Friday, January 8, 2010

Name That Frog

For four years I have lived across the street from the pond of a 103 acre park. It’s a great location; even though it’s in the city it’s home to all sorts of wildlife. Being of a curious bent where critters are concerned, I’ve used the library’s resources to identify widgeons, shovellers, mallards, great blue herons, grebes, loons, kinglets, swallows, meadowlarks, martins, kildeer, eastern screech owls, red sliders, snapping turtles, grass snakes, green anoles, and Texas spiny lizards. I’ve seen raccoons, possums, armadillos, and road runners; no research needed to identify them!

There is one park dweller though who has defied all my efforts at identification. I’ve never seen him, at least not that I know of. Hearing him is a totally different matter! On a midsummer night each year his chorus begins. Don’t worry if you miss his opening number; he and his cohorts will repeat it, loudly, for hours, every night for weeks. The calls are very distinctive – loud, metallic, and repetitive, and they come from above, in the treetops – many different treetops. I suspect he’s a treefrog, and next summer I plan to be ready for him, thanks to a book we recently added to the collection: The Frogs and Toads of North America : a Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, and Calls by Lang Elliott. This marvellous book comes with a cd of frog and toad calls. Perfect! Especially since the author is known and respected for the quality of his recordings of bird and animal calls.

If you are likewise intrigued by the nature around you, you might also enjoy Music of the Birds : a Celebration of Bird Song which includes a cd and is by the same author.

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