Sunday, April 22, 2012

Phenology: antlers, toads and treefrogs....

It seems like some of these bucks just lost their antlers!  There were individuals showing up on our cameras in February that were still holding their racks....and already they've started to come back in some males.

No doubt it's a high-resource environment, with an associated risk of mortality that must be pretty small.....  Also, I guess the testosterone has started flowing again!

This is not too far off from when I first started seeing the antler buds peek through on the bucks when living down in NC last year....


On the evening of 4/15/2012, I heard the first American Toads (Bufo=Anaxyrus americanus) calling of the season.  These were pretty early like many of the other frogs this year....but not as far out of their normal time as the Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) have been.  They did not call for very long (one or two strong nights) and then the weather cooled, which seems to have slowed them.  I imagine I'll hear them again.....

It's also worth noting that I am also still hearing Chorus frogs calling with some intensity....despite the fact that they began so early this year.


Although I have not heard Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) calling yet this year (that would be WAY, WAY early)....I saw my first adult of the year.  Just behind he house on our deck.  We have been preparing some of our potted flowers and vegetables for the coming summer and I moved our potted blueberries out of the garage and onto the porch today.  There was a pile a leaves near the vent for our clothes dryer that was about where I wanted to put the blueberry pots.  I was brushing these leaves out of the way by hand, when out tumbled a nice little treefrog.  The leaves were damp and the dryer vent must have provided alittle warmth as we were doing laundary. 

Much to my daughter's delight, we got to look closely at him as we moved the blueberry pots into place.  I left some of the leaves in a pile near where I had moved them from (so they were next to the blueberry pots).  Then I carefully placed the little fella in one of the pots, figuring he could move on his way as he saw fit.

I wonder if this was one of our nocturnal hunters from last summer?


  1. That's a great thing about Camera traps. You can really learn some natural history from them. Thanks for the post!

  2. Things are happening super early here, and our deer have dropped their antlers also (but not all the elk have done so). Our chorus frogs (I think) have started singing in the past week. I think that we're on the same schedule as you are! The problem here is that we're likely to get a 4' snowstorm, and I don't know what will happen to all the early risers then!

    I've never seen a tree frog before. Very cool!