Yesterday’s rain began around midnight. By 10 AM the temporary pond was again full. The additional water would significantly prolong the life of the pond, allowing the majority of American toad and Northern cricket frog tadpoles to complete their aquatic development. All was good.
At 11 AM the rain began again, even heavier this time. Within a few minutes water from the surrounding fields cascaded across the temporary pond, into our east ditch, and through the culvert underneath the driveway. Water, moving at a rate of hundreds of gallons per minute, drove across the ditch on the west side of our driveway and into the underground drainage system, carrying tadpoles with it.
By noon the rain stopped and I anxiously surveyed the extent of flooding. Most of our acreage was flooded. I was relieved to see well formed, maturing tadpoles swimming along the entire length of our ditch. As I leaned down to look more closely, a tiny toad hopped from the grass at the edge of the ditch and stared up at me. Within several minutes I was surrounded by a number of newly emerged small toads.
Tiny toads are now present in large numbers across our acreage. My initial estimate of a few thousand tadpoles may have been conservative. The unanticipated flood dispersed the emerging tadpoles across a much larger area than most would have been able to traverse on their own.
And the adult toads and Northern cricket frogs are back again in quantity, calling and breeding. We haven’t experienced this amount of amphibian reproduction, or a second significant amphibian breeding cycle, during the thirty years we’ve lived here. It’s certainly turning out to be quite an adventure!