Every spring, Mark and I try to get out to a couple of local ponds to photograph frogs. This year, we aimed for a pond favored by wood frogs. I went out by myself after work on Wednesday, March 31, to take a few photos. From several hundred yards away I heard a bunch of frogs calling, but as I walked within 50 yards, the pond went silent. I put on my waders and sat down in the water. Twenty minutes later–as if by magic–the frogs appeared at the surface.
Several minutes later, the frogs started calling.
I found this fella quite attractive.
And this pair quite lovely.
I like the reflection on this one.
I showed Mark some of my photos and he decided to join me the next night. We’d been sitting across the pond from each other for five minutes when I heard, “I don’t see any!”
I whispered across the pond, “We have to be quiet for 20 minutes!”
Five minutes later. “I see one, but he’s not calling.”
I shook my head and ignored him.
Fifteen minutes later, frogs emerged and began floating at the surface. Five minutes later they started calling, their little blow sacks puffing out from their sides. There were maybe half as many frogs as the night before.
I also found this water tiger.
I picked it up to take a closer look. I think he’s kind of cute, don’t you?
We returned to the same pond the next night and waited. And waited. Not a single frog appeared next to me; the closest scooted across the water about 25 feet away. In all, a half dozen frogs called from around the pond.
As with the two previous nights, the air was warm and mosquito-free, so we waited to see what else might show. A black squirrel came hopping over to take a sip from the pond. Three sandhill cranes flew overhead. A wood duck landed on three different trees nearby, as if looking for a place to nest. At dusk, a raccoon walked within 20 feet of me and scrambled up a tree after I said hello. When I could hardly see anything at all, two bats flew circles around the pond in search of insects.
Before we left, Mark turned on his flashlight and aimed the beam where several tree branches and twigs had fallen in the water. Covering an area about 10 feet long and three feet wide was a blue-black mass of wood frog eggs.
The nights the wood frogs all stay together at a pond are few and far between. It will be another year before we’ll have a chance to witness their magical act again. Any bets on whether Mark will remember the 20 minute rule?