i got up an hour early to get a headstart on work. i knew the weather would be nice and the sooner i finished with the project the more time i'd have to go naturing. the temperature went above 70 degrees today; it hasn't been this warm in a few months and i took full advantage of it, opening all the windows in the house. i didn't get done until 2pm, and stayed with client P for another hour going over the interactives that i hand-delivered on cd-roms. a bit past 3pm i left and went to the cafe to get some food, before deciding to head out to habitat in belmont by 4pm to get a dose of spring.
i almost didn't find the place because the large tract of forest on the opposite side of the main road (concord avenue) had been completely stripped bare in preparation for some sort of development. it made me sick, i remember being in there a few years back, finding a bunch of ladyslippers. now all that's left are piles of dirt and boulders and construction equipment. i was surprised to see a few cars in the habitat parking lot, folks out enjoying the weather like i was apparently.
habitat is not one of my favorite nature spots, although i come here occasionally only because it's close. i've seen some interesting things certainly (such as): monster snapping turtle, blister beetles, pink coral fungus, tiger swallowtail, and a garter snake. looking back, i suppose that's a pretty good track record, but i've outgrown this place (yet somehow i still keep on coming back). i knew there's a vernal pool and made my way down there, hoping maybe i'd get lucky and spot a salamander even though i knew conditions weren't right. i could hear the vernal pool before i even approached it, the noisy croaking of wood frogs filled the air. by the time i got to the pool though, they all grew silent. with my binoculars i could see frog heads poking out of the water. although the calls were definitely wood frogs and only wood frogs appear this early in the season and only wood frogs lay their eggs in vernal pools (tadpoles of other frogs take too long to develop, these pools usually dry up before they can mature) - the frog heads looked like green frogs. i turned over a few logs but came up empty. the nearby tree trunks provided evidence of where the pool depth used to be - it's been a particularly dry month of march and massachusetts is currently under an advisory for brush fires.
after a slow walk through the rest of the preserve, i made my way back out to the parking lot. a man with a briefcase came out of the headquarter building and asked if i saw anything interesting when he noticed i was looking up into the trees. "not really, still too early," i told him. i asked him if habitat was doing any sort of salamander migration program. he said they didn't because the vernal pool they have there actually doesn't have salamanders. he said most of the migrating salamanders like the spotted salamander live west of route 128 (news to me!). however, he said here at habitat they have "a lot of" red-backed salamanders, and you can find them through the forest. he told me that if you put out some logs and turn them over, there's a pretty good chance of seeing one of them.
i got home by 6pm. the temperature had been dropping and by then it was hovering in the 60's, as i decided to close all the windows. i had ramen for dinner. my friday night routine of a hot bath ended up not happening because the latest issue of entertainment weekly didn't show up in the mail.