Chewonki has really opened my eyes to how much change happens in the Spring. I had experienced the leaves popping through the buds on the tress and watching the crocuses push through the melting snow, but I had never experienced the change that occurs for animals in the Spring. Among other changes, now I have experienced wood frog mating. This week has been the major mating week for wood frogs here. I found out that wood frogs need a certain weather pattern for mating: one rainy night, a warm sunny day, and then another rainy night. We had this pattern starting Sunday night, but of corse like anything in nature it is not a perfect science. On Monday night Peter Sniffen (one of our Natural History teachers), took a group of people out to the farm pond to see the mating frogs. When we got there, the wood frogs were croaking and mating away and in some areas we could see the black egg masses, and then right before my friends and I were about to leave all the frogs stopped croaking. Peter said it was because we had gotten too loud and scared the frogs. Although the frogs stopped croaking, when we got back to the dining hall Peter said he was surprised the croaking had not been louder. In his experience on the main mating night the croaking was so loud you had to yell to be heard and after leaving your ears would ring. On Wednesday morning Steve Kerchner (one of our Math teachers) showed us a graph of noise level of the frogs he had collected from some sound measuring instruments he had put out. On Tuesday night there had been a spike, but Wednesday morning showed even ore of a spike, suggesting that Wednesday night might be the most exciting night, I think it was. My cabin is pretty far away from any ponds where frogs might be mating, but last night as I was falling asleep I could hear the frogs croaking. Today I went back to the farm pond to take pictures, and as I approached I heard a relatively quiet croaking (silence compared to what I bet it was last night), and the few frogs still there fell quiet and swam away as I walked to the edge of the pond. So I sat quietly and let them come to me. Some swam over but they all remained silent.
After five or so minutes I went to see the pigs, who in the week they have been here have become very friendly, and the lambs who have taken to basking the the warm spring sun. When I started to walk back to campus I heard the frogs starting up again, apparently they didn’t feel threatened anymore, but if you think about it they really don’t have any reason to feel threatened. Their job is done, the whole purpose of a frogs life is to mate, which they will do once maybe twice in their life, and mating only happens once a year, and it happened last night! I always knew birth and reproducing was a part of Spring, but next Spring I will make sure to go see the wood frogs again and not just comment on how pretty the new flowers are.
-Emmy, Waynflete School, ME