First calling Toads of the season

Communing with the Toads

I have been trying to figure out when the Fowler’s Toads were going to start arriving at the temporary pond in the North Burial Ground for the annual ritual of reproduction. Over the years the criteria that I have arrived at is first and foremost a pond with sufficient water. When the pond is too dry, it would be a wasted effort even for gamblers like toads, with 2 or 3 years out of 5 with complete cohort failure, The next criteria I can only verify by my own observations, I have never seen it in a book or on line, though I can not be the first to see this. Fowler’s Toads seem to require temperatures near 60 degrees Fahrenheit as it gets dark. Until Monday May 9 no evening in recent weeks, or when there was water in the pond, had been warm enough.

On Sunday May 8 I saw a toad burrow in the sandbank above the temporary pond. I only found these last year, so I do not know the timing of burrow digging. By the end of winter all the holes were filled back up. But it is clear the first one was re-excavated over the weekend. It was excavated into one of the zones that are eroding/filling in after being used last year.

I have been going out nearly every evening, especially since the pond filled last week with all those little rains. Monday May 9 the evening temperature was near 60. Since I saw the new burrow I had to assume at least one toad was around. So I was a bit hopeful that the3 warmer temperatures would prove fruitful.

I arrived at the pond sometime after 8:20, and it seems the first singer was just getting started. As the night grew darker the first singer was joined by at least one, and probably 2 other singers. Though Fowler’s Toads are not at all melodic. They were going strong when I left about 9:30, though no new singers had joined for a while. Interestingly, I did not see any new burrows when I walked by this afternoon (May 10) maybe only the females make burrows, as sometimes it seems the boys just stay at the pond through the whole mating season, which can go from early May to Early July.

I usually give a narration of what is going on in my videos, but in this case I want you to concentrate on the toads and not on the narration. So I did no narration. Hence this little note. The video is a progression from about 8:20 to 9:20, but i just include here a few short samples. If you want the whole 30 minutes I taped, come on down to the pond some evening real soon. Life is better than memorex. I am happy to go with you. The video starts as dark descends with one toad singing. As it gets darker another two toads eventually join the chorus. The 3 all sound a bit different, and standing by the pond I could discern at lest a few feet of separation of two of the callers.

Response to article in RI Future on Burrillville’s crisis

The political class in Rhode Island seems to be oblivious to the growing resistance. It may cost some of them their jobs.

Between quality of life issues, the fact that it will not save us any money once the gas starts being exported, and climate change, it is only the political and business classes who wish to maintain the old order and their power who support such a retrograde project. It is going backwards to build any additonal fossil fuel infrastructure and it will be useless, dangerous, and obsolete before it is finished being paid for. This will leave the people of RI on the hook for stranded costs for a plant that should never be built.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have openly recognized that everyone else on the planet has already opted for a clean energy future right now, with the only exceptions being the rich and the powerful.

In Rhode Island the elite has regularly tried to push on us some high priced or mega project for the supposed jobs that it would bring. When the public has been involved in the discussion we have stopped a bunch of stupid stuff like the Quonset megaport. When the public is kept out we get 38 Studios. It is clear the public has more wisdom about these things than the political class. Do not let the politicians drown the state No power plant in Burrillville and no more fossil fuel infrastructure anywhere. Clean energy and clean energy jobs are the future.