A Tangle of Bright Moments: Frog Hugs

“Wood frogs emerge from hibernation when warm rainfall thaws them. They participate in a yearly migration that brings them to vernal pools for breeding, starting in late February and March. Males search for a mate by hugging other frogs until they find one who is round enough to be carrying eggs. Females lay approximately 1000 eggs, often in the deeper sections of the pools. Communal egg masses are attached to vegetation within the pools. Eggs will hatch in 10-30 days, depending on the temperature. Tadpoles typically take a little over a month to mature into frogs.” ― Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension


Spouse and I try to get to the Oak Hill Trails in Concord NH when the wood frogs are mating, usually in April. They sound like a flock of ducks quacking, which is what most people think they are the first time they hear them (I did). If you approach their pool or pond, and they notice (which they almost always do — it takes only one, who tells the others, right?), they become silent, and even if you stand there without moving or making noise, the frogs won’t start their calls again for quite a long time. But you can probably already hear more frogs in another vernal pool not too far away, so try to sneak up on them.


The day we walked the trails, mid-April, the high temp was 62F in Concord, with a low of 26F, which is a fairly large spread. We were there from about 1:30 to 3, once the day had warmed, and the frogs were quacking.  (Part of the pond had ice cover, as you can see, but part of it further on was open.)

One frog:


Another frog:


Same frog as above, with more context.



There were a few ground bees about, too. I think this is some sort of Andrena, a mining bee, one of the first pollinators every spring.


At this time of year, there’s not much colour, so the red berries of wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens; some berries are visible even in winter if they’re not covered in snow) attracted me.


And this lovely luxurious long-haired moss.


There wasn’t much ice on the trail except a few patches.



Featured image: I liked this artsy shot of the frog pond.
This is one in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.

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