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Madame Chairman and honoured guests,
This evening I would like to tell you about the ONTARIO MARSH MONITORING PROGRAM
Madame Chairman ..there is a lot of excitement in the air
in Ontario these days, as Spring approaches
Because for the Amphibians of our province, namely the frog and toad populations
the Spring Mating Season is about to begin.
And this in turn is exciting..for many People in the Province
As they look forward....to participating once again in the
Annual.. Ontario Marsh Monitoring Program.
Also known as....... Frogwatch Ontario
The name Frog WATCH is actually something of a misnomer, as.
participants are not so much watching as listening ..for the distinctive calls
of various species of Amphibians in local wetlands
To try this out, and stay dry while you do so
simply drive around to you local wetland..park your car at the roadside
Roll down the window ......and listen to the sounds of the marsh
Listening is best done in the evening or at night,
as this is when the frogs get frisky...and the calling begins in earnest
By participating in this activity.... We accomplish a number of things
First, We can learn to identify.. the calls of Ontario's amphibians
And also we can learn more generally about Wetlands
And most importantly ..we can have some fun
So the most effective way to monitor Amphibian populations
is to listen.. for the calls of male frogs during their mating season
Male amphibians call for a couple of reasons
One is..........to protect their territory
And the other reason is to attract females.
Each species ... has a very distinctive mating call.
With a little practice .... These become fairly easy to identify,
And from there to count or estimate the number of frogs present in the wetland
In the winter Adult frogs hibernate .. depending on the species
either in the muddy bottoms of ponds and streams..... or in hollow logs .....or in the ground,
And then, in the spring ... They begin to emerge
in South Ontario, they can first be heard in March
whereas in Central/N Ontario they are first heard in April and May
An important point is..
That the various Amphibian species do not all begin calling at the same time;
Different species get active at different times.
as the spring and summer advances
So there is a sequence of species that call
as a particular pond thaws out ....or a wetland warms up
The first species to heard.... in the spring
are usually Wood Frogs... then come the Chorus frogs then the Spring peepers
Then other species begin calling later..continuing on into June and even July
How many species of amphibians are there in Ontario?
There are 12.
Two toads....American and Fowler's toads
And Ten frogs.............Wood, Chorus (2), spring peeper, Grey treefrog, Green frog
and 4 named after other animals
Leopard, Mink, Pickerel and Bull frog
Let's briefly describe these dozen amphibians and the calls that they make.
I don't have a tape recording of these...so I will give you my rendition of the calls
First, The call of the American Toad , a very common amphibian
is long:a 30 sec trill which can dominate the soundscape on a summer evening.
The other Ontario toad is the: Fowlers Toad , quite uncommon
in Canada only found along the north shore of Lake Erie,
It's call: like a baby cry.waaaaa Fowlers Toad
Now on to the frogs:
Wood Frog ......may be the first to call in the spring
The call is a series of sharp quacks, almost like a duck. ("quack")
So if you think you hear the sound of a duck ..in a wetland in spring
it may not be a duck.......It may be a Wood frog
Chorus Frog.. is one of the first species to emerge in the spring.
Call: like running a fingernail along a comb. Demo .Chorus frog
Spring Peeper is heard next: It is a tiny 3 cm tree frog
Call:. Each call is a single, loud, high pitched peep .repeated over and over.
a full chorus can be loud, indeed deafening ..you can hear it half a km away.
Peep peep peep..The Spring Peeper
another treefrog, is the Gray Treefrog
Again the call is like a that of a bird..in this case that of the Red Bellied Woodpecker
As the spring progresses, other frogs begin to make themselves heard:
Green Frog. (a large, green frog)
Call: is described as a deep twang like a loose banjo string. Gunk. Green frog
Leopard frog, with large spots like a leopard
The Call. Sometimes it sounds like a finger rubbed on a wet balloon.......Creeeeeeeek
Mink Frog . So named for having the colour and odour of a mink .
Call: like the tapping of a metal hammer on wood. Or like popcorn popping.
It Starts slowly, then accelerates ...... the Mink frog
The call of the Pickerel Frog .... is a low snoring sound
Pickerel Frogs sometimes call from under water...
snore..............the Pickerel frog
Finally, the Bullfrog , as the largest frog,up to 17 cm long.
It has a call which is a deep resonant growling bass .."jug-o-rum". ...........Bullfrog
So these are our dozen Ontario amphibians ( and the sounds that they make.)
One added point..
It is worth remembering that there was until recently in Ontario.. a 13th species
Blanchard's Cricket Frog.. a small tree frog.
it has unfortunately been silenced
it was last heard on Pelee Island in 1987..
so it seems to have disappeared
This is a reminder to us ..of the importance of monitoring wildlife populations
These populations have certainly proved to be affected by human activity
And not always in a positive way
The Ontario Marsh Monitoring Program is an interesting one.
If you would like to participate..visit the Frogwatch Ontario web site
Or you can call. Quinte Conservation
I would like to conclude
by taking a moment to recreate the sounds of a Marsh in spring time..............With your help
Let us imagine that here ..........in the (facility)
We are in the middle of a swamp. in spring time
we will restrict the number of species in our swamp ..to just 4
(I) Chorus Frog. (sopranos) Spring peeper. (Altos and tenors): Green frog. (Basses) Bull frog.
I will lead off the chorus as the Chorus Frog, then we will phase in..
Here we go..Make it DEAFENING