Thunderstorms dropped heavy rain on western Kentucky on April 24, so I wasn’t surprised that frogs and toads burst into action that evening:
Frog and Toad Chorus with Lang talking – recorded 24 April 2010 by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky.
The major species singing were the Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), whose song is a brief rattling trill, and the American Toad (Bufo americaus), whose song is a long musical trill. Below I feature recordings of both. I also heard Spring Peepers and a few calls from Northern Cricket Frogs. I may have even heard an Upland Chorus Frog.
My real “catch of the night,” however, was finding a male Cope’s Gray Treefrog mounted on top of a male American Toad, in the mating position known as “amplexus”. Do these two species hybridize? Heavens no, and anyway, these are both males! Nonetheless, I presume the treefrog is happy with his catch, unaware that the liaison will not lead to procreation. Is the toad “happy” with the arrangement? I bet not—perhaps “annoyed” is a better word for his state of mind. One wonders why he doesn’t just “shake it off” and get on with his life:
Parallels with human behavior are obvious—misguided “attachment” contributing to a relationship that obviously isn’t going anywhere. Sound familiar?
First off, here is a closeup of two male Cope’s Gray Treefrogs, with an American Toad periodically sounding off in the background:
Brief rattling trills of two Cope’s Gray Treefrogs. Recorded by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, April 24, 2010, at 9:18 pm.
Here is a clean recording of the melodic trills of an American Toad, the same toad that calls in the background in the above recording:
Calls of an American Toad. Recorded by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, April 24, 2010, at 9:18 pm.
Here’s something special. In this chorus of Cope’s Gray Treefrogs, listen for occasional “chirping squeaks.” These are the aggression calls of the males, given by a an upset male when another male gets too close (I’ve marked the locations of the chirps with “x”):
Calls of Cope’s Gray Treefrogs with aggressive chirps interspersed—chirps are marked with an ‘x’. Recorded by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, April 24, 2010, at 9:15 pm.
One last recording. If you were listening carefully when you watched the featured video, you will have noticed a Whip-poor-will singing in the background. Well, I chased him down and got a fair recording. It was a little breezy and there was a whooshy stream nearby, but this is special: my first whip-ppor-will recording of the season. I’ve been hearing them at Land Between the Lakes for two days now. Enjoy!:
Songs of a Whip-poor-will. Recorded by Lang Elliott at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, April 24, 2010, at 9:05 pm.