Wood Frogs Haunt Spooky Swamp

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Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) are typically the first amphibians Turtle Journal encounters each March.  No difference this year.  Last week, when we checked for signs of spring emergence in wetlands surrounding the abandoned Goldwitz cranberry bog in Marion,  the only peep we heard was a single wood frog.  Deep in the swamp, a plaintive, unanswered call echoed through the brush.

Wood Frogs Haunt Spooky Swamp

Today, as we revisited the same area, a chorus of wood frogs greeted our arrival.  Water levels in the wetlands were extremely low, and frogs had moved their mating aggregation out of the abandoned bog and deeper into the swamp.  Low gray clouds blanketed the day.   With only their calls as guide, Turtle Journal zigzagged through thickets and woodlands until we reached one very, very spooky hollow that seemed straight out of a Hollywood set for the scariest horror film ever made … or perhaps a darker, even grimmer remake of Deliverance.

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Wood Frog Egg Mass in Abandoned Goldwitz Bog

After locating the site of the aggregation, Turtle Journal searched nearby bog channels until we discovered freshly deposited wood frog egg masses.

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Spring Peeper (Pseudoacris crucifer)

As we left the bog this afternoon, a single, solitary peeper called out; a sure sign that spring is in the air.

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