[Tweeters] Amphibians

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Mar 17 20:51:10 PDT 2016

Lately in Port Townsend I've been encountering amphibians- you know, those vertebrate animals that live part time in water, part time on land (or at least many do). As a group they had some tough times way back in various geologic periods, with big environmental changes, like drier times, when their herpetological associates, the reptiles really took off. Of course some reptiles eventually turned into birds, which is why Tweeters was invented.
Meanwhile, here in Port Townsend, amphibians are still amphibians. I've already posted about moving to the Frog Neighborhood of Port Townsend - in fact the Chorus frogs are tuning up right now, even though it's kinda coldish out.
Some amphibians can take some real chills. I've seen Long-toed Salamanders in snow-melt ponds up in the subalpine zone - little tarns, surrounded by snow banks. I can't imagine breeding in 36 degree, or whatever ,water. The Long-toed Salamander is found from up high, down to sea-level. I just found one out at Cape George, as I cleaned up some old rotten wood on a landscape job- this kind of salamander spends most of it's life underground, or under something. It's a pretty little thing.
Last amphibian of the week I found today - just outside the entry to the Port Townsend Dump is a little alder swamp, the clear coffee-colored water up high. I was looking for a particular water creature, which I didn't find, but I did find a Rough-skinned Newt, another salamander, in the water. This is the time when they all head to a pond or lake to breed, sometimes very abundantly. The newt is a pretty creature too, in my opinion - chocolate brown above, bright orange below. Good looking, but don't eat one - they have some pretty toxic skin secretions - you don't wanna croak.
Always nice to see a amphibian!
Jeff GibsonPort Townsend Wa

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