Guest Author - Peyton Creadick
Frog Watching: Move over bird watchers! The frog watchers are here!
What is a Frog Watcher?
Well, the simple explanation is that a Frog Watcher is someone who watches frogs!
What are the best times to watch frogs?
At night (in most cases)! The best time to watch is 30 minutes after sunset or later. Breeding begins in the spring (as early as February if the weather is mild), so youíre more likely to see evidence of the frog lifecycle, but keep your distance. You donít want to disturb their attempts at breeding. If youíre concerned about proper procedure, check out the Declining Amphibians Populations Task Force Fieldwork Code of Practice.
Spring is a very interesting time for frog watchers! Pick an area that is away from traffic but still sage to visit at night. Skip full moons and windy nights, because those tend to inhibit amphibians. Also keep in mine that some frogs are diurnal (active during the day), so check the species you have in mind before going out. Youíll increase your chances of seeing one, if you know when to look!
Where are the best places to watch frogs?
The wetlands are the best places. If youíre not sure where to look, try the wetlands mapper tool in the links at the bottom of the article. You can also try your townís planning and zoning department. Just ask them where to find the wetlands in your area. Or, you can try your local Parks and Recreation Department. If you do choose to do your frog watching in a park, keep in mind that most parks close at dusk, so you may need special permission or a permit.
Whatís the best way to watch frogs?
Wear clothes that donít make any noise. Be patient. Skip the full moons and windy nights as mentioned. You can even find information on line for determining how much wind is too much wind. Listen to the sounds. Put both hands to your ear and try to identify the calls. Follow them! Donít interfere with breeding frogs. Donít pad around in the water.
What Equipment will I need to watch frogs?
The basic frog watcher hobbyist just needs a flash light, a watch, a thermometer, some paper, and a pencil. A clipboard is an excellent item to take along.
What frogs might I see?
The type of frogs you might see really depends on where you live and where you choose to do your frog watching. In fact, you may not see them at all, but you may hear them. There are many books that can help you determine what frogs you might find. You can also do a simple internet search along the lines of ďfrogs in GeorgiaĒ (insert your state).
Canít I just watch in my yard?
Sure! I find tree frogs on my sliding glass door all the time. You might start in your yard and branch out to the wetlands from there. You could take a baby pool, partially filled with water and leave it. You will most likely find some tree frogs making a breeding ground out of it. Pick one with a little slide in case some terrestrial frogs take up residence. Terrestrial froglets will not be able to escape if there is outlet. The downside of this effort is that you may make a home for mosquitoes to breed in the process, but the tadpoles can eat the larvae in most cases. You can even do this with an in-ground swimming pool (as we discovered one year when my step-father forgot to shock the pool in the spring Ė tadpoles everywhere), but I donít recommend it! Still, you may want to stick to the wetlands or to finding frogs in your yard rather than bringing the frogs to you!
Are there actual frog watching organizations I can join?
Yes! If youíre in the U.S., there is Frogwatch USA. Check the links at the end of the article for their web address. One great thing about Frogwatch is that they provide you with information on sites close to you for the best success. The Frogwatch website is very useful in identifying the frogs in your state and the Frogwatchers in your state. If you do join an organization, make sure to see what they require in terms of equipment and participation. They may have stronger guidelines than what is listed in this article and would be required for the casual (or occasional) frog watcher.
So now youíre ready to start frog watching! If youíre interested in stepping up from frog watching into conservation, Frogwatch USA can put you to work collecting data while you frog watch. Whatever route you choose, enjoy it! Happy Frogging!