frogs

©Bryan French. Used with permission.

Larry Weber's already looking forward to what he calls "Awesome August," but he's not done enjoying the cricket-sized little spring peepers, wood frogs and American toads yet, either.

And milkweed and fireweed, he says, "own July."

April's first half is running about six degrees warmer than usual ... the greening has begun ... and you can hear the early spring trio (chorus frogs, spring peepers and wood frogs) around the Northland.

squamatologist/Flickr

Larry reminds us that April 9 of last year broke an overnight low temperature record, silver maples have gone bloomin' crazy, the lake effect is slowing the progress of spring the closer you get to it, and he's celebrating over twenty years of tracking frog and toad populations in northeastern Minnesota.

You can find out more about the Minnesota DNR's Frog and Toad Calling survey, plus find a number of helpful links right here.

Paul VerDerWerf [via Flickr]

After an abundance of rain in recent days, naturalist Larry Weber says the weekend should be a fine time to get out and find mushrooms.  Late summer and early fall brings the beginning of fall colors, and many birds are starting to take wing, including hawks, flickers, blue jays, thrushes and turkeys. Even as temps start to turn cooler, many insects are still abundant, including green darner dragonflies, bees and butterflies. Larry has been hearing spring peepers and gray tree frogs in the woods, and the other day witnessed a new baby snapping turtle searching for the water.

Michael Kensinger, Jeff Hahn

For the first time in 14 months - since February 2015 - we've had a month that's cooler than normal.

Ian Griffiths/Flickr

Frogs are calling, red maples are flowering, painted turtles are crowding logs to bask in the (scarce) sun ... 

and it's raining and cold.  Again.

Seabrooke Leckie/Flickr

Larry Weber says the brakes Mother Nature put on spring so far this month are a three-part blessing:

1) the snow lessens the danger of fire, which is usually a problem in April

2) the snow slows down the ticks, which also begin to create problems in April

3) the wet snows create a lot of moisture which flows into vernal ponds, making frogs - and Larry - very happy!

Biodiversity Heritage Library

  Author and naturalist Larry Weber talks about the heat, the Heat, and the HEAT. The days are getting shorter, so he has noticed the beginning of fall bird migration, including chimney swifts and nighthawks.  Gray tree frogs are calling, goldenrod and asters are in bloom, and the blackberries are ripe.  Not many mushrooms, unfortunately, even though we received some rain over the past week.

Tom Tetzner/Flickr

After a year underwater, the frog eggs of last summer have matured to tadpoles and beyond.  Author and naturalist Larry Weber says finally,  the Frogs of Summer are all grown up.

Yellowstone National Park/Flickr

On Wednesday, we told you a story about a frog survey being done of the vernal ponds at Hartley Park.  Ryan Hueffmeier of the NRRI says its a listening survey, conducted by himself and citizen-scientists just after dark or before dawn.

Just this last week, naturalist Larry Weber took part in a similar survey: driving a 20 mile route and making stops at 12 dedicated wetlands to listen for frog calls.

Dave Huth/Flickr

Citizen-scientists,  frog enthusiasts and lovers of moonlit walks can join Ryan Hueffmeier of the NRRI for the frog survey work now underway at Hartley Park.  It's part of a national frog survey that involves listening and identifying frog calls - much like the annual bird counts Laura Erickson and Larry Weber take part in.  But you don't have to be a naturalist to join in; when it comes to frog calls, Hueffmeier says, there's an app for that.

Flickr/ Todd Pierson

Author and naturalist Larry Weber celebrated what he called Awesome, Adventurous April with a thundershower, a boom in migration and the biggest surprise: a leopard frog out and about on his lake.

Credit: Rothamsted Research

Author, educator and naturalist Larry Weber wraps up March for us: it's been warmer than normal and we have only half the moisture we should have.  Returning this week: sandhill cranes, grackles, cormorants, silver maple blooms -- and ballooning baby spiders!