Mini Frogs and Buzzy Birds

A very young Pickerel Frog in the mulch under one of the trees next to the Wetlands (6/1/12).

I began to notice freshly morphed Pickerel Frogs on the paths here at the Museum during the last week of May. On June 1st I saw three hopping across the path and reasoned that if I saw three out in the open there must be many more along the sides of the path in the grass. I was right. At the Secondary Viewing area for the Wetlands (between the Red Wolves and the Lemurs) I saw dozens of the little one inch frogs in the grass just above the water.

Why so many Pickerel Frogs in one place at one time? Pickerel Frogs breed between February and April here at the Museum. The breeding peaks in early to mid March. About 70 – 80 days later the tadpoles that hatched from the eggs which were deposited during that breeding, begin to morph into frogs. That’s why we’re seeing so many of the little frogs at this time. These are the young of the adult frogs that we saw and heard back in March.

As this is the time of year that we see many other juvenile creatures walking, swimming, and flying around the campus here at the Museum, I wasn’t surprised when I heard the persistant buzzy calls of a family group of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in the willows on the north side of the Wetlands.

A juvenile gnatcatcher waits for instructions from its nearby parent on how to glean insects from the willows.

A pair of these tiny insectivores nested in a pine at the northwest corner of the Wetlands. The family group that I was watching was probably from that nest.

Treefrogs have been active for well over a month now. I suspect it won’t be long before we start seeing some of their young on the leaves and twigs of the trees and shrubs around the Wetlands. In fact, we’ll be looking for them in Summer Camp next week!

See you then.

2 responses to Mini Frogs and Buzzy Birds

  1. Sherry says:

    I saw hundreds of tiny frogs- the size of a pencil eraser – in the crevices of the rocks of the bear moat. They were camped out under the blue green algae.
    I was amazed at how many there were and how small they were.

    • Greg Dodge says:

      Yes, just before you guys cleaned the pool I was seeing many, many little tadpoles, apparently ready to morph into frogs, clinging to the sides of the lower pool just below the surface of the water. They looked to be treefrog (Hylidae) tadpoles judging from their size, probably a mixture of peepers, chorus, and cricket frogs but hard to tell for sure from where I stood, at the overlook. They are certainly tiny when first morphed.

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