21 March 2010

Spring peeper in my hand

Two recent daytime expeditions to photograph the spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) inhabiting a wetland-like area not too far from my house produced several sound recordings of their incessant calls, but no photos. I failed to see a single frog, although the snails co-inhabiting the place didn't escape my attention. So last night I followed Fred Schueler's advice, donned my headlamp and rubber boots and went out at dusk.

The frogs were calling all around me as I squatted at the edge of the swampy area with camera in hand. For many minutes I looked and looked at the spots brightened by my headlamp, but just couldn't see a frog. I was puzzled about how they could be so noisy and invisible at the same time. Just as frustration was setting in, I finally noticed the inflated vocal sac of one, my 1st spring peeper sitting by a skunk cabbage.

Once I knew what they looked like and how small they were, I started spotting them left and right. Eventually, I even caught one and held it in my hand long enough for a few shots. The picture below will give you an idea of an adult frog's size.

And here is one of the recordings I made with my iPhone. Against the background cacophony of countless frogs, you will hear the peeping of one Pseudacris crucifer.

Call of the spring peeper


fred schueler said...

There you go! The night before last I stopped at three traditional auditory stations, and by dint of careful listening heard a Wood Frog at one, a single Peeper call at another, and a few slow cold Chorus Frog calls at another. Air 9C, sky clearing over the course of the trip (20h00-21h00), moderately breezy. There's no chance of catching any in those conditions. Tonight it's 0C, and the frogs have all crawled under whatever they're using for cover.

O. B. Sirius said...

Such a big voice for such a small frog! I've heard them often, but never seen one.

Snail said...

What a dear little frog! Well, now you've got your eye in, can you come and locate some of the tiny frogs (Microhylidae) here. Most of them are less than an inch long. I can hear 'em, but I'm darned if I can see 'em.

Carl Christensen said...

Thanks! I haven't heard that sound since I was a kid growing up in northern Virginia, ca. 1956-1960.

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bev said...

That's a sound I've been missing here in Arizona. Just hearing the peeping takes me back to my farm where the chorus could be almost deafening some evenings. Next week, I leave for the northeast. With any luck, I'll be hearing those wonderful peeps in about two or three weeks.