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Wood Frogs Arrive at Vernal Pools

After noticing the sudden loud clacking chorus at a nearby temporary woodland vernal pool, I went down to investigate, and there were dozens of wood frogs floating on the surface, as they croaked their duck-like quacks in the hopes of attracting female wood frogs.  As far as I could determine, they were out of luck on this, their first day at the breeding pool, as I don’t believe the females have arrived yet.  One clue was the relatively small size of the floating frogs and it seemed as though every frog was calling (only males call).  Plus, time after time a wood frog would swim up to another wood frog and attempt to grasp it only to have the object of its desire utter a “release” chirp (a call made only when a male clasps another male) and swim rapidly away. 


9 responses

  1. This is fascinating!

    March 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

  2. Eileen J. Crawford

    Mary, I have a number of full sized frogs at my pond in north central VT. I’ve seen green and black ones. There is a chorus of ill sounding vocalizations at dusk and after dark. What type of frog am I seeing and hearing?

    March 24, 2012 at 1:02 am

    • Hi Eileen,
      At this date, the only vocal frogs that are in ponds, at least in central Vermont, are spring peepers and wood frogs. My guess is that you are hearing male wood frogs — their call sounds like a duck quacking, or someone hitting two stones together. Sorry you find it “ill sounding” — I quite like the loud chorus as it means spring really and truly is here! (Spring peepers have a high-pitched, single note call, which sounds like sleigh bells when there’s a lot of peepers singing.)

      March 24, 2012 at 1:20 am

  3. Pat Nelson

    The wood frogs have been quacking in my pond for several days, and today I witnessed (and photographed) something I had never seen before — 3 males on top of a female. They remained in this configuration for awhile — at least 10-15 minutes(?) after I became aware of them. I see that you mention this “frog ball” on p.2 of your book. I read elsewhere that the females don’t always survive. I don’t know whether this female did. She didn’t move and appeared to be submerged the whole time. I was not present when they separated, so didn’t see her swim off. But I didn’t see a dead body either. Also, when they were all conjoined, they were a couple of feet at least away from a submerged branch where the eggs might be deposited. I’ll have to check again tomorrow.

    March 24, 2012 at 4:59 am

    • Pat Nelson

      Hmm, this blog must be on a different time zone from New England. I posted my note at just about 1am — not 5am, as the time stamp suggests.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

      • I am in central Vermont!

        March 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    • Those frog balls are amazing, aren’t they? I must say I’m glad I’m not a female wood frog.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

  4. Pat Nelson

    Yes, Mary, I know you’re in VT. I am in NH and came to your program in Concord. I was just noting that when someone posts a comment here, the time stamp is off by 4 hours. I don’t know if that is something you have control over or if it just uses GMT.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

  5. Hi Mary, we are in MA and finding our first egg masses now. I so look forward to your informative posts and photographs!

    March 25, 2012 at 2:17 am

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