Last night I decided to keep these skills fresh and went out in search of a site for the project. The recorded observations need to be completed a half hour past official sunset time, and you need to be settled and still in order to fool the frogs into thinking you're not there. I drove down the road to determine a good spot that would not have road noise interruption but would be easy to get to and back from in the dark. I settled on a spot and hiked away from the road about a quarter mile. I knew this wet meadow would be a good site for at least Peepers because they had already begun sounding off. There must have been a hundred of them - the chorus was VERY loud. No worries about disturbing the Peepers - they could care less that someone was there. The chorus continued at a high level while I settled into a good spot and waited for the official observation time to begin. And then, there it was - a low roll that was different from the high pitched scream of the Peepers. Pickerel and Northern Leopard frogs have calls like that, Northern Leopard with an additional chuckling at the end. Would I be able to hear that through the peepers to distinguish between the two? There were more rounds of low rolling and then something else. Is that another type of frog – a Wood frog maybe? No, it's the chuckling after the low rolling! The pattern became clear and the fact that the Northern Leopards were sounding off in rounds with silent pauses in between became clear too. Over and over they called and added their voices to the mix of peepers. This was a very cool experience and like the frogs and their rounds of calls, one that I plan to repeat over and over.
Thanks to FrogWatch USA for their work to involve ordinary citizens in data collection that will help these delicate creatures. We know their numbers are declining because of habitat loss and environmental pollutants. Also thank you to trainers Katelin and Gudrun. The training that you do is creating an awareness of these beings – they have powerful voices but unfortunately humans don’t always hear them.