April 2019: Wood Ducks in a small woodland pond

I set up a Browning Trail Camera in a small pond in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. When I retrieved the camera and checked the card, I was pleased to see these videos of a male and female Wood Duck. Most of the time they were swimming back and forth in the pond. Near the end of the video, there is a clip where the female appears to have wet leaves on her back. Does anyone know whether this is an accident, or if she is carrying it on her back for a reason?

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May 2019: Calling American Toads

A male American Toad (Bufo americanus) rests between calls with his vocal sac deflated.
American Toad

The same male calls with his vocal sac inflated:
Calling male toad

A pair of mating American Toads in amplexus. The male clings to the back of the female and fertilizes the eggs as she lays them.
Amplexing toads

These two male American Toads seemed to think my camera was a rival. They approached the camera while singing, possibly to chase it away from the breeding site.

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April 2019: the call of the Midland Chorus Frog

The trilling call of the Midland Chorus Frog is often likened to the sound made when you run your thumb over the teeth of a comb. This video from April 2019 gives you a chance to enjoy the call:

Male midland chorus frogs put a lot of effort into their song. The sound is produced when they force air out of their lungs and over their vocal chords.

Here a male rests between calls with his vocal sac deflated:
Calling Male Midland Chorus Frog

Now his vocal sac reaches peak inflation as he calls:
Calling Male Midland Chorus Frog

Two male chorus frogs face off as they battle for the attention of females:
Two male Midland Chorus Frogs

Midland Chorus frogs typically have distinct stripes down their back:
back pattern on Midland Chorus Frog

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Singing Gray Treefrogs: May 2019

A few photos and videos of singing Gray Treefrogs observed in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in May 2019.

A Gray Treefrog sings from a perch on a tree hanging over a pond.
Gray Treefrog singing from tree

And here is a video of the male calling from a tree:

One male Gray Treefrog chases another male out of his territory. The dominant male is on the left, and the retreating male is on the right of the photo.
Treefrog chases a rival

Despite their name, Gray Treefrogs often have a green color. Here, the green color of a calling male Gray Treefrog contrasts with the tan color of the dead cattail branches he is perching on.
Gray Treefrog calling from dead cattail leaves.

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Favorite Photos of 2018

Here are my 10 favorite photos of 2018:

10: Portrait of a unisexual Ambystoma salamander:

Unisexual Ambystoma

9: Male Reddish-Brown Stage Beetle: I have seen larvae and females of this species, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I encountered a male. While walking across the CWRU campus one day, I came across this male beetle with the characteristic large mandibles.

Male Stag Beetle

8: Wood Frog hiding under a leaf: Just the nose and limbs of this wood frog are visible hidden under a leaf.

Wood frog hidden under leaf in pond

7: Metamorphosing Pickerel Frog: No longer a tadpole, but not yet a full frog, this froglet has four limbs and the shrinking remains of its tadpole tail.

Metamorphosing Pickerel Frog

6: Midge from Lake Erie: In 2018 the midges emerging from Lake Erie swarmed all over my house. I took several photos, but this image of a midge perching on top of a leaf was my favorite.

Midge rearing up on leaf

5: Toad Lurking in Background: This photo captured the chaos of the toad mating season. One pair of toads are in amplexus, but another male waits in the background for an opportunity to mate.

Male toad watches mating toads.

4: Spring Peeper nearing metamorphosis: The shape of the front limbs are visible under the skin of the tadpole’s body. Within a day or two, the front limbs will emerge, and the tadpole will continue through metamorphosis.

Spring Peeper tadpole about to metamorphose

3: Bellowing Bullfrog: I spent a wonderful evening listening to some bullfrogs calling. The photo captures drops of water being launched from the frog’s body by the vibrations of the call. You can also see this in a video of the bullfrog calling.

Bellowing male bullfrog

2: Baby Twin-Spot Spiny Lizard on a fence: This calm little lizard let me catch a quick snapshot of it sitting near the top of a fence post.

Baby Spiny Lizard on Fence

1: American Alligator in MC Escher Style: This photo reminded me of MC Escher’s work, although the effect wasn’t intentional.

American Alligator M.C. Escher Theme

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