MINBURN, Iowa – Every year a cold October rain near the Voas Nature Area brings about a much anticipated event: The migration of the Tiger Salamanders in the immediate area.
The salamanders, being amphibians, need to be near a wet area. They wait for their annual autumnal move from ditches, fields and other areas back to the wetlands where they were born until a cool wet day or night. Being nocturnal, many of them make their move at night. Wednesday there was a good number crossing roads around the wetlands near Minburn.
This is Naturalist Cindy Blobaum’s favorite day. Blobaum is the Dallas County Conservation resident “salamander nut”. She learned of the migration years ago and has been working to make sure those who want to see an odd parade of nature can get to the right place at the right time. She also wants everyone to know she has no control over when the creatures move. She thinks Wednesday night will see heavy salamander movement and invites the public to come check it out. Blobaum asks anyone who does come out to be cautious driving and to be respectful when observing the salamanders.
Sophia Berry is 6. She’s watching her third migration. Sophia looked at today’s outing as observing nature, good preparation for becoming the scientist she wants to be when she grows up. She has progressed from her first visit. Back then, she wouldn’t touch the little animals. This year she kissed at least one before setting it down safely on the side of the road.
The best places to watch the migration this year–which might mean only Wednesday night–are the roads near the public hunting area northwest of Minburn. 180th Road, Lexington Place and 187th Road were busy during the daylight hours and might be Wednesday night.
However, Blobaum adds there are no guarantees in salamander migration.