Being a luverly spring day, I headed north to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, to take my annual vernal pool walk. Vernal pools are fish-free bodies of water, often ephemeral, which provide safe spawning areas for amphibians,aquatic insects, and crustaceans such as the fairy shrimp. The destination of my hikes is a persistent feature of the landscape, but I also visited some small, ephemeral pools near the Cross River.
At the large pool, I saw a couple of wood frogs, but they weren't getting jiggy, as the kids say. The peepers, however, were out in full force. Frogs being (if you'll forgive the term) jumpy, a large, galumphing predatory beast will often scare them into silence. To hear them singing, one often has to find a convenient rock on which to hunker down and wait for the chorus to start. I have an "AMR" file recording of the peepers singing, but I can't post it to the blog- any advice? I don't have Quicktime pro, and I've had some difficulty downloading a shareware AMR to MP3 program? I CAN HAZ HALP HEER? I'd really love to upload these batrachian Barry Whites because, to put it in verse:
Dude I be, but still I swoon,
When I hear the froggies croon.
One of the smaller, ephemeral pools had two large egg masses (probably those of spotted salamanders):
In a nearby, smaller pool, I found a smaller egg mass, which I briefly cupped in my hand so I could take a photo:
Isn't that a beautiful blob? I plan to return to the area to check out the larvae in the near future, and hope to check up on the pool periodically.
After visiting the pools, I turned over some rotten logs to see what sort of creepy crawlies I might espy- anyone making a comparison between creepy crawlies under a rotten log and GOP politicians is flirting with a lifetime ban... the critters that live under rotten logs live their moist, cool lives peacefully, loving in their moist, cool fashion, and raising their moist, cool families in their moist, cool milieu and would probably vote Green Party if they had suffrage. Some of these creepy crawlies are downright beautiful:
This sweet little beast is an eastern red-backed salamander, these little lungless salamanders lay eggs which hatch out little fully-formed salamanders terrestrially. Fret not, I placed the beautiful beastie back in its under-log home after taking the photo.
To answer the question that you are no doubt asking yourself... yes, I am pretty much a precocious, slightly demented eight-year old boy. The only difference (besides lacking the big blonde 'fro) is that I'm able to deal with a much bigger log. Yeah, the mind of the male doesn't change, but the size of the wood does.