So we held our first evening amphibian foray into the woods last night. The plan was to enjoy the Gray Tree Frog chorus at the Blue Ridge Center, since in past years, the chorus was in full swing this time of year. The Gray Tree Frogs, however, must have missed the note because they stayed quiet all evening.
That was ok though, since lots and lots of American Toads and Green Frogs, as well as one Bullfrog, were out and about.
We started the evening with a short talk about amphibians and Gray Tree Frogs in particular, looked at photos of the frogs (including the egg and tadpole stages as well as frog scat!) and listened to a recording of the Gray Tree Frogs calling so we all knew what to listen for.
We had 18 people on the walk with us, three of whom were burgeoning (6-8 year old) herpetologists. As we headed out along the trail, it didn’t take long to find our first American Toad crossing the path. The three young boys hopped into action and caught it so we all could see.
We stayed at the pond near the visitors center for a bit as we listened to the Green Frogs calling and swimming through the green duckweed. We then headed down to Piney Run stream to see if we could hear some other species….like our elusive Gray Tree Frogs. Along the walk, we must have encountered at least 15 more American Toads – of all shapes and sizes. We had just had a light rain and it was humid so they were no doubt out hunting for their dinners.
Along Piney Run, we listened for a bit, observed some bats feeding just over the tree tops, and scanned the trees for any eyes watching us. After a pause here, we headed back to the pond. By this time, it was dark and the Green Frogs, with their banjo twang, were in full song. We used our headlamps and flashlights to scan the pond and saw lots of eyes reflecting back. It was great to see so many of them.
We wrapped up a little past 9pm and headed back to the visitor center where we found another toad hunting around the house. It was fun doing a nightime nature walk and we look forward to doing it again. Keep an eye on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Programs Calendar for more events like this.