Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gray treefrogs

I took all of GAIN Academy with me today to Engeldinger Marsh. Today was our last day with the Park Pack from the City of West Des Moines. It's theme was Life in a Pond. "A" of GAIN felt pretty left out of our visit here on Halloween 2006, and the weather seemed so nice that I felt we had to be outside. "C" also loves any excuse to use his new boots. And the younger two enjoy using the zip-off feature of their convertible pants. I like my convertible pants, too, so I understand how they feel.

We got the marsh and immediately noticed that the grass had been burned prior to our visit. We also noticed frog sounds. Those spring peeper "peep" sounds were wonderfully absent. What we heard was similar to a chorus frog, but lower in pitch and pace. Since I had the entire park pack along, we were able to pop the tape in for confirmation on the sound. The enclosed book indicated that this time of year is appropriate for hearing gray treefrogs, so we're 80% sure that is what we heard.

The Park Pack had a very nice laminated quick ID guide that we used after we were done with the nets (also from the park pack). We got to see frog eggs, crawdad parts, three kinds of snails (including a type that "G" named "Sneaky Guys"), a speedy beetle, worms, and a couple larvae. We narrowed the one larva to two options on the quick guide, with the help of the enclosed magnifier box. It just didn't hold still long enough for us to count legs!

The only downer of our of time there was losing my sandal. The water was shallow and warm, and there is very little trash in this area, so I wore sandals. I decided not to step on the hummocks for the walk back to the car. Well, when someone behind me called for help, I had to stop my quick pace. That was it -- I sank, both feet, in the "sucka mud." Deep. I got both feet out, one with a sandal and one without. After three tries, I pulled my right sandal out with my foot. I had a different pair of shoes to wear for the ride home.