The close of frog watching season
We are into fall. The leaves have barely started to turn, but nights are cool and the fall rains last all day. When last reported upon the gray tree frogs had fled for the trees and the bullfrogs have developed legs and lost their gills, completing the transformation. The bullfrog pond had at least 100 frogs lining the pond, but many disappeared very quickly. I wonder how many of them fell victim to the green herons that hung around for several weeks. Green herons show up most years, but this year one or two have been in near permanent residence. What were scarce were the great blue herons.
The large pond slid towards hibernation with daily counts of about 20 frogs around the inlet, outlet, and peninsula, down from the hundred soon after emergence. The tree frog pond became covered in pickerel weed, and never dried up. In fact most of the summer it was pretty full, and the fall rains have really raised it up.
This fall for the first time I noticed fall frogs in the pond. I had never seen frogs at this pond after the tree frogs dispersed for the year, so it really caught my attention. I never got a good look at them, they were very skittish. I took inventory in the usual way, counting how many frogs jump as I walk around the pond. About 20 frogs would jump. The alarm call was that of a bullfrog. So it appears a population from the other pond dispersed after leaving behind their tadpole life. Having not witnessed this before, it will be interesting to see if they can persist in the pond, and if they effect the breeding of the tree frogs. I look forward to next spring.
Final note, the big frog does have a new crop of tadpoles. I am not sure how big a population it is, visibility has been very poor in the water this year, But I look forward to the jumpers when the next round starts in March or April.