Posts Tagged 'frogs'

Frog Saturation

frogsA single frog can lay 20,000 eggs.img_9708The low murk of the Dell Water was full of hundreds, if not thousands, of frogs on a recent visit.img_9710Boy, are they jumpy! They know you’re coming before you know they’re there. Until you can’t ignore all the plops taking to the water. It was a little H.P. Lovecraftian, if you know what I mean.frogs1So what are these? Bullfrogs? No dorsal ridge…

Bull

Lithobates catesbeianus…Frog (Lithobates catesbeianus).

And bull! too, to the repulsive display of nativism, racism, ignorance, and unparalleled mendacity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Keep an eye or two out

IMG_2192

One Froggy Morning

frog1Green-Wood’s Valley Water, filled with tadpoles earlier in the spring, is now full of young Bull Frogs (Rana catesbeiana). At least, that’s what I think they are. The crowd including this frogpole, not yet completely transformed into an adult.frog2The lily pads spluttered as these little ones hopped, skipped, and splashed away, sometimes hitting several pads before find the shelter of the water. Most skedaddled well in advance of the camera.frog3But I managed to digitize a few of the dozens upon dozens of them.frog4The telephoto compresses space, so I’m not sure how close these two were. The mature frog would be a mouthful.

Frog, Turtle, ‘Gator

Lithobates catesbeianusBig Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus).Chelydra serpentinaBigger, much bigger: Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Possible looking for a place to exit the water and lay eggs (you need another reason to enforce the leash law in our parks?). Judging by the shell, I’d say I’ve seen this giant before. Also, even enormous Snappers start small; here’s a baby I found in Mass a couple of years ago.Alligator mississippiensisAnd much bigger still: an American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)Alligator mississippiensisSteady! Not in Brooklyn. Spotted on my Texas trip last month.

Green-Wood Harvest

Regulus satrapaGolden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa).g7g6g5Three different hickories, genus Carya. Bitternut, Mockernut, Shagbark? Rana catesbeianaBulllfrog tadpoles (Rana catesbeiana) were still to be seen swimming. A single Common Green Darner was flying. There was also a bee of some kind passing by. Dendroica palmarumPalm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum).Juglans nigraA field of Black Walnuts (Juglans nigra): these were thudderdudduding down in the wind; don’t stand under the walnut tree with anybody, not even yourself.Catharus guttatusHermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus).Diospyros virginianaCommon Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). They smelled absolutely fantastic. But, alas, the very ripe ones were mostly squashed.Diospyros virginianaAlthough they say the fruits need a freeze before they’re palatable. Brooklyn is just beyond the traditional natural limit of this species, but Green-Wood is full of exotica. As in this sprite:woodland sprite

Field Trip: Cape May

sunriseRothko sunrise on the big beach at Wildwood Crest on the Cape May peninsula, hanging down from New Jersey’s southeastern end like an appendix. I was on the beach about 50 minutes before sunrise, with a long row of mostly-empty-in-the-off-season motels behind me, and the Sanderlings already working the edge of the waves in the near-glooming dark. big bird boardA migratory bottleneck, Cape May is renown for birding in the fall, when southbound birds funnel along the coast turn right at the end of the peninsular, continuing over the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The place was simply swarming with bird-watchers, showing, incidentally, their economic if not yet their full political potential. We — a NYC Audubon tour led by Joe Giunta — visited the famed hawk watch on Saturday and Sunday, both times under unusually hot and muggy conditions. That’s crappy weather for migration; birds want a tail-wind behind them, and in October that’s a cold wind from the north. Still, birds were moving: 443 Sharp-shinned Hawks were seen there on Saturday. Our highlights included a mature Bald Eagle passing overhead, as well as numerous accipiters and falcons, giving me an opportunity to refine my sense of the differences between Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s, as well as between Kestrels, Merlins, and Peregrines.Hyla chrysoscelisHiding from the brutal sun, two Southern Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) no bigger than my thumb joint, were tucked into the hawk watch’s woodwork. This is an endangered species in NJ. Elsewhere, we heard tree frogs and cicadas (and mosquitos!), giving a rather tropical feeling to the woods at Higbee Beach WMA, except for the masses of black walnuts going to rot and squirrels at our feet.Sterna caspia, Larus atricillaThere are a number of ponds around the hawk watch, luring in ducks and waders (among many others, we saw Wood ducks, a Eurasian wigeon, Stilt Sandpipers, Black Skimmers, plenty of egrets). Here are some Caspian Terns (Sterna caspia), a new species for me, amid a scrum of immature Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla).Junonia coeniaBuckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia). Cape May is also noted for its Monarch butterfly congregations, channeled down the peninsula during migration like the birds. A volunteer was capturing and tagging the distinctive orange and black fliers with tiny little stickers; but it was a slow day in bad year for Monarchs (beset as they are at both ends of their epic migrations: their Mexican habitat is ever more chopped down and we continue to mow and pave over our grasslands, including the all important milkweeds).

An especial highlight of the trip was at sunset in the heavy fog on Nummy Island. Black-crowned Night Herons were leaving their diurnal roosts. Their bark-like “kwok” calls echoed in the fog, then the birds began to take flight to their nocturnal feeding grounds in the marshes and tidal flats around us.


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