Top Photo: American toad calls out from wetlands.
Like magic, American toads were out breeding in numbers on 24 March. It looked to me, though, most of the toads I witnessed splashing about, calling out, and attempting to mount one another were unsuccessful in finding suitable mates. It seemed most of the toads, if not all, were males.
Females are larger than males. All the couplings I saw were short-lived and consisted of rather small individuals. Males will mount other males if they come too close or don’t actively retreat when approached by another male. Once it becomes clear a female is not part of the package, the pair breaks off. A male/female pairing will go on long enough to deposit and fertilize several thousand eggs.
Hopefully, females will arrive soon.
One of the first-of-the-season ground skinks was seen crossing the path in Explore the Wild. The little lizard was missing its tail, probably taken off by a local predator and left wiggling at the scene of the assault while the skink ran off. A new tail will grow in its place.
Yellow-bellied sliders come to shore to breed each spring and summer. If the conditions are not favorable in late summer and fall for the eggs to hatch and hatchlings emerge from their subterranean nests they stay over till the following spring. We saw our first hatchling on 25 March in Catch the Wind. Ranger Lexi was there to see it.
Finally, a couple of parting shots of one of sixteen Canada geese present on a very warm Friday in March.
It’s time to get outside.