Mar 25, 2009

Frog Monitoring

North American Green Frog (Rana clamitans)
Photo by Dustykid
I've always loved frogs, but now that I'm monitoring at the same site each year through FrogWatch, the frogs that are living in the 12' x 2' "vernal pool" (which is actually manmade and permanent except in really dry years) have become special to me. It's not just frogs calling in the spring, but my frogs calling, and I worry about the lack of rain we've had so far this year. No vernal pools, no frogs, so let's hope this weather system that's moving in can get the little guys cranked up on creating more little hoppers! If we all take a personal interest in the decline in amphibians, we're more likely to help stop the process.

And while we're on the subject of hoppers, from now on this year, on a warm (and especially a wet) night, you'll see them on the roads. I wouldn't suggest driving erratically to avoid these guys on the faster roads, but on roads with little traffic where you can go more slowly (like your driveway or farm lane), please be aware of frogs and toads that are likely to be in the road and see if you can avoid them. Driving really slowly helps.

Mar 15, 2009

Rain

Rain is falling in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. This bodes well for all our amphibians who lay their eggs in vernal (spring) pools, which depend on spring runoff and rain. With so little snow this year, the latter is more important.

When I hear weather forecasters say what a great day it will be because there will be no rain, I think of my hoppers, and all the other plants and animals (not to mention the farmers) who depend on rain. I think I'm willing to sacrifice my ballgame, or picnic, or whatever other activity depends on dry weather, to support all the hoppers, creepers, swimmer, and others who need that rain.

I could also just be selfish and say that I need it to keep the spring going that feeds water to the house I rent at the edge of Shenandoah National Park. We all need seasonal rains—not deluges, but the gentle, persistent rains that fill up vernal pools, recharge springs, clean out our streams, and soaks into the ground—to survive.

So, it's a great day out there—a soft rain is falling.