101 Alternatives to the Chalkboard Educator's Conference. This long-running event has been held at the YMCA's Camp Kern for nearly 30 years, and it was a privilege to be a part of it.
Camp Kern sprawls over 485 acres, and the habitats are varied and rich in flora and fauna. In between talks, we found time for a bit of exploring, and our course took us by a large pond. Ambling along the pond's margins, I noticed several miniature frogs leaping from our path with the agility of leopard frogs. Cricket frogs! I alerted my fellow explorers and we launched into the hunt, determined to net one for closer viewing.
Blanchard's cricket frogs are said to be declining in many areas, but I still find them common in much of western Ohio. The pond where I made these photographs had scads of them. Cricket frogs are the last of our frogs to begin vocalizing, often not firing up the vocal chords until well into May. They make a sound similar to two pebbles being tapped rapidly together, and if there are lots of frogs, the collective clicking creates a symphonic cacophony of clacks. Sorry about that last sentence.
Anyway, should you find yourself along the sparsely vegetated verges of ponds, lakes, or streams, keep an eye peeled for these tiny jumpers.