First Frog

by Carl Strang

Last week I put out the amphibian traps in the stream corridor marsh at Mayslake Forest Preserve. On the first two days the traps caught nothing, but while wading out to one of them I did see the first amphibian of the year. It was not, however, what I would have expected.

Northern leopard frog

As a general rule, and in my experience true in every year before this one, the first frogs we notice in DuPage County are the western chorus frogs. Though I have heard reports of others hearing them, the chorus frogs at Mayslake haven’t started singing yet. While others have reported seeing or hearing leopard frogs at Mayslake in recent years, this was my first.

The frog, very cold and newly out of hibernation, didn’t twitch as I maneuvered around it taking pictures.

The empty traps were themselves of some interest. Last year I put them out later in March, and right away began catching some of the large Dytiscus water beetles. So, I expect to learn something about them this year, either that there is a later time when they become active, or that there is significant variation in their numbers from year to year.

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