We stopped on the driveway beside the west side of the old Marcy cabin. It was a mild mid-October afternoon. Daughter Allison and I were discussing the plant, the Virginia waterleaf. We had a leaf in hand with no usual water marks on its green surface. I said, “We’ll take it home and use my Audubon guide book.” Just then Allison exclaimed, “ There’s a frog!” Actually there were two little frogs hiding in the fallen leaves and forest debris. She was finally able to catch one of the little guys. Yes he had the telltale black mask. We had a Wood frog. It was about four centimetres in length. He was only half grown. Primarily it’s a nocturnal frog except at mating time. But here they were in broad daylight,
On page 381 of the Audubon Amphibian Guide book says that after their few short days of mating they “…disappear into the surrounding country.” All the years of walking the trails of Marcy Woods this was only the second sighting of Wood frogs after the mating season for me. Audubon’s guide use of the word “disappear” seems quite appropriate. They hibernate in the forest debris during winter. A most remarkable frog. Next spring at DiCienzo’s Marcy Woods pond I will lsyen once again to their loud “Quackings” at their mating time.
Writer’s note: On the cover of my new book, When Nature Calls, is my sketch of the Wood frog.
Teale’s Trail Wood Nature Center, located in Connecticut, is on the same latitude as our Marcy’s Woods. It has seven walking paths radiating from his house. They cross the fields that surround the white-sided home. They become well trodden trails and thread their ways through the woods and into wetlands, along brooks, across boulder fields and over ridges. Then they meander into ravines among ferns and wildflowers until you reach the pond and a waterfall. Climb up the juniper clad hillsides and back by the beaver dam and past Teale’s little log writing cabin nestled among the aspens.We stopped and entered the little writing building and looked over the large pond. Hampton Creek is ahead with a cascade foaming over its rocks as it crosses Old Wood Road. Winding, branching, and crisscrossing these seven trails of Trail Wood run for a total of a little more than three miles (6 km). It seemed longer.
It was three years since I realized my goal. We finally reached Trail Wood and walked some of the paths of Edwin Way Teale‘s treasured setting. A great thrill!
Worth trying too is Backus Woods, near Long Point It has many trails to explore. It is a Carolinian setting like Marcy Woods and not too far away. Good trail maps are available at the Centre, Be curious in nature. Walk some of Niagara’s nature trails this Fall.