Friday, April 5, 2013

Phenology 2013: Faltering Frogs and Wary Leapers....

Today I heard the first calling Anurans (Frogs/Toads) of the season.  Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) are generally the earliest frogs to call in the spring 'round these parts.  I've been listening intently at various wetlands nearby for the last week.....but these tiny amphibians have been extremely hesitant (and rightfully so, given our very cold spring this year).  Despite this, I've been anticipating their calls for several days now seeing that it has started to sneak above 50 deg F more frequently over the last week.

Today I finally heard them.....

In some parts of the region they are rivaled for first position by the Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvatica).  But we do not have Wood Frogs in the immediate I always consider the arrival of spring to be heralded by the Chorus Frog.

Interestingly, this is much different than their date of first call last year (which was a much warmer spring)....but on par with past dates I've recorded.

2012: March 14th
2009: April 14th
2008: April 8th
2007: April 27th
2006: April 12th
2005: April 7th
2004: March 28th
2002: April 6th
2001: April 14th

Beyond that....sometimes all that's needed are a few cool camera trap pictures.

First, an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).....

Then, what might be one of my favorite Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) pictures to-date.......

Foxes are so amazingly cognizant of their surroundings.  The Cuddeback has a lightning-fast trigger speed (< 1 sec.), which is the primary strength of this make and model of camera trap.  Thus, it almost appears as if this fox started to leap, sensed the flash, and faced the camera.....all as it was springing into action.

That is what I'd call complete situational awareness!


  1. No spring peepers your way? And I agree about the foxes, with the gray being even more wary than the red. Been trying out a new Reconyx and it is taking some time for the foxes to get used to that little red light... :)

  2. Hey John!

    We do have the Peeps.....but they are not as common in our immediate area (although very common in the state). They tend to prefer the wetlands with some component of woodland nearby....and many of our wetlands around the university were traditionally in savannah...and are often currently adjacent to agriculture. The peeps always start after the chorus frogs here, though not by much.

    I saw you've been working with some Reconyx now. That's awesome! I love my Reconyx best of all my cams.....wish I could afford more.

  3. Here, peepers are very common but I have yet to hear a chorus of chorus frogs, more like a few. So I wonder if they start a bit earlier than the peepers but I just don't notice them... Have to listen for that next year I guess.

  4. Great pics Traillazer. I also love hearing the little frogs in our area - wish I knew what they were.