Save the Frogs Day 2016

“What is there to life

if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of a whippoorwill

 or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?”

Chief Seattle, 1854

Today, April 30, 2016, is Save the Frogs day. I love listening to the frogs. When I hear the sounds of frogs croaking loudly, I know warmer weather is being ushered in. I look forward to their beautiful sounds after each long winter. The different croaking sounds create a song over the nearby fields, ponds, and river flats that surround my house.

Frogs serve as an important role in our fragile ecosystem. In tadpole form, the growing frogs keep water areas clean from over growing algae. As the little frogs grow into adulthood, they begin eating insects as part of their diet. The consumption of insects is important in keeping the potential spread of diseases down.

For example, mosquitos have been known to transmit diseases to humans. Frogs help in keeping the mosquito population down. Without frogs, mosquitos and other insects would be out of control. An increasing population of insects would create serious pest control problems for humans.

Frogs are also known as an indicator species. When the frogs’ living environment becomes polluted, the results will be easy to view in the frogs’ offspring. The new frogs will be born with abnormalities which provide a warning to humans living in the same area. Protecting the frogs’ natural environment will, in turn, protect humans.

Honestly, I cannot imagine the world without frogs that let me know the Earth is awakening after a winter slumber.

Until next time….peace….

 

World Wetlands Day

Today is considered to be World Wetlands Day; I love these unofficial holidays especially the ones that directly relate to nature and wildlife. Even though today in Mid-Michigan; the entire area pretty much had a snow day.  Some areas actually received 18.7 inches of snow last night.  Mother Nature just wanted to remind us who really is in charge.

Wetlands provide habitat for various types of wildlife and plants. Here in Michigan, we have wetland areas.  I will often refer to them as river flats; the name everyone in the area calls them.

Wetlands have various benefits.  The areas reduce flooding by absorbing the rain or snow melt off.  At the same time, wetlands act as a filter getting rid of pollutants and other contaminants by breaking down the material. In Michigan, there are actually three different types of major wetlands: marsh, swamp, and bogs.

Marshes

The river flats are more like marshes.  Depending on the time of year, they can an inch of water to several feet deep or completely froze solid.  I like these areas; I can grab my camera and photograph all types of wildlife.  I have spent hours photographing herons, cranes, ducks, geese, and much more.

Swamps

Swamps are more wooded. They are usually home to various types of little creatures including frogs, owls, and raccoons.  The plant life in the swaps can also be beautiful.

Bogs

Bogs are a result of decaying vegetation.  Bogs have different type of animal species including turtles.

Watching the wildlife in the wetland areas is fascinating.  I can spend hours outdoors during the warmer months.  Not today, when the temp is about 3˚F right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the winter months too.  I just don’t get outdoors as much.

According to the Michigan DNR website, these are the plant and animals that frequent the wetland areas:

Arrowhead
Bald Eagle
Baltimore Butterfly
Black Spruce
Black Tern
Bowfin
Brook Stickleback
Bulrush
Cardinal-Flower
Common Cattail
Common Loon
Cotton Grass
Damselfly
Dragonflies
Dragon’s Mouth, Wild Pink
Dwarf Mistletoe
Eastern Newt
Great Blue Heron
Green Frog
Green-backed Heron
Iris
Kingfisher
Kirtland’s Snake
Lichen
Liverwort
Marsh Wren
Marsh-Marigold
Michigan Holly
Minnow
Northern Harrier
Osprey
Pitcher Plant
Poison Sumac
Red Maple
Red-bellied Dace
Red-winged Blackbird
Sandhill Crane
Smartweed, Knotweed
Snail
Sphagum Moss
Spotted Turtle
Sundew
Tamarack
Trumpeter Swan
Water Milfoil
Water Shrew
Water-lily
Waterweed, Elodea

So, the next time you see a wetland area on the side of the road while you are zooming down a freeway; take a moment to think about all the wildlife the area has to offer.

Reference:

Michigan DNR (2015). Wetlands. Retrieved from:

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_22664-61132–,00.html