Seven of us went out to Bles Park in Ashburn, Virginia on Saturday night for a fun night hike to look and listen for frogs. This is just the second of such night hikes that we’ve done so far but they’re so much fun that we’ll definitely be doing more starting next spring when the frogs and toads are really out in force.
For our walk last Saturday, we started by gathering in the parking area, discussing the possible species that we would encounter and listening to recordings of their calls. Through past nature walks at Bles, we’ve identified at least six species of frogs and toads that are definitely at Bles, but due to the time of year, we were most likely to only hear three of them (Green Frog, Gray Tree Frog and Bullfrog).
So, off we went along the trail. Bill Roberson from the county’s Parks and Recreation dept came out as a resource for us in case of anything which was great since it allowed us to just focus on wildlife. The park certainly looks different at night but donned with headlamps and flashlights, we were able to spot all sorts of great creatures.
As we walked along, we encountered numerous (at least 20) juvenile American Toads (toadlets) out hunting for dinner – hopping across our path and hunting through the grasses. There were also quite a few millipedes out hunting along with some really interesting beetles.
We were hoping for a slight drizzle to get the frogs to call but it missed us and the frogs stayed pretty quiet except for a lone Green Frog that called from along the river. As we explored along the river, we saw a bat or two hunting over the water. By the size of it, I’m guessing a Big Brown Bat. We’ll have to bring the bat detector next time. We also had Great Blue Herons flying over just as the sun was setting.
The big fun of the evening was spotting the many Pickerel Frogs along the river. They would have been breeding in the early spring time so it’s no surprise that they were not calling out their funny snore but it was great to spot them and practice some night photography.
We wrapped up our hike at 9pm.