Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Big Day

Press play, close your eyes, and listen carefully. Do you recognize this sound? Don't peek at the video. Just keep your eyes closed and listen for 18 seconds.

Press play again and watch this time. Now do you know what animal it is?
Here's a closer view:

Last week marked the beginning of the wood frog migration here in southeastern Massachusetts. The first night, known as "Big Night for Wood Frogs" usually happens on the first warm day following rain. Over the weekend of March 13th and 14th, we had lots of rain. Not so good for the many homeowners who had flooded basements, but great for wood frogs and other amphibians getting ready to come out of their winter homes and procreate!

I knew Thursday the 18th was a prime day. So my four-year-old daughter and I packed up some water and snacks and headed out for our first wood frog adventure of the year. We walked through the woods, approximately 1 mile northwest of our home, to the pond we know the wood frogs visit. Within 200 yards of the pond we could hear their clucking sounds. This one sat completely still on the bottom of the pond. It was still a bit slow so we were able to catch it.
After gently holding it and observing it, we carefully placed it back in the water where we had picked it up.

We were so excited that we headed home to invite some friends to see the frogs with us after school. We met my eight-year-old son off the school bus and headed out.

Together we observed frogs floating on the water,

listened to the frogs songs,

and watched for ripples on the water that happen as frogs puff up and then cluck to each other.

I didn't lecture or try to teach what I know about wood frogs. We just soaked in the wonder of it all, pointing out things we noticed. I asked the kids, "What do they sound like?" My son's friend said, "ducks." My daughter said, "chickens." Both good comparisons, I thought.
Photo taken by Alison
We arrived home tired and hungry, yet energized after such an exciting day.
Special thanks to Alison for sharing her photos with me.