I don't think anyone will be surprised, but this year's edition of March Madness—the debut of amphibian mating life, not the basketball playoffs—began in late February. For the record, this has happened before, but only once, and then, at the very end of the month. So when I poked my head outdoors tonight during a gentle and persistent rain... a gentle and persistent warm rain... I was not exactly shocked to hear a faint chorus of Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs. However record-setting their debut, I was expecting them; the insane warmth that prevailed the last few days had, no doubt, reawakened the amphibians, and today's off-and-on-again downpours would, I guessed right, send the critters in the direction of the vernal pools to court and, soon enough, mate. Sure enough, as I slogged through the muck, waterproof Fuji and headlights at the ready, the Wood Frogs were plentiful. I heard, but, of course, never actually saw the camouflaged and close-to-impossible-to-spot Peepers. But the batrachians weren't alone: the bottom of the vernal stream that drains the temporary pond was alive with Spotted Salamanders, all heading up to the breeding area. The Wood Frogs did not mind the photographic attention; the "spotties" were less cooperative.