After the Deluge
April always delivers a few wicked cold fronts. Last night we had heavy rain, strong winds but fortunately no tornadoes (Greensboro did). I went over to Lake Crabtree in search of shorebirds, who often show up in the flooded grassy areas after a storm, and warblers, the special treats of April/May. A chilly wind did not keep the birds down, it was quite active in a few areas. The only shorebird, in the morning, was a Spotted Sandpiper. Down by the kayak launch parking area, I discovered a nice mixed flock of warblers. A Hooded Warbler came out in the open when I pished, posing nicely for a few pictures. A Prothonotary Warbler was not so cooperative but I got one poor photo. Within a large flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers, I was able to pick out one Black-and-White Warbler and heard one Parula Warbler. Hooded, Parula and Prothonotary Warblers all just arrived from wintering grounds in the Carribean, Latin, and South America. The Yellow-rumps are about to head north into northern Canada to breed, to return en masse in October for another southern winter vacation. See the map below from CLO showing the annual movements of Yellow-rumped Warblers.
A Frog Sidebar – Pseudacris feriarum
Honestly, I feel regret not having followed through with my life-long interest in frogs and turtles and snakes. I blame it on Dr. Quay, who introduced me to birds, which have almost completely taken over my spare time the past 5 years. But there is hope for the world of slime and slither in my life. Between i-Naturalist and retirement, I think I can start squeezing in a little herpetology. First go – recorded this Upland Chorus Frog at Falls Lake today. Picture a 1-inch little frog strumming a plastic comb.
“Upland chorus frogs are most common in the Piedmont, although populations also exist in the Coastal Plain and the Mountains. They are usually found near grassy ditches, flooded fields and temporary wetlands. Outside the breeding season, upland chorus frogs are rarely encountered; however, non-breeding individuals are occasionally seen in woodlands, weedy meadows and swamps. The soft egg masses are attached to vegetation. The tadpole period lasts eight to 12 weeks.Upland chorus frogs call in winter and early spring. Their call is a regularly repeated “crrreek,” sounding similar to fingers running over the teeth of a comb.”