Gene would be happy to know that the eastern gray treefrogs that she mentioned in “Moths of the Limberlost” still call the Limberlost cabin home. They have been very vocal this year and could be heard at the cabin and all over Geneva from April until early August.
In northeastern Indiana, we have the possibility of hearing and seeing eleven species of frogs and toads. Of those eleven species, nine are known to make their home at Limberlost, they are: spring peepers, chorus frogs, eastern gray treefrogs, wood frog, American toad, American bullfrog, green frog, northern leopard frog and northern cricket frog. This is good news as it means that Limberlost has a healthy environment that will support the frogs. It is possible that with the continued habitat restoration that Limberlost could have the remaining two in our area, the Fowler’s toad and the pickerel frog.
March to August is when the frogs’ vocalization is at its height during breeding season for this area. The best time to listen is after sunset when the frog songs are at their loudest and called a full chorus.
In March 2011, I became certified by FrogWatch USA through the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo FrogWatch Chapter. At the end of my third year with FrogWatch in Allen County, I reported hearing northern cricket frogs along the Wabash River in Geneva in 2012 and 2013 to Kathy Terlizzi. Kathy is the Volunteer Manager at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. She asked if I would document the northern cricket frogs in 2014 as they have been in steep decline in this area of Indiana and other places.
Northern cricket frogs can be found in marshes, marshy ponds, and slow moving streams. New York’s population of this species has been in decline for more than eighty years. Currently, there is discussion about reintroducing them in four areas of the eastern part of the state.
On May 23, Randy Lehman and I, heard the northern cricket frog, the target frog, for the first time this year. There were several heard with overlapping calls. The next night, the northern cricket frogs and the eastern gray treefrogs were in full chorus. What a wonderful sound! By June 27, northern cricket frogs were heard in fourteen locations in Geneva; seven were in ponds and three were located on restored wetlands including the Limberlost Swamp Wetlands Preserve and Rainbow Bottom.
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Curator Mark Weldon was pleased to know that the northern cricket frogs are in Geneva. Mark shared my data with Alan Resetar, Herpetologist, at the Chicago Field Museum, who has an interest in the northern cricket frogs.
This year, the survey was conducted for FrogWatch USA along the Wabash River at Rainbow Bottom on ground owned by the Friends of the Limberlost. Five species of frogs were recorded. Protecting a species such as the northern cricket frog is one reason why it is the Friends of the Limbrlost mission to retain and create habitat for wild creatures. When you donate to the Friends of the Limberlost’s Limberlost Swamp Remembered, you are helping restore and maintain these important ecosystems.
Why be a FrogWatch USA Citizen Scientist? You will learn more about wetlands and local amphibian diversity and help with collecting data on frogs and toads. It is a fun project to do with your children or grandchildren. For more information on FrogWatch USA, check out FrogWatch USA on facebook or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathy Terlizzi at email@example.com.
*The Indianapolis Star, 10 Aug 1923, p. 3.