Sunday, April 26, 2020

Frogs, frogs everywhere

I live in an interesting place.  I have threatened and endangered butterflies flying around from time to time. We have interesting birds and mammals, and it turns out, we even have some interesting frogs.  I don't pay much attention to frogs but some years our yard is filled with them.  Take the wood frog.  Being from Wisconsin, these early breeders were such a common sound heard in our wooded ponds, I paid no attention to them, sometimes even thinking the singular croaking sound was more birdlike than frog-like.

The South Dakota DNR is out surveying wildlife, mostly frogs by my house, and one of them, Dennis Skadsen, a man I've talked to but never met, told me to look out for Wood Frogs.  I walked out the door and heard some.  I was thinking, "what is the big deal?"   Then I did a little research.

It turns out wood frogs are reportable to the state DNR in my county, as we are in the edge of their range.  Day County is in light green
 However other maps show just this distribution, which is very scarce....apparently they are expanding OR they have more people looking for them
Clearly, quite a ways from me, and in the literature specimens have only been reported in Day County South Dakota in 1929....until some were found about 8 miles south of me in 2016, and then a few more, yet, I go out and stand on my deck and hear them the first moment I listen and then photograph one.  Then I don't know what to think.

I do know wood frogs are cool, they freeze every winter including here and then thaw out in spring and resume their lives.  It is a complex and not 100% known process but they prove who they can survive life on the egde

Wood frog, Day County, South Dakota 4/26/2020

Sometimes I wonder about all of this rare stuff.  Maybe my friend is correct and Bachman's warblers are still around, lurking in the shadows somewhere.  Even Ivory-billed woodpeckers....Sort of like yellow rails and Northeastern South Dakota, they aren't here because no one is looking.  So here it is, an extremely rare frog and poof they just magically in my back yard, I suspect they are everywhere.  It all makes me I reporting this to the state?  Hell, no.  If I was looking for anything up here, Dakota skippers, wood frogs, rails, the first place I'd look is in my backyard....the state can go sneaking around at night irritating my pets and my daughter, I guess they need something to do.
I've been thinking, I've always had this species of frog in my backyard.

Got a lot of frogs outside right now and there was some serious frog sex going on
Kandiyohi color pattern of Northern Leopard Frog, very sharp looking
Burnsi color pattern of Northern Leopard Frog
Normal morph of Northern Leopard frogs
All three patterns in five minutes of looking
We also have Boreal chorus frogs singing behind my house, they are a bit skittish, quite a diminutive frog but a classic spring sound up north
Boreal chorus frogs

I have seen some birds this week...not everything is...FROGS
Female Red-winged blackbird

gray partridge
sharp-tailed grouse (male) 

White pelican
So we are trying to survive COVID and like the wood frog, none have been reported in Day County nor even Grant County in Milbank but like the frog, I suspect it is also here, just no one is looking for it in the correct locations.

Who have thought a rare frog in my backyard, 40 feet from my pillow....
So stay safe, keep looking in your backyard, you might find something rare....


1 comment:

  1. Alas, no frogs here in the Sonoran desert but the cotton tails, desert diamond back rattlers, quail, and other critters have all made an appearance in my backyard recently. The cactus are blooming and the temp almost broke 100° today. What's not to like?
    Keep up your blog, it reminds me of the environment of my youth in eastern ND.


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