Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toad Song

There’s usually more than a couple of days span between the first call of the Spring Peeper and the first song of the Eastern Toad.  My calendar records show Peepers normally active in late February and Toads showing up around April 1.  This year, Peepers preceded the Toads by only two days.  Peeper numbers have also been much lower than normal.  Daytime highs have been pushing 90 degrees, which I think is just too much for cool weather frogs.  The toads are breeding full force and the predicted continuation of warm weather should give them plenty of time to get their eggs laid before cool conditions return.

Toads usually stop calling when illuminated by a flashlight, but you can easily coax them back into action by producing a gurgly whistle.  In preparation of inflating the throat, a toad will inflate its body through a series of little breaths.  Then it will contract its body muscles to force the air into its throat pouch.  This guy has just finished the body inflation.

The call travels a long way.  It doesn’t take long for the pool to fill with toads.

Bullfrogs and Green Frogs are also wide awake and active.  They haven’t begun calling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened soon.  There were no large frogs at all living in the Water Garden at the end of last season.  These found their way here during one of our warm late winter rains.

This large Bullfrog had some particularly handsome markings.  I’ll have to move him out of here before he begins making meals of the smaller frogs.  A pool with Bullfrogs usually turns into a pool with JUST Bullfrogs.

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