Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

The Cool at the Pool

Reentry was always predictable—
compose a one-page piece entitled How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

And as the expected assignment was handed out to an audience of less-than-enthusiastic students upon their return to school each fall, part of me wondered if the intent in giving it was greater than its simply being an exercise in the retrieval of rusty writing skills.
The stories that must have been told…
the secrets shared…
the places traveled to, or not.
In truth, there was no better way for the teacher to acquaint herself with the students in her new classroom than to discover how each had chosen to spend that precious time away.

The Cool at the Pool

Not surprisingly, mine somewhat resembled an upstate New York version of Tom Sawyer, sprinkled with liberal amounts of Little Women, as the neighborhood matured and real-life replaced real children’s dreams. There were frogs and kickball, frogs and fireflies, frogs in the cool, clear Adirondack lakes and tents full of giggling Girl Scouts. There were fishing trips at dawn with my dad, days of building forts, after-dinner bike rides, nights of cartwheels on the lawn.

My time away may be from things which are different now.
But I find that I still have filled it with the very same--
play, friends and family.
And, yes, even now….frogs.

American bullfrog, female

American bullfrog, male

This photo is slightly fuzzy, but it shows how the size of the tympana (external eardrums, flat disk behind each eye) differ in male/female frogs. The tympanum of the male (photo left) is larger than the eye; whereas in the female (photo right) it is equal in size or smaller. This quick visual can be used with several species of frogs, including American bullfrog and northern green frog.

Relatively similar in appearance, green frogs can be distinguished from bullfrogs by the presence of a dorsolateral fold, a lengthwise ridge of skin on the back extending from the tympanum 2/3 the distance to the hind leg. In the above photo, the male is clearly a green frog. But what about the female?
Frogs will readily clasp just about anything that comes into contact with them, if in the mood. I've even held hands with many frogs that don't understand that, although I love them, it wouldn't work--we're just too different.

Coming soon...more of How I Spent my Blogging Vacation...
West Virginia New River Birding and Nature Festival
More of Michigan
Killdeer Plains OCVN Workshop, look here and here


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Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is a terrific post. I love these photos. They do scream summer. I laughed out loud at your holding hands with the frogs... Would you mind if I painted that first photo.?? Love it.

Murr Brewster said...

You need to, right now, find a place to send your first photo where you will win a wheelbarrow of cash. A wheelbarrow, I'm telling you.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Have at it, Lisa!
And thanks for the suggestion, Murr.
Right now a wheelbarrow of cash sounds delightful. Heck, a bushel basketful would even be great.
But, I'm most thrilled just to know others enjoy!

Mary said...

You brought back some very nice memories, Nina. I'll never forget book reports!

Love the frog photos!

Weeping Sore said...

Your third picture of the female bullfrog looks like she's holding a catcher's mit and saying "here batta, batta, batta.

Randy Emmitt said...

I got a photo just like the top frog photo under the lotus leaf on June at the Cincinnati Nature Center, it was so hot that day. Enjoyed this posting!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

We may have photographed the exact same frog, Randy.
Mine was taken on June 17--and it was indeed a HOT one!
I applauded the frogs for finding the BEST spot in the park!

swamp4me said...

Positively frogilicious! Thanks for sharing.

Laure Ferlita said...

Thanks for the smile at that first photo—if anybody's gonna know where to cool off from the heat, it's gonna be the frogs!

Thanks for the explanation on telling females from males. I was going to have to ask how in the world you could tell from a photo.

Loved the post and glad to see you back!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I loved all the frog photos! You have such a gift. I think my favorite is the one of the male bullfrog with duckweed all over him.

The Early Birder said...

Memories of how I spent my youthful summers but would I dare admit my

Welcome back Nina and thanks for the froggyfabulous post. FAB.

giggles said...

Welcome back... You've been missed.....

Heather said...

Hmmm..... that information about the frog tympana sounds SO familiar... :)

Kathiesbirds said...

Welcome back! We sure missed you. Thanks for the nature lesson and thanks for the visit to my blog.

Deborah Carr said...

This was unequivocally delightful. Made me laugh out loud. You definitely have a way with frogs.