MCR Monthly Newsletter

What’s Hatchn’ing at Merrill Creek Reservoir with Ranger Rich


About the Author: Richard Dansen Sr.

Rich has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in zoology and wildlife management. Rich has been with Merrill Creek Reservoir since 1995 where he teaches environmental education.

You can find Rich each weekend at the MCR visitors center talking about the wonderful wildlife and habitats of MCR. Stop by to say hi!

In writing this monthly newsletter, I hope to inform and educate readers about some of the wonderful and fascinating events going on in nature at Merrill Creek Reservoir each month. Enjoy!
– Ranger Rich

Ranger Rich


Amphibians begin to emerge:

Male wood frogs are usually the first of my smooth skin friends
with their dark eye masks to start calling even from on the ice on vernal ponds which are
temporary pools of melted snow where there are NO fish or turtles to eat their eggs….. The
eggs must develop quickly before the pond dries up in the summer.




Spotted salamanders also begin to awaken from underground burrows where they
have overwintered waiting for a warm rain. They are compelled by instinct to travel to a vernal
pond to mate often crossing busy roads to return to the pond where they were born! PLEASE
avoid hitting them. My grandsons love them!

BONUS NOTICE: Beautiful Peregrine Falcons have been staying around NW DIKE 1. At the
Inlet/Outlet tower parking lot. These magnificent predators can dive at speeds of 230 mph! And
spot a sparrow from 3 miles away!!!

Vernal pond: Temporary spring pool/pond that provides essential habitat where amphibian
eggs and juveniles develop quickly without predation from fish. Also a favorite of dragonflies!

Precocial animals are born with all their hair, feathers and scales and quickly ready to follow
momma on the move! e.g.. Baby ducks, deer, moose.

Altricial animals: a young bird or animal hatched or born helpless and requiring significant
parental care. e.g. baby robin or a human baby