From the torpid dormancy of winter’s dark depths, they emerge with hormones pumping – crawling, hopping and slithering – flowing with the newly moving waters. Moist air is directed over amphibian vocal chords and surreal sirens’ songs burst from the chilly humid darkness. The calls are an invitation to dance the ancient dance of new life.
“I hear in the … meadow the most unmusical low croak from one or two frogs, though it is half ice there yet,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his journal March 18, 1853.
Another New Englander, contemporary herpetologist, Thomas Tyning writes, “Wood frogs sound so much like quacking ducks that many people are reluctant to believe that amphibians really make these sounds.” (Stokes nature Guide to Amphibians And Reptiles pg 87.)
Thoreau’s journal describes their call as “…a remarkable note with which to greet the new year, as if one’s teeth slid off with a grating sound in cracking a nut”. (Don’t try this at home. Dentistry is expensive.)
“Their croaking is the most earthly sound now, … in the awakening of the year … a rustling of the scurf of the earth.” 5 2 1852
Yep, here in the North Carolina foothills I heard those wood frogs’ “earth-scurf rustlings” coming from the pool in our back yard one warm day last week. This reminds us that the salamander rains will be coming soon and I’m sure you don’t want to miss your own neighborhood’s amphibian love fest this year! For the rest of the story (Some of the rest of the story, that is), check it out at: https://dougelliottstory.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/salamander-rains/
Also check out my updated calendar—lots of programs around the country this year http://www.dougelliott.com/calendar.html