This year’s extraordinarily wet spring may have put a crimp in the plans for your garden, but the repeated soaking rains and slow progression of warming temperatures have provided that perfect world about which frogs usually can only dream.
While deep, dark ruts still mark the depths to which the tractor labored against mud and tall grass in the first mowing of spring, the amphibians in my yard couldn’t be happier. This year, those dual-lived dwellers of puddles, pools and ponds can casually complete their life changes without the race against water drying out, as happens so many other times.
Even before dusk, as the days of spring warm and the air thickens and becomes sweet with honeysuckle and black locust, a frog calls from a nearby tree. Before nightfall, he will climb down from his lichen-covered post nearby, make his way across the few feet of lawn and scale the cool, white side of the swimming pool. In the darkness, others will join him until 15-20 perch at the surface, poised in just several inches of clear water. Their raspy calls fill the damp night air.
By morning, small gelatinous clusters of 10-40 cloudy, white eggs stand out easily against the dark pool liner. The frogs, clinging by their sticky toe pads to the branches all around, seem to have become invisible in their lichen-colored skins…until the day fades and the frogsong brings them out once more.
For a lover of nature and, especially, a watcher of the same, this arrangement couldn’t be any better. Just feet from my backdoor and without even squatting down, I can stand eye-to-eye with this cauldron of amphibian activity. Of course, if you’d like to take a swim, the people pool must wait for its upstairs tenants to move along. Slower springs have found us carrying tadpoles by the 5-gallon bucketful to new homes across the field. Little Pond always welcomes them readily, though it’s far easier on the human transports if the frogs vacate the premises under their own leg-power.
I measure the progression of spring,
as 2 legs become 4,
as plump, dark, tailed bodies slim to frog shape,
as hundreds climb from the water to cross the cool, white side of the pool.
Summer is near when tiny gems of jade and gold escape to the safety of green.
these tiny froglets are under 1/2 inch long!
Tree frogs, in comparison with other frogs, are rather slow-moving and often climb, rather than hop, moving effortlessly along tree branches, well camouflaged by a quickly-changeable skin color. Adults eat crickets, moths and flies.
Can you see the spider, a bold jumper, waiting to tackle a tiny froglet?