Hello, spring! It was 75 degrees when I went for a walk at Naugatuck State Forest this afternoon -- did I say "spring"? I think I meant "summer"! -- and things are really coming to life out there. In fact, I saw many creatures that I hadn't seen yet this year. It was a great day for firsts!
Like first amphibians, for instance. I'd heard Spring Peepers and saw Wood Frog eggs in the woods this past Thursday, but today I got to actually see the Wood Frogs for myself. I love these little creatures and the weird "quack"-ing sounds the males make. Some of the frogs were coupled up, pinkish-colored female paired with darker brown male:
But mostly there were single males floating across the pool's surface, waiting for the females, and calling out to them when I wasn't looking:
The frogs have produced quite a collection of eggs already -- I wonder how much longer they'll continue their activities:
I spent some time watching a bunch of Red-spotted Newts swimming along the shore of the lakes:
Newts are awesome (and so pretty!), and like the Wood Frogs, it seems like they might now have reproduction on their minds -- or at least, there was a certain amount of wrestling going on while I was there:
I also saw my first caterpillar of the year, a fuzzy Woolly Bear trundling across the path:
Other firsts from today include the first Eastern Phoebe (they're just now coming back from their wintering areas down south), the first turtles (Painted Turtles, basking on logs), and the first tick (crawling up my pant leg, yech).
And there were more cool things to see in the woods, too. A sizable ant mound (which I'd never noticed before) was broken open next to the path, and the big red-and-black ants were scurrying all over the place:
Finally, here's something I've read about on other nature blogs, but that I've never found on my own before -- flowers on an American Hazelnut shrub:
Those long dangly things (catkins) are the male, pollen-bearing flowers, and further along the stem, that tiny pink alien-like growth is the female flower. These little flowers are so weird looking, and also really beautiful -- this is why I'm so glad the internet exists, so that I can be aware of these things and be ready to look for them on my own visits to the woods:
Everything feels so alive now! Hooray for spring!