I had already spooked off a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks and was looking for signs of botanical life (having already found flowering Coltsfoot and newly sprouting leaves of wild daylillies and daffodils that had somehow escaped from someone's yard) when a sporadic croaking sound caught my attention and drew me forward. While my frog identification skills are lacking, I felt confident that what I was hearing was one or several Wood Frogs. Soon I happened upon this:
Not much to look at, right? Just a flooded ditch, right? No friends, I'm here to tell you it's much more elegant than that.
Closer inspection brought much joy to my heart. Big balls of gelatinous goo with little black dots in the middle could only mean one thing.
And not just any frog eggs, but the very first frog eggs I've ever laid my own eyes upon. What an exciting find. I was so excited that I texted Dave a short message to the effect of "OMG, just found frog eggs!"
I would like to think that I would have seen these on my own anyway, but the telltale singing of the frogs nearby was really what led me to these eggs. Are they Wood Frog eggs? Probably, but I can't be sure.
As excited as I was about my discovery, I soon began to fret for these fragile creatures. Recent heavy rains had created this "pool," but I worry if this ditch will stay wet enough long enough to sustain them for as long as they need the water. Also, the setting is not exactly ideal. If even a fraction of the eggs survive to actually grow to adulthood, how many of them will end up hopping across the road and getting hit? This past Saturday I found 3 smooshed frogs along the road. I know it's all part of the life cycle, but it's still just a little bit bothersome.
I will be keeping an eye on this precious roadside puddle, checking the progress of the little ones. All the photos above were taken just over a week ago. When I went back this past Saturday to visit, the little black dots had turned into something a little more recognizable as a tadpole. If I go back in another week, I imagine things will look very different, with most of the eggs gone and tadpoles swimming around.
Developing tadpoles with new egg spawn to the right.
Thank you to the singing frogs who alerted me to this. I drive past this spot every day, and I never would have known these eggs were here if I hadn't taken the time to explore this stretch of road. I urge you all to get out there and do the same - you never know WHAT you'll find!