There was an issue validating your request. Please try again later.

Campus paving begins April 15. Please refer to the Helpful Info page for updates regarding temporary changes to campus access. Trails remain open.

The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Kissing Asphalt

Posted by | April 1, 2023 | Filed under: Observations
Chunks of asphalt continue their generational migration out of the Wells Reserve's parking lot on a recent "Big Morning"

In an exciting event for one decidedly amateur naturalist, today marked the “Big Morning” for the Wells Reserve at Laudholm’s most unique “amphibians” as they made their annual migration from their winter pothole habitats to nearby vernal lawns. This natural phenomenon occurs each year in early spring as warmer weather and light rain provide ideal conditions for the variably sized chunks of asphalt, Brea fauxrealis, to emerge from craters and snowbanks to make their mythic journey.

Throughout the morning, an enthusiastic Nik Charov, president of the reserve’s nonprofit partner Laudholm Trust, could be seen helping the aggregate lumps safely across the reserve's main parking lot, ensuring their successful passage across the pavement to the nearby grass. This season’s migration saw a record number of chunks and provided a spectacular sight for those lucky enough to witness it. “If you’re patient, you can actually see them move,” Charov exclaimed. “They’ve been leaving our parking lot for years; it's magical. And some of them are the size of dinner plates. Look at them go!”

Paul Dest, a Maine Master Naturalist and executive director of the Wells Reserve, looked on in dismay and pity. “While I always appreciate his curiosity, Nik could not be more wrong. These are 100% not living beings. They are pieces of our parking lot, which will be repaved this April with the help of much-needed federal dollars from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the real ‘Big Night’ is an annual migration of actual amphibians as spring returns. It allows for the continuation of their species, and conservation efforts to protect these amazing creatures and their habitats are essential to ensure their survival in the future.”

A novice herpetologist counts Brea fauxrealis

← View all Blog Posts