Friday, March 27, 2009

A Fine Frog

Red Maple
Fallen Flowers upon Bark

For an instant I’d heard it— then, again and again.
A sound more mechanical than animal, yet one I had hoped to one day hear, here, where the woods fade to fields and scrub surrounds the pond. But, with phone to my ear as I was, outdoors that evening chatting, positioned in the one spot guaranteed to carry a conversation through from start to finish, I dared not take a step.
In just minutes, all was quiet. And, walking back into the house in the darkness, I replayed it again in my mind. Yes, a handful of repeated nasal notes, with pauses between of several seconds.
I hoped what I’d heard was right.
For I wanted to have heard a Woodcock.

Each day that followed I returned, and listened carefully at dusk for the secretive bird, a shorebird at home in the woods.
Eyes to the sky for some sign of him.
Ears waiting for the telling call.
Still finding, each night, nothing.
Until, the bird I’d heard was a memory—
an uncertain one, at best.

Ten days passed, and on a bright and shining morning, wrapped up in the pond walking and pool watching that this season uses to distract me, I stepped up and over the berm toward Little Pond pool, eyes skipping over the grass, looking straight to the water’s surface. When, from just inches ahead of my steps, up shot a small, wildly flapping, brown bird.
And, against the bright blue, this shape certain—long bill, short tail.

So, I find myself returning there, each day, and walking slowly. To see who wanders the bank, probing the earth for worms.

Duckweed on Little Pond

And although I had hoped for a Woodcock,
I think this fine frog feels most special,
to have captured the attention of a grown woman,
while setting out to capture his dinner.

Young Bullfrog at Little Pond Pool

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Kallen305 said...

Excellent narrative and I love the frog picture!

Lynne said...

We've only heard the peent of Woodcocks once up at Hasty Brook but last fall Art flushed one. It's nice to know that they're there.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Timber doodles are becoming more difficult to find every year. I love to hear them and see them whirring around in the sky before it gets too dark. Seeing them during the day is reallly a treat.

RHCarpenter said...

Such a handsome fellow he is - and such a gift to have frogs on your property!

Wanda said...

I love the greens and blues of your pond with the dried grass surrounding it...especially when enlarged.

Diane C. said...

Enjoyed your fine frog find. It is lovely to go out looking for one thing and end up appreciating something else.

NCmountainwoman said...

Nice post. The frog is great, but I do hope you find your woodcock.

Cheryl said...

I love the thought of you going to the same spot each day to see the Woodcock....
I have done this so many times when I know a creature may be around.....I have been fortunate to see a beautiful barn owl.....and a cock pheasant......
but then your bullfrog is just as beautiful. I love nature.....and all she holds......

Deborah godin said...

Oh he's a fine figger of a frog indeed! Such a sweet little pond, too - love the green stuff - is it duckweed?

Robert V. Sobczak said...

It's true: when you go out looking, you usually find something you didn't set out to see. That's a good surprise.

Anonymous said...

I saw a little peeper during the salamander migration. Nice to see them back...nice to hear them too.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Deborah--Yes, that's Duckweed--and it always fills in, this time of year. A nuisance in some ponds, in this pool, it helps provide habitat for the many invertebrates that are eaten by salamanders.
Too much cover, though, and it can prevent underwater plants from producing oxygen.