Ah, my favourite time of year. When everything around you in nature is just bursting with new life. After the long, quiet winter of things in stasis, the world seems alive again and so do I.
That period of time after the snow melts, but things are still dormant and the landscape is a monochrome of grey and brown is to me, a depressing time and one I look forward to leaving behind. No snow left to play in, but no sign yet of the life that has been dormant for months. But some rain (or lots of rain, as is the case this year) and some warmth work an amazing miracle.
That miracle is in full bloom right now. I look out our front window and we are surrounded by bright green – the trees – maples, oaks and ironwoods – surrounding our property. The woods are rife with wildflowers – trilliums, trout lilies, violets, hepatica, and Solomon’s Seal.
And the air is alive with birdsong – Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Great-crested Flycatchers, Blackburnian Warblers, and Veery. The insects are buzzing around in the sunshine. And the frogs are singing their hearts out.
The frog chorus starts in April, with the emergence of the Spring Peepers, so aptly named for their timing and the sound they produce. It is a welcome sign that winter is over and that spring really is starting. The Peeper chorus is loud…. And wonderful. I’ve lived in places in Ontario where the Peepers were SO loud that they drowned out the sound of our TV inside the house – and that’s with all windows and doors closed! Incredible!
Out here, at our little slice of heaven near Westport, Ontario, the Peepers are no less entertaining. The cool evenings of April start with the occasional peep and over the next several days, more join the chorus, until the cool night air is alive with the mating songs of these cryptic little critters. I love reaching that point in early spring where it’s warm enough to sleep with the windows open so that I can be lulled to sleep by the Peeper chorus.
Here we are, already three quarters of the way done May and there are still a few odd Peepers singing their song. But the next chorus in the succession of frog song throughout the spring and summer has begun – the tree frogs. The Grey Tree Frogs take over where the Spring Peepers left off. It starts with the odd trill during daytime – frogs up in the tree tops calling back and forth to each other. As the days get warmer, the calling becomes louder and more frequent. But the real spectacle happens at night. The tree frogs turn our surroundings into what sounds like a tropical paradise!
Last night, after a very long days work around the yard, we decided to have a much-needed soak in the hot tub. The warm water felt good on our aching bodies. But the sounds of the tree frog chorus soothed the soul. The sound was incredible! I honestly felt like I was back in the tropics. The air, from every direction, was alive with the trills of tree frogs, singing their songs of sweet frog love. To me, this is one of the nicest parts of spring. I look forward to it every year and savour it until the last frog sings his song. And once he has, the next chorus starts – the bull frogs. We have a 4 acre beaver pond right behind our house and last summer the bull frog chorus was SO loud that there were nights where it was hard to sleep. But it’s still a nice sound….a lot better than the sounds of cars, buses and people.