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• Monday, March 16th, 2009

It may not feel much like spring, and the calendar may say it is still a 5 days away, but spring has definitely sprung around here. Spring can be very subtle, and you need to be cued into the clues, but, if you look and listen carefully, you will soon discover that the seasons have changed.

On a recent trip to the bank, I noticed the branches of the silver maple lining the road had a distinct fuzzy appearance. I pulled over and discovered they were in fact blooming. Many people don’t realize trees bloom unless they are obvious like dogwoods, but maple trees are in full bloom now.

 

 

Another tip that spring is here has actually finished already. Just 5 days ago, the wood frogs were calling in the vernal pools of Five Mile Woods. With the first spring rain, the males make their way to these temporary pools and start calling. The females follow shortly after. You may have mistaken their calls for quacking ducks, but they are small woodland frogs that wake, call, mate, lay eggs and leave all within a two week period.

 

 

Thousands of jelly-like eggs are laid by the females while the male clasps her from behind and fertilizes the eggs as they come out. Also calling, and they will continue to do so for several weeks, are the spring peepers. These tiny tree frogs are no larger than a man’s thumb nail, but their loud whistling peep can be heard up to a mile away.

 

The last amphibian to wake from spring is a silent one. Along with the woodfrogs, the spotted salamander remains underground most of the winter. With the first “warm” spring rains, they migrate, sometimes in mass, to vernal pools. Males congregate first, followed by the females. Their courtship, though brief is very interesting, but hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll save it for another post.

Get outside and discover spring before it is too late.

Category: Amphibians, Seasons
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