Update on Beals Preserve Wildlife Survey Project
Published on June 5, 2014 by Eileen Samberg
In March of this year, SOLF began a wildlife survey of reptiles and amphibians at Beals Preserve. The project was originated and is being directed by SOLF member Lawrence Spezzano of Southborough with the generous assistance of wonderful volunteers from Southborough and other communities!
Lawrence reports that after two months of data collection, amphibian diversity has been impressive with 7 frog species and 4 salamander species found, which is nearly 50% of the 23 species recently documented in Massachusetts. Frog species found, collected in, or near, the transects include: American Toad, Spring Peeper, Green, Grey Tree, Pickerel, Leopard, and Bullfrog. Salamander species found include Red Back, Dusky, Four-toed , and Yellow-spotted.
Reptiles have been more rare so far, in this generally cool spring, with 12% of 24 species observed including the more cosmopolitan Painted and Snapping turtles and Garter Snakes(no surprises, there!). Going forward, June and July should provide more wonderful examples of local reptiles as the WHIP plywood transects provide ideal cool and humid microhabitats. Lawrence expects the warmer weather to draw out more activity and the volunteers have already begun to see evidence of this when piloting turtle traps in the Ice Pond, finding discarded skins and and observing reptiles basking.
SOLF volunteers will continue to collect evidence, including bird, mammal, insect and plant diversity, over the course of the summer and fall. More volunteers are needed, so contact SOLF at firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested. These invaluable data already suggest relationships among species, their gender, length and mass, which could drive future conservation efforts in Southborough and neighboring towns! Could the Beals Preserve be a major resource supporting salamander maturity, frog reproduction and reptile hibernation for populations throughout central Massachusetts? Stay tuned!
You can see some photos of the survey below.