:
Nice find!!! It was probably sun bathing to help regulate its temperature. Might have just come out of hibernation? Are you familiar with how Amphibians hibernate? The first frost of the fall signals their livers to convert glycogen to glucose,essentially creating a natural antifreeze that spreads to the tissues and organs throughout their body. Pretty neat find there!
Wow! It does seem early but when I looked in my field guide one of the first things it said was “This cold tolerant salamander”. I am guessing it might be a blue spotted salamander. Did you notice any small blue spots? They migrate from where they hibernate to the ponds they will breed at in April according to the guide. Recently someone had posted a photo of a garter snake by some snow. Apparently they both can get a move on in cool weather despite being cold blooded.
Red-winged Blackbirds arrive back up north before the ponds are ice free. This is when they will come in to feeders and eat sunflower seeds. It’s cold out and he is keeping his red feathers hidden for the most part.
When one of his brothers get too close, he flares up his “epaulets” showing the red feathers in his wing.
Peanut butter smeared on a board is appealing to many birds.
Soon the Redpolls will be heading back north to their breeding grounds in the arctic.
It’s been a long time coming, but spring is teasing us with warmer temperatures. Some of the early arrivers include:
Ever notice how the Grackle flies with their tail held diagonally? That is a breeding display and the males only do this in the spring. The rest of the year they hold their tail normally.
The familiar call “konk-a-dee” can be heard early in the spring. The Red-winged Blackbird comes north very early – even before their ponds and sloughs have open water. This time of year they will come into feeders and eat sunflower seeds.