Skip to main content

Peeps and Rasps

It's not only the birds that are possessed of silky voices and interesting vocalizations, you know.

Anyone who is spending much time outside these warming days will have noticed other sounds - sounds from the amphibian world. If you are interested in learning about bird calls, you'll want to know about the above critter. It's a Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer. These are tiny tree frogs, distinguished by that (more or less) X marks the spot on the back.

Peepers do just that - they PEEP, and at deafening decibels. Their "song" is created by the male, who inflates a sac of loose skin at the throat to herculean proportions, and lets loose. The resultant notes are rather bird-like, and if one manages to get themselves surrounded by a managerie of calling peepers, the chorus almost hurts the ears.

This time of year, Spring Peepers gravitate to wetlands to breed and lay eggs. Almost any little bathtub-sized wet spot will do, really. Here's what they sound like. I bet you recognize that!

The other loud, conspicuous frog that is calling now is the Western Chorus Frog, Pseudacris triseriata. They are abundant, and often mixed in with Spring Peepers. These miniature tree frogs sound like someone running their finger down the teeth of a comb, but boosted by a stack of Marshall amps. Or perhaps a maniacal infant feverishly cranking the handle of a wind-up toy. LISTEN!

Enjoy the amphibious symphony will you can. It doesn't last long.

Comments

Oh yes I hear them many places but seeing them is a different story.
Anonymous said…
any tips on how to actually see them. I can stare for an hour looking for them, looking for moving throat pouches. Nada. Are they in the shrubs? Water? I'd love to show my kids.
Jared Mizanin said…
Jim...too cool! I had to get wet...and very wet...to finally photograph my first Western Chorus Frogs this past Tuesday. Totally worth it!

And to answer the above question, they are hidden VERY WELL. Prior to this week, the only one I had ever seen was during a midday chorus when my father spotted one through his binoculars with just its head protruding. The ones I found this week were partially in the water within large clumps of aquatic grasses/reeds...can't identify the plants, but Jim can!

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…