Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring has just begun

Last night just before going to bed I took a look outside to check the weather. “Oh, wow! It’s raining. Yeah!” Quickly I grabbed my camera, coat, hat and keys and jumped into the car to drive up to the small pond where the Wood Frogs in my area congregate to have a frog orgy. They call it explosive breeding. I have seen it before at this location but it isn’t something one can tire of.

I was in luck! I wasn’t even at the location before I found Eastern American Toads (Bufo a. americanus) crossing the road. They looked young. Several were dead on the road and I will spare you those photos but it looked like a lot of them probably made it to where they were headed. I’m not really sure where they go except to vernal pools scattered thorough Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area.
I didn’t  hear them calling their usually high-pitched trill. Probably this weekend if it isn’t raining and I am out hiking I will hear that call. It is a really neat sound.

Back into the car I drove to the pond where the Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) were breeding last year. Sure enough, I begin to see them crossing the road. I had to drive very carefully to make sure I didn’t run over any. Fortunately, there was no traffic on this rainy night at 11:30. Most sensible folks were in bed already and the frogs and I had the road all to ourselves.

They were heading to a pond that is surrounded by stickers so climbing through them in the dark and rain to the waters edge was no easy task. Like the female frogs, I was drawn to the males quacking call. Most of these frogs also looked young. Click on the photos for closer views and check out the eye shine. I never noticed before how blue it is.

Here is a pair that found each other. The male is on top and has his front legs wrapped tightly around the female.

Sometimes they get mixed up and two males will approach each other like these two. I saw them quickly touch, squabble and leave all with in a second or two.

By now I was pretty soaked because I grabbed the wrong coat, it was midnight and the 4:30 a.m. alarm goes off pretty soon, so I headed back home. One last stop to move another American Toad off the road.

It felt cold and very thin. I placed it to the side of the road so we could both rest easy the remainder of the night.

Last year I blogged about the wood frogs if you want to read about my experience a year ago you can click here.

This morning while waiting for the train near the C & O Canal I head Spring Peepers.
Spring is here for sure.

See more Camera Critters.


Debbie said...

I love frogs, just love them! Have a great weekend, you have some great shots there:)

Ellen Rathbone said...

Yowza - you got some great portraits last night! As warm as we've been, I don't think we are quite ready for frogs yet. At this rate, though, it could be sooner than I'd expect. Afterall, I wasn't expecting to hear Canada geese last night!

Squirrel said...

Wow, these are great!!

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

You haven't entered for my 100th post and I don't want anybody to miss it! Here's the direct link:

eileeninmd said...

Great post on the frogs. Cool photos too!

Mumsy said...

These are great photos! We don't have them in the city so it's good to see.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

What a fun post with really neat photos, thanks so much for the trip into the woods.

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

What an interesting blog you have- we will have to return to learn more!
Great frog pics, you are so dedicated to go out at that hour.
Thanks for sharing
Darryl and Ruth : )

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Very adventurous of you to visit the frogs late at night. Well worth it though Eh! Valerie

kate said...

I think we'll be getting out "big night" soon. Overnight temps are finally staying in the 40s, can't wait to hear the wood frogs and the peepers!! best sound ever!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wow! How cool and so interesting, thanks for the pictures and information.

Joops said...

Very nice!

Please take a peek of my sister's PETS

Oskar said...

I love hippities! We have them that breed and live in the flower beds on either side of our door.

I always try to play with them, but they are coated with something that makes my mouth foam. My mom person says I will never learn!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire said...

I'm jealous that you have frogs and toads out already! I can hardly wait until we start hearing the spring peepers in the swamp on our way home from work. For some reason frogs just make me happy. Nice photos!

Nick Ingram said...

Love your frogs. Cool.