Cricket Frog Search is on!!

Hello everyone!

I am back in the ‘Burg and the Cricket Frog research has just kicked off! I’ve moved into my temporary housing off campus until dorms open up…got a nice little room in a house on Jamestown road.  I also went grocery shopping becuase i am cooking for myself.

Last night was our first night in the field.   The weather’s been a little too cold to get too much data, but it’s good for practice.  Professor Micancin picked me up at 8:00. Our first stop was close to home–just off Matoaka.  The water was too deep to wade, but we could hear a hearty (though not huge) Northern  Cricket Frog chorus alternating with the calls of bullfrogs, leopard frogs, and green frogs.   The call of a green frog is something else–it sounds like a released bowstring, and it only calls once ever 20-30 seconds or so, cutting across all the other frogs. Off to one side we also hears what just might have been a Southern cricket frog, but it was difficult to tell for sure.

I learned how to operate our old, rugged GPS unit, use a hypersensitive thermometer to measure the air temperature, and take notes on the surroundings.  We also have a very nice canon camera with a rotating screen.  Each site we visit, we have to take the air temperature, take a GPS reading, and then listen for frogs and identify what frogs they are.  Later in the season we will attempt to find and photograph individuals.  We then write down everything in the field log.

Our next two locations were not so successful; it was getting too cold for the frogs to be active.  Nevertheless we went and drove down the public roads on Golden Horseshoe golf course.  We stopped next to an artificial pond near the road to listen for frogs without success.  The fields of the golf course are so highly maintained with fertilizers and pesticides that this was not a surprise.  Within minutes of stopping, however, cops descended like flies.  Apparently this is a common occurrence when one is poking around looking for frogs.  We had to explain our mission to them, and in the end they told us who owned the course so we could call them for permission to revisit the site and actually go on the property.  We also stopped on a weird back road that crosses a little pond called Tutter’s Neck pond a little farther west, again without hearing any calls. At that point we called it a night, as the temperature was getting below 14 degrees Celsius, which is barely above the minimum temps called for by the NAAMP (North American Amphibian Monitoring Program) protocol.

This afternoon we treated our field clothes with Permethin, a potent and highly toxic insect repellent.  We have to let the clothes dry before we use them, but the treatment lasts through six washes, which is very useful.  This evening before we hit the field, we are heading over to Dick’s Sporting Goods to pick up a pair of hip waders and a watch for me.  Then we will be visiting some of the more northern sites nearby.  Right now i am mapping out potential routes for tonight, as i am the main navigator.

Ok folks, that’s it for today. Stay tuned for more as the weather gets warmer and wetter!