Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gray tree frogs: the urban batrachoscopist

The urban batrachoscopist
Video: Wayne E. Crist
Text: Jim McKenney

In his spare time, the urban ornithoscopist  keeps eyes and ears out for other activity. Here’s a great frog report: gray tree frogs singing in numbers in response to the day’s rain storms.

The rains we had last week brought out the tree frogs in numbers. It’s not unusual at this time of year to hear one calling – and sometimes being answered – in the evening; but on Saturday evening, July 30 and into Sunday July 31 they were really partying at a pond near the Grosvenor Metro Station.
I probably left Wayne’s place at about 10:30 P.M. Saturday; as I passed the pond area I opened my car window to hear if there was any amphibian activity. There sure was: they were goin’ to town. When I got home I called Wayne to alert him. Once he realized the level of activity, he got a flashlight and his camera (a camera which records videos with sound) and headed out. What you see here is the result of that, videos made in the first hour of the new day. To make the videos (there are others), he held the camera in one hand and a flashlight in the other. 

These are the frogs which generations of herpetologists knew as the gray tree frog, Hyla versicolor. The taxonomy of these frogs is now much more complicated – and not yet resolved. Have too many cooks spoiled the soup here? At first glance it seems that way, but Google the various online accounts and see for yourself. 

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