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Posts Tagged "climate"

Spring Peepers

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017

Spring Peepers

Spring Peepers are a type of small tree frog. Truthful to their name, they emerge from hibernation in early spring. Soon after, the males – often hundreds at a time – will take over wetlands and call on warm and rainy nights to stake out a territory and attract a mate. Their surprisingly loud “peep” calls are usually produced from a safe location hidden in dense vegetation, and it can be difficult to spot them. An inflatable vocal sac on their throat serves as an amplifier, which allows them to call very loudly. The sound produced by a chorus of these inch-long frogs can be truly deafening...

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Scaup Surge

Posted by on Mar 12, 2017

Scaup Surge

Thanks to recent warm temperatures and favorable winds, Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) like those shown here are now on the move back to the north, and during the past couple of weeks their numbers have been growing across the region. While you can find some throughout the winter in open areas on large bodies of water such as Lake Erie, most members of this species migrate south to evade the cold. We have been able to enjoy several thousand – probably 5,000 or 6,000 and maybe more – in the waters of Long Island Sound off Stratford Point. Most stay rather far offshore and away from...

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Frost Free Frogs?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017

Frost Free Frogs?

“The animal kingdom relies on staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter.” Bernd Heinrich renowned biologist and author – made this statement in his bestselling book entitled “Winter World”. The Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is a true embodiment of this statement; these tiny amphibians can survive for weeks with an incredible two-thirds of their body water completely frozen—to the point where they are essentially solid frogsicles! The adaptation that enables this remarkable feat is known as a cryoprotectant – a substance that prevents damage to cells and tissues during...

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Frog Friday

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017

Frog Friday

Last Wednesday was an unusually warm day in the northeast. Temperatures reached 60 degrees in some places, and several of our friends in Connecticut reported hearing Spring Peeper calls emanating from the woods. Of course, a mere 24 hours later the area was buried by more than a foot of snow, reminding us that winter is still in full swing. You might think that frogs are not quite as adept at predicting winter weather as, say, groundhogs, but that is not really true. Our days are getting noticeably longer and the increased day length is making animals respond in kind – insects now appear...

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Root for Rain!

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016

Root for Rain!

I post this U.S. Drought Monitor map periodically, and most of the time the focus is on a specific region. However, this December looks to be continuing both short and long-term droughts across wide swaths of the country. California’s disaster will need years or longer to heal, but the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains are also seeing some dry areas. The Southeast has turned very dry while our Northeast continues a severe to even extreme drought as well. The Great Lakes are helping our region stay near precipitation averages, but much of the rest of the country seems to be on a tough...

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