On the evening of Friday, May 4th a group of four Headwaters Master Naturalists and one guest journeyed to the Augusta Springs Wetlands Trail to try our ears at frog and toad call identification. Under the tutelage of HMN and Frogwatch Monitor Kate Guenther we listened to the recorded voices of the frogs and toads native to our area. Kate encouraged everyone to create their own description of what the call sounded like to them, sort of a word association game.

We learned that frogs call most readily in their own “season”. The Wood Frog is the earliest, beginning sometimes as early as January and going until April. Spring Peepers begin in February and go until June, but may also call again as late as October.

Then, after dark when the chorus really geared up, we headed out onto the trail to put our newfound knowledge to use. We first heard the “house of chicks” cacophony that is the song of thousands of Spring Peepers. We heard the “sustained trill” of the American Toad, the “vu, vu, vroom” of the American Bullfrog, the “gunk, gunk, gunk” of the Green Frog, and the “woodpecker call-like” sound of the Gray Treefrog. Sometimes what you always thought was a bird is actually a frog! We also observed crayfish, bats, and one snake, possibly a Queensnake, but we had our frog hats on so we weren’t sure.

Who knew frogs and toads could be so fascinating? Their calls, their appearance and their homes are unique. Thanks for a great time Kate!

– Allen Baker, Cohort V, May 2018

Photo by Sandy Greene. Left to right are Shelley and Allen Baker, guest Jane Cox, and Kate.