(Photos by Bob Bryerton)
If you venture out into the preserves these days, there's a good chance you'll hear chorus frogs belting out some tunes as they call for a mate.
Over the past few weeks we've heard an increase in activity and over the weekend, program coordinator Bob Bryerton got a good look at a bunch of them at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. That isn't any small feat, considering these frogs are tiny, generally measuring about 1 inch in length.
Chorus frogs are some of the first frogs to emerge in our area each year and help bring the preserves alive with those familiar sounds of spring.
"These frogs are fully grown adults in the process of courtship and mating, not babies, and they are really small," Bryerton said. "But they make a very loud noise that can be deafening if you are close to them."
From a distance, their call can be confused for that of crickets, but there are no crickets calling at this time of year.
"Often they will stop calling if you walk up close and they hear the footsteps or feel a predator could be near," Bryerton said of the frogs. "But on certain days, they are so driven with the possibility of finding a mate that they will throw caution to the wind and remain calling even if you walk right up to where they are sitting. This is when you can get a look at them."
Even if you're close, spotting them can be extremely difficult both due to their size and their built-in camouflage. For example, there are nine chorus frogs tucked away in this photo:
If you want to spot chorus frogs, take your time and scan the water. Bryerton said it's best to have a pair of binoculars and if they're calling you should be able to spot the movement of their expanding throats.
While they are quite vocal when looking for a mate, the actual mating process isn't very theatrical. Once the male and female hook up, it's a bit of a drawn-out undertaking. The male will hang onto the female, sometimes for a day or more, fertilizing the eggs as she deposits them.
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