Reptiles and Amphibians

It is spring, and rapidly approaching summer. The reptiles and amphibians of our wetlands are busy doing whatever it is they do at this time of year. Sliders and other aquatic turtles are out basking in the sun. Musk turtles are eating. American toad eggs have been hatching. There are 35 turtles on the logs in the banner at the top of this page. Among those is one of the largest, if not the largest, yellow-bellied slider in the wetlands.Read more

The Rana Dilemma

Back in 2009, I noticed a large concentration of bullfrog tadpoles in the northwest corner of the Wetlands. The tadpoles were congregated around a pipe which drains the higher ground above, particularly the Red Wolf Enclosure. I didn’t know why the tadpoles were gathered in this location but speculated that it was due to either the concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, higher temperature, algal growth (their main source of food), or a combination of those things. Something hadRead more

Sardines in the Wetlands?

Off and on all winter, there have been tadpoles concentrating along the shore of the Wetlands between the end of the boardwalk and the main Wetlands Overlook. Some days the tadpoles are still, but often the water boils with their squirming bodies. Every so often, I catch some of our winter resident mergansers in the area, no doubt taking advantage of the concentrated mass of “food.”Read more


It’s cold outside! The water of the Wetlands is frozen clear across the pond. The Hooded Mergansers have taken flight for larger bodies of water. I’ve seen the Belted Kingfisher fly in each day to inspect the pond for open water only to leave frustrated, its loud, raucous rattle filling the frigid air. The Great Blue Heron has stuck it out, staying on the fringes of the pond where it might find a small patch of open water. Is there any openRead more

Treefrogs Emerge From the Wetlands

I noticed a few newly morphed treefrogs on the vegetation surrounding the Wetlands. Both Green Treefrogs and Gray Treefrogs are emerging from the water as adult frogs and taking up positions in the vegetation surrounding the Wetlands. The two frogs pictured below are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length, still quite small considering that they’ll grow to about 2 inches. You may also notice that the Gray Treefrog is rather green, especially on the dorsal surface (back). They canRead more