Thursday, May 14, 2009


Followers of this blog may recall that I have special fondness for roadkill. Here is a female Northern Oriole in good condition found dead on a Newton Road last May. I also found an American Goldfinch that month. Birds may be more likely to get hit during early Spring as they return from migration and settle unfamiliar territories? Spring and Fall are also good times to check for window collisions. My best find in Newton is pictured here. Now is an excellent time to be looking for live birds as well as spring migration has peaked. Nahanton Park and Mount Auburn Cemetery are excellent spots to visit within the next few days.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Eastern Newt

Here's a photograph of an Eastern Newt from south Newton. As far as I can tell this salamander species which is common in Massachusetts is rare in Newton. If you have seen this species here, please let me know.

Most salamander species in our area have aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults, aside from some stream-dwelling species. In contrast, adult Eastern Newts are typically aquatic, and inhabit permanent ponds with fish. Interestingly, juveniles spend several years as terrestrial "efts" before returning to ponds as adults. Eastern Newts have been shown to be sensitive to forest loss, which helps to explain their relative rarity in Newton. Eastern Newts sometimes inhabit semi-permanent ponds (vernal pools), and at these sites adults seem to emerge from the ponds in the fall and overwinter in the forest, only to return to the pond in the spring.

Here's a link to a picture of two other local salamander species. How many amphibian species occur in Newton? Help me find out by reporting your sightings to me.