Yesterday morning my friend was running late—she slept very little the night before due to a cranky wee one. So, Pamela, another friend and her son, and I amused ourselves. This comfortable mossy spot intrigued me. I listened to birds and hoped to see one to photograph. When that failed, I stalked this eastern comma butterfly (Polygonia comma) and added another entry to my BAMONA account.
Pamela basked in the sun with her buddy. The focal point of this picture suggests the color red, and I found it intriguing that, on the walk, vermillion things popped out at us. My friend Jennifer Gagnon blogs about how attention to red can be one way to spot things with new eyes...
... a shy cardinal
... budding red maples against a cerulean sky
Jennifer also recommends focusing on one theme, such as blooms. This week, we saw even more of our state flower (Carolina jessamine) dotting the landscape with their lively yellow trumpets.
Another focal point is your own interests. Spiders intrigue Jennifer, while birds catch my eye. Do you see the flock of wild turkeys? We often find them foraging far off in the distance. One seasonal interest that has caught our attention in this wetland is water. The past couple of weeks have poured down rain. Last week, one of the kids noted, "Now we have a real castle (a 'tree' with numerous skinny trunks). It is surrounded by a moat." Spots that were once dry are now flooded!
We were nearing the end of our weekly walk when the magic began! Jennifer encourages students of nature to listen. When you have a bunch of littles running around, that is hard to do. We heard this noise that sounded like cars on a highway rushing by—only we know there is no nearby highway. We listened hard for some distinctive call in between the child sounds and our own shushes. Our first theory was birds. Grackles travel in flocks and can be quite noisy. The characteristic squeaky-gate sound never popped out. One of the kids suggested a waterfall, and then my friend's husband suggested frogs. We decided to go off trail and follow the sound to its source.
As we drew closer, the noise grew louder and louder; and we confirmed the frog theory. We found a spot of wetlands filled with frogs. The water burbled with the motion of these amphibians. As we explored, we stopped caring about getting our feet wet. Keeping the children clean was not on our minds. The excitement of making our own discovery enchanted us.
We spotted hundreds and thousands of frog eggs.
And, then, one of our party caught a frog! How do we know these are frogs? Bulgy eyes, narrow body, smooth, moist skin. The question I have is what kind of frog? As I cannot make up my mind yet because Carolina offers many possibilities, I will leave it unanswered until our next visit. You know there will be another visit.
Everyone had to see the little frog, of course!
Then, Pamela surprised us! She softly murmured, "Frog turn into a prince." She suddenly leaned over and pretended to kiss the little guy (we assume)! Alas! I was not filming. I turned on the recorder and asked her to try again, and she did! She is now called the frog whisperer.
I put together this short video to give you an idea of our adventure!