Pacific Chorus Frogs noted, (and phenology geeks united)

Last week, I got an email from a friend, Erica Osburn McNolty, to let me know that she’d heard the first frogs while out walking the neighbourhood before bed. 10 March 2015.  A few. Not many. Not for more than about 15 seconds. But definite croaking along Oberson Road. She keeps track – the sound of the frogs being one of her favourite spring signifiers. Last year, it was March 27.

Fellow frog-watcher, Veronica Woodruff, first heard the frogs in 2013 frogs on March 18, but most of her 12 year long record shows frogs starting between April 1-3, although they have been as last as April 7.

Here’s a repost of Veronica Woodruff’s Frogwatch column, from Stewardship Pemberton with a shout-out to all Kermit-lovers and all you professional and amateur phenologists, out taking note of the season’s signifiers. (In the US, there’s now an initiative for people to share their observations, to help track climate change.

Phenology — how plant and animal life cycles such as nesting and flowering are influenced by climate and seasonal variations — has long been tracked by individuals. Phenology plays into planting, harvesting and hunting. Some keep track just for fun. Now those observations can play a role as scientists track climate change. Ann Wessell, SCTimes)

So, start a notebook today!

Pacific Chorus Frog photo by Veronica Woodruff

from Veronica Woodruff, Stewardship Pemberton Society: 

The Pacific Chorus Frog is common and widespread. It is adaptable to any environment where it can breed. I had a good laugh at a BCTV story about neighbors embroiled in heated arguments over an enthusiastic Pacific Chorus Frog that had colonized a small backyard water feature. Some people apparently hate the noise the male frogs are able to produce. I love this sound and have visited many local wetlands just after dark to lie down and be enveloped in the serenade. It takes a few minutes of laying still because they will stop calling when you first show up but be patient. Riverside Wetland and the Urdal-Fraser Connector wetland are great places to try this exercise.

Pemberton has so many interesting critters living here but getting to know the most common ones is a great way to engage kids in nature.

Right about now, you’ll be able to sit on your deck virtually anywhere in Pemberton and talk about the Pacific Chorus Frog.

Try these fun facts from BC Frogwatch:

  • They can change colour rapidly!
  • They can throw their voices!
  • Their call is commonly used in movies!

Pacific Chorus Frog at Ivey Lake Lodge:

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Usually in late March, Pacific Chorus Frogs are hunkered down under logs and rocks where they have spent the winter. They will head down to a local waterway (wetland, pond, ditch, backyard feature) where the males will croon to the ladies. Eggs are laid and fertilized and about eight to ten weeks later, tiny air breathing frogs climb out of the water and up into the hills. There they will feed on a variety of invertebrates and be preyed upon by a vast number of predators. Next spring the little ones are ready to start up their own orchestras and begin their breeding lives.

Hibernating Pacific Chorus Frogs at Fulton’s Wetland, one found under wood and one found under a rock.

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