Ever since late April, the preponderance of the hits on this blog have had to do with our batrachian and other amphibian friends. I guess frogs just strike a chord with people, which is good, because of things I’ve already said. It’s heartening and at the same time saddening that we keep finding new species and a few representatives of ones we thought were gone for good (“hooray, we found 23 magenta-toed West Carolina Peepers this year! damn, they’re all about to be paved over for a new Wal-Mart!”), but as my saying goes, “all we can do is all we can do.”
There was an old quarry full of water in Golden Gate Park in SF that my pal Rick and I used to go to in the middle of the night, back in the early ’80s, which we called the “frog pond.” We’d sit there and just listen, while drinking Sierra Nevada stout. Once we got settled and stopped making noise, the little ones would start chirping. Patience is a virtue, and after a while the medium-sized ones would add their mezzo to the chorus. Wait long enough and the big boys down at the far end of the little lake would add their deep bass croak. Make any kind of a sound, and they’d all stop, and you’d have to hold your breath for a while for the symphony to begin again.
There’s a little pond called the Woodland Pool at Tower Grove Park, a mile or so from where I live now in St. Louis, where a similar but micro-version of that used to occur, and I’ve sat there at night for the same experience, minus the venerable big frogs. I haven’t seen any froggies there in a while, and I’m hoping they haven’t gone extinct at that location; I’ve been trying to contact the park to help, in case they need to reintroduce native species. I’ve fished out beer bottles and trash from the Pool in the past. TGP isn’t a city park, it’s privately funded from a grant left by Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden next door, back in the 19th century. That didn’t last forever, of course, and their director e-mailed me to say that they get by on city appropriations, fees, and donations from “Friends of Tower Grove Park.” At any rate, being
privately owned is one reason why that park is relatively free of litter, prostitution, and gang activity. There’s a resident coyote, plus red foxes, owls, herons taller than I am, and redtailed hawks, and there’s a bird sanctuary on the other end of it. It’s also a dog-walker’s paradise, and I always have a little Ziploc of doggie biscuits so I can make friends. I just talked with John Karel, the director, who clued me in to the fine points of park management: TGP is public but not run by the city parks department. Instead, it has a separate State-appointed commission that oversees its operations. He also said that they keep trying to reestablish frogs and toads at Woodland Pool, but that there are water issues involved. Keep me away from politics, because I’m a gadfly, and keep me nearby when I can do something to help Mother Nature. Thanks for the info, John! I had an enjoyable convo with ya.
The other thing that came to mind this morning is that I always forget to add tags to my posts. I didn’t even KNOW about doing it until a fellow animal-rescue person clued me in, so now I do it every time, or, more often, edit them in after I fire off a post in haste, posthaste, in my enthusiastic reverie. Perhaps that’s why the frogs are #1, and the sea turtles are #2 on here. Whatever, I’m glad y’all tune in to my rambling meanderings and philosophizing. Keeps me goin’. Here’s a photo of a ceramic bowl with six frogs that my rescue friend found for me online. It has the place of honor on my coffee table. Ribbit!