Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Peace and Quiet

Ah, peace and quiet! It’s good to have the mountain return to normal after the noise and excitement of this past weekend. Last evening I took a long and peaceful walk, including a streatch around the new pond. It was a sunny day, and the evening was calm and warm, though not hot.

I was hoping to find a few shorebirds at the upper and shallower end of the pond, though the water level turned out to be too high for that. I startled a single mallard; that was all.

And then the first frog squeaked and leaped into the pond just a few feet in front of my steps. It was followed a second later by another squeak and a second frog, then a third, and fourth. It was like watching that human “wave” thing at sporting events. One frog after another squeaking and leaping into the pond just ahead of my steps.

I started to count the frogs--15, 16, 17. There went a very large frog, no doubt a bullfrog, followed by 3 more, smaller frogs. Another step and this time 5 or 6 frogs hit the water, the next only a moment behind the one in front of it--32, 33, 34.

I am surprised at the number of frogs. For one thing, this is a new pond. It was only filled for the first time last summer. So these frogs are either all transplants from other ponds or this year’s production.

I keep walking and frogs keep leaping ahead of me—46,47,48. The new pond is about half a mile around. My plan for the evening is to walk the full length of the pond but then to cut into the woods and eventually head back to the cabin. My walk by the pond will only last for perhaps a quarter of a mile.

More plops. That time the frogs all jumped at once, and I’m not sure I’ve counted all of them. I’m glad to see so many. Acid rain has changed the ph of the streams and ponds in this state and has resulted in low or no reproduction for many amphibians. I’ve read several articles and heard stories from biologists about how the numbers of amphibians are cut in half or worse as a result of the lower water ph.
I kept walking. Frogs kept plopping. In the short stretch of my walk along the pond’s shoreline, I counted 73 frogs. And I know I missed some. I think I have never seen so many frogs at once in my life. It’s a good day.


ChicagoLady said...

Good news that you have so many frogs there. I hope they stick around till spring!

pablo said...

I'm glad you've had these heralds of such good news. Are the effects of acid rain finally being reversed?

Carolyn H said...

I don't know if the effects of acid rain are reversing or not, but seeing 73 frogs makes me hope that is the case. I suppose the test will be if many of them make it through the winter and into next year. I'm pretty sure many of them were this year's frog production.