Are you hearing things at night? It’s early June, and the season of the mating bullfrog!
Ol’ Wally here is being kept awake nights. The male bullfrogs make LOUD and repeating croaks that sound like a chair scooting across one of your wooden decks.
Some humans confuse bullfrogs and green frogs, or believe that all of the large, brown frogs are Bullfrogs and the large, green frogs are Green Frogs. However, their colors vary from frog to frog. Best to check for those lines ridges that run down the back…or not!
Bullfrogs do not have the ridges, called dorsolateral ridges.
Green Frogs DO have the ridges.
Both of these frogs are calling at the same time, throughout the summer months. The Bullfrogs give a two syllable croak, ‘gur-unk’, while the Green Frog call is a single croak, ‘gunk’.
It’s something we squirrels finally learn to ignore from our dreys…or we take lots of naps during the heat of the day.
Ol’ Wally is a bit behind on sharing wildlife coming and going to our local ponds. A few weeks ago, we squirrels spotted this Solitary Sandpiper feeding in the mud of a local pond, and then learned that these migrants are now gone from our area.
We decided to share anyway, since they will be migrating back in late July. So maybe we are posting early?
A handsome bird, right? As the name implies, he was the only one we saw there. Most birds migrate in flocks, but Solitary Sandpipers make their way alone, north to their summer breeding grounds in Canada. You humans may see them in marshes along the coast, but don’t be surprise if they stop by inland ponds and streams. All those freshwater areas have the bugs they need to fuel them on their long trips to and from the coasts of Mexico.
They love water-dwelling insect larvae like dragonfly nymphs, but aren’t too picky, eating worms, crayfish, beetles and even small frogs. We suspect that many tadpoles disappear down their throats.
With global warming, the breeding grounds of the Solitary Sandpiper are moving ever-northward, making their migratory journey even longer.
Bet you folks didn’t think this old squirrel would have an invasive plant on his Thirsty Thursday. But Nutmeg made sure I found a water-loving one. There are many, Water Hyacinth and Purple Loosestrife are others, but we’ll focus today on Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus.
You humans may think this is like any other iris you plant in your yard. The pretty flower looks the same, and blooms at the sometime, May-June. The leaves look the same, though can grow taller and be mistake for cattail leaves. But this iris, also known as Yellow Water Iris and Yellow Flag, likes its roots in water.
Oh, it likes its roots in water! And it doesn’t behave the same as in its native homes of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa.
Yellow Iris produces seeds, but it’s the aggressive rhizomes on this iris that allow it to spread far and fast. The dense mats they form quickly crowd out other water plants. No native plants survive once Yellow Iris gets a hod of a pond.
Do you know what they means for the insects living there? For the ducks looking for a few tasty roots. You got it, water desert.
What could be better than an Eastern Painted Turtle sunning a log?
Many painted turtles sunning on a log!
These guys have some sort of antifreeze in their bodies, beyond the ability of cold-blooded reptiles survive while hibernating all winter. The first sunny days of spring and they dig up out of the mud to bask. Not even our night temperatures dipping down into the 30s harm them. Thank goodness, because we squirrels can’t be the only ones stretching out on sunny afternoons!
Our fall days in Virginia haven’t turned too cool yet, but that doesn’t mean wildlife don’t miss the sunshine. With the rainy weather, and still more rain to come, we squirrels took off for a run to the pond.
Eastern Painted turtles were drying off even if there is no basking.
The Lilypad Forktails weren’t flying as much on cool, overcast days.
And maybe it’s good weather for you humans to look for cold-blooded wildlife. Even we squirrels saw some critters we can’t identify! (Know what this one is?)