Signs of Spring Update: Tree Swallows and Frogs

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

The familiar pointed wing silhouette of the Tree Swallow graced Ashland Nature Center on their Spring arrival day: March 8, 2012. Image by Derek Stoner.

Last week saw a flurry of new Signs of Spring over the course of two days.  On the morning of March 7, Joe Sebastiani and others noted several Tree Swallows flying around above the Ashland Lodge.  These birds specialize in eating flying insects, and their arrival is timed to coincide with the onset of “fly season.”   Sure enough, plenty of flying insects were noted that day at Ashland.

Later in the day, Amy White reported a chorus of Spring Peepers emanating from the Ashland Marsh.  These tiny tree frogs vocalize loudly in a steady series of peeps and are sure harbinger of spring: thus their appropriate name!
On March 8, a herpetology field trip led by Jim White discovered the next signs of spring while exploring the Ashalnd Marsh after dark.  Both American Toads and Pickerel Frogs were found, with the 60-degree temperatures spurring activity in these amphibians.   Other great discoveries made by the group include Bullfrogs and a Red Salamander.
So by the end of Week 3 of the Signs of Spring Contest, we have already accounted for 8 of the 20 Signs at Ashland Nature Center.   What Signs are you seeing in your area?
Signs of Spring Tally To Date:
Snow Drops and Skunk Cabbage:  February 19
Wood Frog Egg Mass:  February 27
Groundhog: February 28
Tree Swallow and Spring Peeper:  March 7
American Toad and Pickerel Frog: March 8 

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