People walking the Black Bayou trails on guided Frog Walk.

Great turn-out for Black Bayou NWR’s Frog Walk and illustrated talk with Ranger Nova Clarke.

Frog spawn promises new life

Frog spawn promises new life, click to view large

I love frogs and was thrilled to attend the Spring Frog Walk and Talk at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana on Friday March 20th, 2015. It was both fun and very educational. We saw images of the frogs that we could hear, and thus came to recognize frogs by their calls.

We now know that Crawfish Springs has a good variety of frogs including Green Tree Frogs (Hyla cinerea), Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), Bronze Frogs (Rana clamitans clamitans), Southern Leopard Frogs (Rana ultricularia)and Cajun Chorus Frogs. It was very nice to see about 40 people of varying ages at the event and see such positive interest from girls and boys. We felt it very useful to hear the identified calls, particularly the Cajun Chorus Frogs, as these were unknown to us and to learn about the variety of vocal sacs that produce the night noises.

NWFS Ranger Nova Clarke teaching us about frogs and their calls.

NWFS Ranger Nova Clarke teaching us about frogs and their calls.

Welearned that frogs have a variety of different calls for attracting mates, expressing alarm and disputing with their neighbours. Some squeak like a baby’s bath toy when surprised.

The deepest, most booming call comes from the Bull Frogs and the sound can carry half a mile!

Bronze Frog

The Bronze Frog has plosive ‘tonk’ call, sounds a bit like a mortar being fired.

The Southern Leopard Frog

The Southern Leopard Frog has an amusing call somewhat like a chuckle. They are sometimes stimulated to call by the sound of approaching light aircraft.

National Wildlife Refuges close at sundown so it is quite a privilege to be able to explore Black Bayou at night, and with a knowledgeable guide.

Black Bayou NWR at night. Frogs call most vociferously at dusk and calls tail off later in the evening.

Black Bayou NWR at night. Frogs call most vociferously at dusk and calls tail off later in the evening.