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Spring Frog Survey!

Moore Lake

Spring Frog Survey!
By Patricia Wilson, KLT Volunteer

One of the first KLT spring stewardship days couldn’t have happened on a nicer evening. A group of eight KLT volunteers and our guide Thom Unrau, KLT Stewardship Coordinator visited the beautiful Dance Nature Sanctuary to hike the trails and listen to the first sounds of spring – frog calls.

Frogs are the true indicators of spring – or at least warmer weather. We were told that terrestrial frogs, which hibernate on land, are some of the first to be heard during the early spring which include Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs. Frogs that overwinter in ponds (aquatic frogs) such as Leopard frogs and American bullfrogs, will emerge later in the spring. Terrestrial frogs will burrow into leaf litter or deep cracks or crevices in logs or rocks where they will be protected however when temperatures reach below freezing the frogs will also freeze, keeping them in a dormant state until the warmer weather comes, thawing them and waking them from hibernation. Since water takes longer to warm up the aquatic frogs will remain in their hibernation state for a few weeks longer.

During our walk around the pond at the Dance Nature Sanctuary, we stopped to listen to the frogs calling from the marshy wetland that surrounds the pond area. Spring Peepers were by far the loudest and dominant sound but we also heard a couple of Leopard frogs and the threatened, Western Chorus Frog.

We also heard a plunking sound, which we had thought was a Green frog but realized it was an American Bittern making its gulp-sound hidden among the cattails of the marsh.

After observing the Bittern for a few minutes, we continued along the trail back towards the main entrance when we stopped to observe the resident beaver whom had briefly emerged from the water close to the trail. We then continued to visit some properties adjacent to the Dance property.

One of the properties we visited was another stunning natural area just down the road from Dance.

Take a listen: You can hear the Spring Peepers and Leopard Frogs calling

We also visited a hidden gem in the Kawarthas where we heard leopard frogs in a small vernal pool along the trail entrance. We continued our hike to the shores of Moore Lake where we listened to hundreds of spring peepers calling across the lake.

On our way off the property we heard Wood frogs calling from vernal pools behind some trees.

Posted May 10, 2018.

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