Frog sounds, etc.

Jim McKenney
Thu, 29 Jul 2004 12:54:04 PDT
My garden will not fool anyone into thinking they are at Leeds Castle, but
we enjoy wonderful bird song all year. For Cynthia's mistle thrush, we have
catbirds and mockingbirds.

In addition to the species mentioned by Jay, we are lucky to have the
occasional hermit thrush. And in the early evening, deep from the woods,
veerys can be heard. If the wood thrush is the flute of the avian
orchestra, then the veery is the piccolo. It's hard to believe that the
sound of either species is coming from a bird. 

The resident birds include northern cardinals and song sparrows, both fine

Throughout the winter the unbelievably vibrant, joyous calls of Carolina
wrens seem to laugh at the weather.

Oddly, I've heard a whip poor will only once in all the years we have lived
here (and I'm not sure it was not a chuck will's widow). 

Another hapax legomenon: Hyla cinerea, the gray tree frog Jay mentioned.

Those of us who live where the lack of noise pollution allows these wonders
to be heard are really lucky. I try hard to appreciate every moment of it,
from the first peepers in late winter to the last of the katydids in
November, and every fortuitous bit we get during the winter. 

Many areas of the world apparently don't have these sounds, or certainly
don't have them in such abundance and variety. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'm about to take Lady
Murasaki's The Tale of Genji down from the shelf and read a chapter or two
when the katydids or cicadas are in chorus: let my thoughts drift, swoon
with the rise and fall with the stridulations of the insects, and for a few
moments be one with Heian Japan of a thousand years ago. 


At 10:29 AM 7/29/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>One of the most magical hours I ever spent was in a small walled garden,
>early in the morning, at Leeds Castle, England, listening to mistle
>thrushes singing their songs....they are probably Europe's parallel to
>the mockingbird, although I'm sure nightingales are popular creatures,
>too.  I've never really heard them in action.  Another singer we don't
>hear much of in Central Texas now is the whipporwill, or nighthawk, with
>its plaintive cries that seem to take over all the landscape within
>hearing distance.  I believe fireants are probably to blame for their
>Fortunately College Station has "clean" and unpolluted little waterways
>through the subdivisions, and these are populated with several species
>of toads, tree frogs and real (leopard) frogs.  Bullfrog calls,
>especially, remind me of fishing camps and nights spent camping out in
>the woods.  By keeping these creatures nearby, aided by several species
>of lizards, skinks and geckos and a few well hidden wasp nests, I'm able
>to lead a relatively insect-free life outside in the garden.
>Just this week I was trying to get several short, straggling pipevines
>(Aristolochia fimbriata) to grow up a trellis instead of snaking around
>on the ground inbetween plants.  I thought no butterflies would ever
>notice them at ground level.  The next time I looked, the vines were
>completely denuded, and I had 8 caterpillars of the Pipevine
>Swallowtail.  By the time I returned from work with some cut switches of
>another, larger pipevine, they had disappeared into the neighboring
>plants, where I think they have the ability to change their diet for a
>few days until time to pupate - not all species of caterpillars can do
>this, but these will.
>Hope veering off the 'bulb topic' is not too great a sin.
>Cynthia W. Mueller
>College Station, TX
>Zone 8b-9
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