In August, many tadpoles in my hand-dug backyard ponds change into small chorus frogs. For several years now, the frogs have returned to my backyard in March, bred in the ponds, and produced eggs that produced tadpoles that morphed into frogs from Bastille Day (July 14) into August.
I walk around what I call the Frog Mitigation Area, bent over, looking for the newly morphed frogs. Over 1000 eggs may have hatched into tadpoles, but it’s difficult to determine how many tadpoles make it into frogs.
Tadpoles are the Cheetos of the small critters’ world; everything snacks on them; fish, water bugs, birds, and larger frogs. I can keep fish out of the ponds, but the frogs are stealthy and its hard to get a good survival count.
I gently disturb the tall grass with my fingertips, hoping to flush the small frogs from their hiding places in the Corsican Mint.
One by one I startle a few into moving. They are loosely grouped, and hop towards the water as I approach.
I crouch over, urging the camera to focus. My knees sound off, bone on bone. It’s loud rather than painful.
Some frogs are brown , some green. I spot about 10 frogs a day.
They won’t return to the water now, however. They’ll eventually spread out, apparently at random throughout my back yard and my neighborhood.
The survivors will show up again in the Ponds of March to breed. Hopefully, one of Gaia’s most successful experiments; the life cycle of frogs, perfected over tens of millions of years, will spin around again.
I ponder the potential theology of frogs. Do they view tadpole-hood as Purgatory, and full frog-dom as the fulfillment of the Frog version of the Rapture?
Are some tadpoles lied to, and think they can be morphed into dragonflies, or even birds, if they simply believed in an alternate version of the Frog Rapture?
Some nights I’ll lay by the frog pond and listen to the tadpoles’ stories. One day, they’ll give me permission to share.
Now it’s your turn.
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a nature refuge.
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What have you noted in your area or travels? Any noisy frogs in your yard? Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.