Saturday, April 5, 2008

Frog Pond Adventure

We drove to near Anniston today to participate in the Jacksonville State University Frog Pond Field School Tour. On the way we visited the Anniston Musuem of Natural History. They had a neat temporary exhibit of artwork made out of natural materials. My favorite was a bellycast that the artist had covered in the 'skins' of wasps' nests. It was beautiful and gave me the idea to cover mine in moss or lichen---I have been waiting for an idea to hit me to decorate it and it did today. The kids were really into the bird displays they have there. I imagine since they are excited about the chicken eggs coming and watching them hatch. Our visit to Georgia fell through late last night, as the eggs were not showing that they were fertile, so our friends are going to mail them next week. But we still went on the adventure we had planned nearby to hear the frogs. The stars of the show were Cope's Gray Treefrog which has a call that you can imitate by moving the headlamp hinge on your head-mounted flashlight, they sound identical to that! And the other star was the Spring Peeper. If you click on the links you can hear the calls, and if I get more technically savvy, I could put the audio clip we took on here, but that will have to wait another day. We learned that only the males call (in most species) among other things, and got to hold them and feel the vibrations while they sang... Thank you to Dr. Kline and his team of students that led the tour. The other photos above are of some salamander egg cases that we observed as well as a salamander "tadpole". Alex joined in the gathering of creatures off of the boardwalk area where most of the group stayed. His first find was this 7 to 8 year old salamander, which was a good 6 or 7 inches long, and we believe was a Spotted Salamander. This is worth a trip to enjoy an evening among the frogs if you are a frog lover.
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