Pond Watch
November 2009
Your Subtitle text

POND WATCH - NOVEMBER 2009

Frog of the Day is over for this season. Just watching the pond...










   ...until salamander night next March !

 



November Pond



November is the month when the pond critters tuck in for the winter down into the mud of the pond bottom.  They slow their metabolism and take in oxygen directly from the soggy mud through their skin, instead of breathing air through their noses into their lungs.
  Not MY idea of cozy nap, but it works for them – they always show up the following spring !
 
The spring frogs wood frogs, spring peepers, and gray treefrogs hunker down in the woods across the street, under the carpet of leaves.  Next spring they will thaw out and wake up, and make the journey across the road to the pond to make noise, breed, and lay eggs.  The wood frogs do it first on salamander night... the spring peepers wait a week longer, and the gray treefrogs are six weeks later.





LAST FROG  and  LAST TURTLE  of 2009
The season is over  
and the winners are...

                     
This is the first year I have looked carefully for
                             critters as it gets colder ... surprised to discover how
                             late they go!







Last frog
 November 16









Last turtle
 November 25






As of November 7 (first ice), the pond critter activity slowed nearly to a halt the winter shutdown is imminent.  The frogs are all tucked in ALMOST all of them, anyway  either at the bottom of the pond (bullfrogs and green frogs) or under the leaf litter in the woods across the street (wood frogs, spring peepers, and gray treefrogs).  Turtles go deep into the pond-bottom mud - up to three feet down!

Two glorious post-season "picnic days" on
November 8 and 9 granted a brief reprieve no frogs, but the turtles were still out!  They are still poking their faces up as of November 25.


NOVEMBER POND = Turtles!
It's getting cold ... one of these'mornings there will be ice!  (Sure enough, Nov 7.)  The frogs are tucked in for the winter under the pond bottom. 

With no frogs, I have turned to  turtle-watching.  The turtles 
seem to hang on much longer than the frogs.  Who knew?  Does that shell help them deal with cold water better than the naked skin of frogs?  You wouldn't think to look for turtles in November!

November 25, 2009
THE LAST TURTLE ?
Three cold, gray,  no-turtle days
but then... a face!  Looks like the same
individual as November 20 and 21. 


November 22, 2009
BATHING BEAUTY
No turtles today, but a blue jay stopped by to fluff its feathers in the shallows.
The receding shoreline has attracted many birds who rummage for edible tidbits in the leaves and bathe in the belly-deep shallow water... juncos, white-throated sparrows, house sparrows, and robins have all come to the shore during the past month.

 

November 21, 2009
ONE MORE
Still warmer than typical for November
(55F/13C).  Upon close inspection, it looks
like this is the same individual as yesterday.
See the blowup for an explanation. 



November 20, 2009
HOW LATE WILL THEY GO?
Third icing yesterday... no signs of life.
BUT warm again today (57F/14C).  
Maybe it's time  to make up a "Last Turtle"
medal... will there be a Thanksgiving turtle?


November 18, 2009
SECOND ICING
Will my November turtles (and that Nov 16
renegade frog, below) finally decide to
hibernate when they bump their heads on the ice above them?



 November 16, 2009  
WHAT THE ... ?     A  FROG !!
The "Last Frog" medal gets re-awarded!
Scanning for turtle faces, and a frog
eyeball turns up ...  three weeks after the previous "last frog" on
October 26.



November 15, 2009
SEEING DOUBLE
Another warm day (60F/16C)
Four turtles - this one, plus three other
heads peeking up here and there



November 14, 2009
SPOTS IN THE ROAD
A rainy night... any late-season road-crossers?
Wet-skinned critters get wanderlust when it rains at night.
About 10 worms on the move, one slug... and a SALAMANDER!
Probably a this-year's metamorph on the way to the woods to hibernate.  Unfortunately, this one got hit and didn't make it, but those spots were as beautiful as ever.
The big thing will be when they all come BACK to the pond
from the woods  on
salamander night next March.
For a typical collection of wet wanderers on a summer night,
see
frogs in the road.

 


November 12, 2009
UP PERISCOPE!
A fleeting snapper snout - here and gone,
like Nessie.  They don't have face markings, so
I can't tell if it's the November 1 snapper or a different one.



November 11, 2009
STILL OUT THERE 
Always one more...
(50F/10C)



November 9, 2009
NIBBLE RINGS
These guys have been doing this since spring,
rising
like trout to nip something at the surface. 
My theory is that they are bullfrog tadpoles,
which are very large and overwinter like frogs,
then finish their metamorphosis into frogs the next spring.


 November 9, 2009
ANOTHER PICNIC DAY 
But only ONE turtle showed up


November 8, 2009
LOOK WHO'S BACK !
Is it Harriett (October 17) with more
grownup headfeathers?
She/he stalked across the pond, grabbed
one goodie (a bullfrog tadpole?), stood like
a statue by the fallen tree, then took off.



November 8, 2009
TURTLE PARTY !  
A late-autumn "picnic day" (65F, 18C).
FOUR turtles showed up, including this one basking high and dry.  



November 7, 2009
 ICE !
Melted by mid-morning, but a hint of
things to come



November 2, 2009
ALWAYS ONE MORE ...
A gray day, but turtle snouts still stand out against the water.
Turtles in November!  Don't they read the
calendar ?



November 1, 2009
SNAPPING TURTLE!
Pretty hard to see, but it's that unmistakable
pointed snout with no markings.
If you're not convinced, see the blowup.