Friday, March 19, 2010

Peepers et. al.

Spring Peeper numbers have grown tremendously in the pond since last weekend. The sound of their calling is almost deafening. As you crouch at the edge of the pond, the peepers almost on your boot tops, the sound becomes a physical pressure inside the ears and your head seems to vibrate. Now that their concentration is centered on breeding, they pay little attention to my flashlight.

Most of the calling frogs prefer to perch on a bit of floating debris or an algae mat. Fallen branches make a perfect platform. It’s terribly difficult to pinpoint the location of a calling Peeper. Even when you’ve got them in the center of your spotlight beam, the sound doesn’t seem to match the visual. It’s like watching a film with an out of sync soundtrack.

Several frogs call from the pond bank. Since the number of calling frogs keeps increasing out in the pond, the frogs at the edge may represent new arrivals that haven’t yet found the prime breeding territory. This Peeper is at the edge of the pond calling from atop a raft of cut grass. The decomposing grass nourishes an explosion of unicellular organisms that will be consumed by the developing tadpoles.

A new batch of salamander eggs has arrived in the pond. I suspect that this cluster, looking very much like a plastic bag full of eyes, is from the Spotted Salamander. Spotted Salamanders should have bred during the rains last weekend. They are uncommon here, but I have plans to develop some additional breeding pools in an effort to increase their numbers.

Wood Frogs have produced several bunches of eggs. Eggs laid during high water times are sometimes stuck on branches that keep the eggs from dropping with the water level. After taking the picture, I rescued this bunch and made sure that it was properly submerged.

Not an amphibian, but this Mole Cricket took off at my approach and started to swim out into the pond. This was an unexpected encounter that added a little more zest to the evening. Mole Crickets are supposed to survive for two years in this area and overwinter as adults their second year, so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to find one.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to hear the peeps of the will be many weeks still, though. That mole cricket is SO COOL!!! OMG!! I'm pretty sure we're too far north for them :~(