NatureWatch by Category: Amphibians

An Orgy of Toads

The breeding season of frogs and toads is upon us, with one species after the other kicking into action as spring unfolds. American Toads will soon be calling, their sweet, dreamy trills blanketing the landscape both day and night. Last year about this time, I came across a frenzy of mating toads, partaking in a phenomenal orgy of activity … [Read more...]

The Woodies Have Begun!

Last night I found my first active group of Wood Frogs, the males cackling excitedly from a small pond in a nearby wildlife management area. What's more, females were laying eggs like crazy and I managed to get some decent video footage of the process: Just in case you're wondering, the entire sound track is contrived, built from other … [Read more...]

Salamander Poetics & Frustrations

In this two-parted blog post, I make an attempt to capture the poetic aspect of tuning-in to the salamander migration, and then follow that with an essay conveying my frustration at being unable to get great video footage, and the impact of that frustration on keeping the dream alive: POETICS: Sometimes it is easy to kiss the earth, … [Read more...]

Salamander Night – April 4-5, 2014

Last night, I was delighted to witness a fairly large-scale movement of Spotted Salamanders, mostly occurring in the wee hours of the morning. It's April 5 here in upstate New York. Most years, the spotties would be done by now. After dark, I met up with my friend Bill Wallauer and we checked out several locations near Syracuse, N.Y. One high … [Read more...]

Coqui Calling

Here is a brief video clip of a Common Coqui singing. Note how he warms up with single low-pitched notes before launching into his full call: ko ... ko ... ko ... ko-keee ... ko-keee ... ko-keee ... I hope you like my coqui video. This was the only male I found who lent himself well to being videotaped. Please let me know what you think of … [Read more...]

Coqui Retrospect

What a shocking change … in a matter of just six hours we transition from a humid tropical rainforest biome with temperatures in the high 80s (F) to a late winter north temperate snow-covered landscape with temperatures in the 30s. This seems almost incongrous, with coquis still sounding off in my head as a frigid breeze blows against my face. How … [Read more...]

Tinklers, Pippers and P’teekers

The Common Coqui (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is not the only member of the genus to inhabit the forests, fields, and roadsides of Puerto Rico. I believe there are sixteen species altogether. While I made no effort to search them all out, I did stumble upon several having interesting calls. My favorite (other than E. coqui) is a frog I have named … [Read more...]

Coqui Magic Night

  We arrived safely in Puerto Rico on Thursday afternoon and made our way without incident to the Casa Cabuy Ecolodge on the south edge of El Yunque National Forest. Quite a beautiful location, but we were disappointed to find that loud stream noise permeated the entire area ... without doubt, we will have to hike into the high country to … [Read more...]

Thousand Dollar Croaks

What's a ribbit, peep, or croak worth? For the sake of my sanity, I wouldn't dare calculate the amount of money I've spent over twenty-five years, chasing after myriad frogs and toads, documenting their calls. But there is one rather unusual frog that I will account for here, a remarkable amphibian that eluded me for years—the timid Crawfish Frog, … [Read more...]

Spring Clickers

It is that time of year when the first frogs will be calling from the vernal ponds and streams here in West Virginia. One of my favorite sounds is that of the Upland Chorus Frog. These beautiful little frogs sing at night looking for mates in hopes of bringing the next generation into the world. Their upward pitched song, a rapid series of clicks, … [Read more...]