habitat photo Frog and toad chorus. 1am, 26 May 2016, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area near Ithaca, New York. © Lang Elliott. PLEASE PLAY AT LOW VOLUME to simulate a natural listening experience.

The night before leaving on a weeklong journey, I drove to a nearby wildlife refuge to see what the frogs and toads were up to, knowing full well that changes were in the making and the amphibian soundscape would likely be quite different upon my return. I really didn’t plan on doing any recording. I just wanted to pay my respects to nature before leaving town. Little did I anticipate the wonderful mix of sound I would stumble upon.

Pickerel FrogStopping alongside a large beaver pond, I noted that quite a number of Pickerel Frogs were snoring, so I decided to capture a soundscape featuring the chorus. To my delight, a lone American Toad soon began trilling from the other side of the pond and several Barred Owls started hooting from different locations way off in the distance. Wow … the addition of the toad and the owls elevated the chorus to a whole new level, producing a fantastic mix possessing a meditative zen-like quality … frog and toad “audio-haiku” at its best.

It is extremely difficult to get a pleasing, natural mix of frogs and toads where one species or the other is not overwhelming the soundscape. While the Pickerel Frogs may be a tad too loud, they do strike me as acceptable, especially given their prominence along the shoreline. What I truly appreciate about this recording is its extraordinary depth, with the different sound-objects originating from a variety of distances and directions. Especially delightful to me are the intimate water sounds (produced by small fish?), which inform the listener that the pond is only a few feet away.

If you set the volume so that nothing is overwhelming your ear, you should be able to relax into a very pleasurable and soothing listening experience. Please let me know what you think. I’m hopeful that this recording will transport you into nature and provide a taste of the magic to be found there.

Species in Chorus:

  • Spring Peepers (a small chorus that varies in intensity)
  • Pickerel Frogs (snoring sounds)
  • American Toad (a single male producing long, musical trills
  • Green Frogs (a few croaks here and there)
  • Barred Owls (distant hooting)
  • Gray Treefrogs (way off in the distance at the very beginning)
  • Minnows (I’m guessing they are making the occasional splashes)
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