Localized flooding brings about unprecedented amphibian viewing opportunities
July 1, 2014 by allthingsbiological
Recent heavy rainfall and localized flooding resulted in increased apparent amphibian diversity and unprecedented levels of courtship and reproductive activities within local ponds. Much of the activity near our yard has taken place withinin a small temporary pond at the corner of a cornfield adjoining our small prairie. The following images and observations were recorded between June 20 and June 28, 2014.
June 20 – Last night’s inch of rain resulted in puddling in the low areas at the edges of the local corn fields. The night air is filled with the trilling of hundreds of amorous male American toads (Bufo americanus). Click/double click image to enlarge.
June 24 – t’s a beautiful night just north of Urbana, IL. The afternoon rain raised water levels considerably higher, bringing the water level in the corn field that adjoins our property to a little under 3′. This evening dozens of breeding toads were being supported by the floating ends of our taller prairie grasses. The area was so packed with breeding toads that I was able to easily wade up to them and photograph them again from less that a foot away. They paid no attention to me whatsoever. At one point there were fourteen calling males within 3′ of me. Click/double click image to enlarge.
June 27 – 1 AM toad yoga. Toad breeding activity has reduced significantly, though the water level remains high. Floating organic matter has formed a thin mat upon which the remaining males continue to call. Click/double click image to enlarge.
June 28 – Toad trilling is being replaced by the early summer clicking calls of male Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans). These minute calling tree frogs are smaller than a U.S. quarter, legs included, and range in color from brown, green, red, and yellow to the multicolored form pictured below. I’ve been fortunate to find the full range of colors in the temporary pond adjoining our house. This male was not only thoughtful enough to turn sideways for the picture, he continued to call in the ladies despite my presence. Perfect! Click/double click image to enlarge.