Daily Archives: February 25, 2014

What’s that Quacking Sound?

Years ago I was living in upstate New York and working at a small nature center in a county park. Part of my job included time outside exploring the trails and learning about the many animals who lived there. One day in late winter  I was out on one of the trails and began to hear lots of what I thought sounded like ducks quacking. They seemed to be coming from an area out of view from the trail so I set out to discover their identity.However, when I got over the ridge and could see the pond, there were no ducks present. I had seen none fly off at my approach and so puzzled about it all the way back to the nature center. My boss, Beth smiled knowingly when I told her about the invisible ducks, informing me that the quacking was caused not by birds, but amphibians, specifically, wood frogs.

I returned to the pond the next day, slow in my approach. As had happened the day before, the quacking stopped as the pond came in view. I found a comfortable spot nearby and sat, ready to wait as long as it took. As predicted by Beth, after several silent minutes, the quacking slowly started up again. I could see movement on the water’s surface and when I put the binoculars to my eyes, saw the brown frogs stretched out on their stomachs at the top of the pond. There were dozens of them! The quacking grew louder as more frogs rose to the surface, joining in the chorus.woofrog-4

This morning, after a rainy night, I was surprised and thrilled to hear that familiar chorus of wood frogs, coming from the little pond in the woods by my house. It is a sound that to me, is a sure sign that spring is right around the corner! After the cold weather we’ve been having, this is a welcome thought. I love spring more than any other season, with its predictable succession of sounds and events. First the wood frogs, then the spring peepers followed by the grey tree frogs and American toads… I can’t wait!

Where do the frogs come from? What are they doing at the pond? Why do they make those noises? To learn the answers to these questions and more, check out my Wood Frog post. Or to see what wood frog eggs look like, click here.

To listen to the call of the wood frog, click below. This is from Nature Sound Studio by Lang Elliot.

What signs of spring are you seeing in your “neck of the woods?”


Are you Stuck in a Rut?


Let us love winter for it is the spring of genius.

Do you find it challenging to make yourself get OUTSIDE in the winter, when the temperature is in the teens and you are warm and cozy in your heated house? If you’re like me you might try talking yourself out of it the moment the thought enters your head. Go outside? What for? It’s so nice and warm in here!

But I have learned to ignore all the arguments from that little voice in my head and go outside anyway.  And seldom, if I ever, do I say afterward, what a waste of time that was! Instead, it is just the opposite. I feel refreshed. I feel alive. I feel inspired.

Winter has so much to offer!

One of my favorite things about winter are the patterns I can find. The ones in ice are the most interesting to me, with their swirls and bubbles and abstract designs just waiting to be photographed. When I see them I feel awe for the beauty that is unique to winter. The more patterns I find the more I want to keep looking. It can be addictive.

Someone famous once said “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” In winter this is especially true.

So my suggestion for today is to suit up and head outside.

Wear layers. Wear a hat and mittens, a scarf, something warm for your feet.

If you’re dressed properly and enjoying yourself and the season, you’ll forget all about the fact that it’s cold out there.

Take a walk somewhere close to your house. Visit a park you’ve never been to before. Even if it’s just for thirty minutes, it will do your body good to get some fresh air and change of scenery. There are many interesting things to find in winter…

What spots of beauty will you discover?


Change isn’t all bad… try embracing it and see what happens.