Monday, February 11, 2013

Episode 148 (2-11-13): A Frog Medley

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of February 11, 2013.

This week, we feature a series of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds, and see if you can guess what animals are making this variety of clucks, peeps, trills, and croaks.  And here’s a hint: Once Groundhog Day passes, Virginia’s waters start jumping with these creatures.

If you guessed frogs or toads, you’re right!  Those were the calls of nine frogs and two toads, part of Virginia’s 27 native species of these two groups of amphibians.  As early as February in the Commonwealth, some species—like the Wood Frog and Spring Peeper—move from overwintering habitats to temporary pools or other wet areas, where males use distinctive calls to attract females for breeding.  As spring and summer progress, Virginia’s ponds, rivers, and other aquatic areas resonate with chorus frogs, tree frogs, pickerel frogs, leopard frogs, bullfrogs, green frogs, and several kinds of toads.  Whether the groundhog saw its shadow or not, frog and toad calls are sure signs of seasonal changes in the air, on the land, and in the water.  Thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and to Lang Elliott for permission to use several of this week’s sounds.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Green Frog was found in an artificial pond at a residence in Blacksburg, Va., April 29, 2007.

Shallow, temporary ponds, such as this one in Montgomery County, Va., on April 29, 2007, offer breeding habitat for frogs and other amphibians.

This Fowler’s Toad was calling beside the James River near Howardsville (Albemarle County), on July 12, 2009.
Acknowledgments: The calls heard in this week’s audio were the following (in order):

Wood Frog, Spring Peeper, American Toad and Spring Peeper chorus, Mountain Chorus Frog, Pickerel Frog, American Bullfrog, Carpenter Frog, Fowler’s Toad, Northern Cricket Frog, Green Frog, and Gray Treefrog.

The sounds of the Wood Frog, Mountain Chorus Frog, American Bullfrog, and Carpenter Frog were excerpted from "The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads" CD, copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Lang Elliott/NatureSoundStudio, used with permission.  For more information, see, or contact VDGIF at 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230; phone: (804) 367-1000 (VTDD); e-mail: dgifweb@dgif.virginia.govLang Elliott’s work is available online at and the “Music of Nature” Web site,

The other sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio, as follows:

Spring Peeper – Blacksburg, Va., March 13, 2010;
American Toad and Spring Peeper chorus – Blacksburg, Va., March 30, 2010;
Pickerel Frog – Peaks of Otter/Blue Ridge Parkway, April 19, 2011;
Fowler’s Toad – Along James River near Howardsville, Va., July 12, 2009;
Northern Cricket Frog – Along the Potomac River/C&O Canal Towpath near Boyd’s Landing, Md., July 10, 2010;
Green Frog - Leesburg, Va., June 28, 2010;

Gray Treefrog – Blacksburg, Va., June 10, 2011.

Information on Virginia frogs was taken from A Guide to the Frogs and Toad of Virginia, by John D. Kloepfer and Chris S. Hobson, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (2011); and

“Species Information: Amphibians [or Reptiles or other group]” from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, online at

For more information on Virginia amphibians:

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, by B.S. Martof et. al., University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill (1980);

Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); and

Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS), online at

For an account of Spring Peepers, their connection to ephemeral spring ponds, and the importance of amphibians generally, please see "Vernal ponds spring to life with peepers' serenades," in the April 2013 issue of Bay Journal.

Are you interested in amphibians and particularly in frog calls?  If so, you might want to consider volunteering for the Virginia Frog and Toad Calling Survey, coordinated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  See information online at, or contact the department at (804) 367-1000.  The Virginia program is part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.  These programs use the sensitivity of amphibians to water quality as a tool for assessing changes or threats to aquatic systems.

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.