This has been a year of flood and drought at Blue Jay Barrens. There have been several heavy rain events that dropped inches of water in a short amount of time. Each rain was then followed by several weeks of dry weather. Temporary pools have been appearing and disappearing all summer. A two inch rain in mid-August produced an eight inch deep pool in the dry pond bottom. Gray Treefrogs took advantage of this event to fill the pool with eggs.
Because the original breeding event spanned more than a week, the young from the later eggs were not developed enough to leave the water. Without intervention, they would all perish.
By the time I arrived with net and bucket, the mass of tadpole bodies seemed greater than the water they were in. I like to make the classic rescue just as the clock ticks down to its final second. When the shrinking pool crowds the tadpoles together nose-to-tail, it’s easy to herd them all into a waiting net.
The first of many nets full make it into the bucket. A few aquatic insects and snails managed to sneak in with the tadpoles.
An expanding sediment cloud marks the release of a bucket full of tadpoles into the water garden. Further releases were made into any tub I had that contained enough water to sustain tadpole life.
Many of the tadpoles were at the four leg stage and needed only a few more days of aquatic life.
Two days following the rescue, I found many young frogs making the transition to a terrestrial life style. Most still displayed a remnant of their tail.
It has been many years since the Gray Treefrogs have had such a successful breeding season. During the past six weeks, I have encountered one or two young frogs every day. I’m glad I was able to assist in adding several hundred more frogs to this year’s output.