Frog LoggingKeeping a record of milestone amphibian events.
An easy way to acquaint yourself with the annual cycle of nature is to keep track of various natural occurrences in a log or journal. A fun place to start is by learning about the species found in Northeast Ohio. A good place to find species information and further information about frogs is Frogwatch USA. Learn to identify these species by buying a guide.
Once you have some basic knowledge of frogs, begin logging them by recording the date you hear the first frog calls in the spring, what species you hear, the date the salamander migrations begin, the date you first observe frog eggs hatching, and the date you observe the last of these. You should also note such things as the conditions when you observed the amphibian signs, such as rain fall time, duration, and amount, air temperature, and so on. The location is also important, as there may be variation between different populations of frogs. Using a GPS reciever is a good way to record coordinates that can be accurately plotted on a map if you know how.
Make a simple form on a word processor or spreadsheet with spaces for each attribute you want to record, and keep update it for several years. Over time, you will have a waelth of data which may contain clues as to the life cycle of these amphibians, and how closely it relates to weather. For example, you may see in your data that the beginning of the salamader migration may coincide with the first warm evening rain of the spring. Can you see any patterns emerging in your data?
In order to make your frog logging as enjoyable as possible, you should look and listen for amphibian signs during the best conditions, which are generally moist and warm. Don't bother to look if the weater is not above 45 to 50 degrees fahrenheit. About 30 minutes after sundown on a foggy evening is the best time to begin listening for frog calls. Nights with a light rain rate a close second. However, if rain is heavier than a drizzle, or if there is more than a slight breeze, it will be difficult to hear the frog calls.
Be sure to scout a prospective frogging spot in the daylight. You don't want to get lost because of night-time disorientation. Carry a flashlight, and if near bike trails or roadways, be sure to wear light colored reflective clothing to guard against collisions. Always go with a partner, since one slip in prime amphibian habitat could mean that you will land in water of unknown depth and unknown bottom conditions. Besides, a night in the field is much more enjoyable with someone to collaborate with on identification. Always try to find someone more knowledgeable than yourself so that you can pick up on their techniques, tricks and experiences.