Tag Archives: tadpoles

Lookin for love in all the moist places

Order: Anura

I have been greeted in the evenings and early mornings by the songs of frogs. The need to breed is driving them all together to the marshy areas, wetlands, storm sewers and other places there is water. Most of the time they will return to the spawning grounds they hopped out of, announcing their presence to possible mates with their music. I have been helping them do so safely and productively for almost 20 years.

Pacific Tree Frog, typical of the ones I see near my home. They are quite small when they first appear (about the size of my thumbnail) and grow to be about the size of my thumb if they live long enough.

Near my home are many marginal and well established wetlands. These include the aforementioned storm drains, ditches (marginal), seasonal ponds (marginal), well established ponds and marsh wetlands (especially in the area around Johnson Creek and the adjacent areas). The frogs I hear and see are mostly tree frogs (family: Hylidae) including Pacific Tree Frogs (Hyla Regilla) and Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris Triseriata). Sometimes there are bullfrogs but these are invasive, non-indigenous and tend to eat their smaller cousins.

We have had a wet couple of weeks and my assessment of spawning grounds is that even the marginal areas are quite wet. Many frog eggs, many tadpoles. One will often see a fair amount of algae along with frog eggs and the tadpoles tend to snack on this while they develop. When I scoop up tadpoles from a drying marginal habitat I usually get plenty of algae along with them. You can also feed them flake fish food (this will also encourage algae growth).

Western Chorus Frogs look like this as hatchlings

Another Western Chorus Frog

Gratuitous goose honking, unrelated to frogs:

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Filed under Frogs, Nature, tadpoles

T’is the season

for amphibious spawning in the Northern Hemisphere.

Frogs have been singing sweet songs of romance all spring. Toads, newts and the like have been looking for love in all the wet places. Now is the time to inspect the spawning grounds and see how they are doing.

You may know that globally amphibian populations have been in decline for many years. There are two main causes identified so far: habitat loss and fungal infections (such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd). Recently a study in central America has found a peculiar statistic: habitats that are disturbed but functional are less likely to have populations affected by infection. This makes habitat near cities and marginal wetlands all the more important.

So, annually, I check for habitat functionality near where I live, in southeast Portland, Oregon. In the inner part of town the wetlands, springs and creeks are underground but out where I live there are many places where frogs and their cousins have been  (along with some fish) making babies.

Less than a mile from my home are several excellent locations for frog spawning. Powell Butte, Mount Scott, Johnson Creek (especially the newly rehabilitated habitat areas), the Springwater Corridor and, less than 10 blocks away, the Beggar’s Tick Natural Area.

Many years the summer heats up fast and if there hasn’t been enough spring rain I find the marginal habitats along the edges of these spaces dry up before tadpoles can mature. Not that it does much good, but when I see this happening I’ll scoop a few hundred polliwogs out of the muck and stick them in an outdoor aquarium. I feed them flake fish food until they can get out of the tank on their own and eat insects.

The back legs pop out first- almost literally. It’s like one day they are little spermish critters and the next they have legs. The tails shrink, the mouths grow wide and soon the front legs appear. Often within a couple days time the whole lot will just up and climb out to the world. I have chronicled this process here before many times.

This year, as last, I am happy to report healthy habitats, very wet wetlands and a thriving population of tadpoles with plenty of water to keep them until they are ready to hop along into the green spaces. Maybe one will come to your garden.

I walked through Beggar’s Tick today- it looks really good, very wet, seasonal ponds are full. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to check along the northeastern edge of Sauvie Island where, with the Columbia River 15 feet above flood stage, the wetlands are very healthy. I surmise that all along the nearby rivers the sloughs, estuaries and ponds are happy, healthy and wet.

Excellent year for frogs and their fellow-travelers!

Below pictures are big; click for full size.

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Filed under Frogs, Nature, pictures, tadpoles

Radio Night, Frog Spawn Days

Getting the announcement part out of the way, tonight is Mad Liberation by Moonlight at 1 a.m. PST on KBOO, 90.7 FM in Portland, Oregon. Streamed on the web at http://www.kboo.fm/. It’s a call in show, blah blah blah, call in at 503-231-8187 to be on the radio, read other posts about it here. Archived shows are found on the MLBM tab above.

Always remember- click pics for full size; most are really big.

West on the Springwater Corridor trail near my home- On the left (south side) is a marsh. On the right (north) are a series of ditches that collect water and keep it for a bit until mid June or so. This is one of several places I monitor for amphibian eggs and relative potential for supporting polliwogs through their transformations.

Marsh on south side of Springwater Corridor

Picture with hard-to-see newt tadpoles as of last week

The marshy area stays pretty moist and frogs that spawn there can expect their babies to grow up unless they’re eaten by birds or some such. The ditchy area is iffy. Eggs there will hatch- the ditch pools will fill with tadpoles- but the puddles will mostly dry up before the frogs can mature.

Lots of froggy love goin on- look at all that slimy frog spawn!

The marshy area also has a healthy population of newts- gilled newts that look like this as they are changing:

The frogs I’m talking about are basic pacific tree frogs. They are brown to green ion color and start out very small and stay just a bit bigger. The newly transformed froglings will be about the size of your thumbnail. Or smaller. Fully grown, 1 or 2 years old they may be the size of your thumb. This presupposes that they survive tadpole-hood.

Babies look like this when they mature:

Hey little fella/ gal/ whatever you are

More frog eggs

The ditch puddles are still quite moist. Too wet and muddy around the edges for me to get close enough for you to see the tadpoles. But they are there- here’s a picture I took last year of  one I brought home to mature:

Newts also spawn in these ditches and most don’t survive. I’ll get some of them, too. With the newts, I have to take them back out to a place like the marsh when they’re ready.

Almost ready to leave the tank (last year)

The frogs just hop out into the world. Usually 90% of them will take off in one day from the tank on my back porch.

More spawn

My annual hobby/ mission involves finding places like this that serve as marginal habitat- attractive to frogs in love (blush) but generally not capable of sustaining their babies. I find several spots near home. Powell Butte is one of my favorites but the marginal ditch I find them is messed up this year due to construction of an underground water reservoir.

This is a picture from Powell Butte, pre-reservoir.

Powell Butte from SPACE!

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Filed under Frogs, Mad Radio, Nature, pictures, tadpoles

Monday May I (Short-Sweet)

This will be a mixture today- First, I want to call attention to some of my favorite mental health blogs.

Bi-polar Blast is now called Beyond Meds (and has been for a long time, I just didn’t get around to changing it in the blogroll). Today there is a video of Pema Chodron. Check it out here.

Ron Unger’s blog, Recovery from Schizophrenia, is a veritable fount of information, inspiration and sense. Today he’s talking about an article titled “A Fine Madness. If you poke around, though, you’ll find many wonderful things on his blog. He writes with such clarity and insight- you’ll want to read all of his entries on everything from cognitive therapy for psychosis to reducing medications to redefining Recovery. To see what he’s up to today click here.

Furious Seasons has been quiet lately but you can still read back on some great topics. Also, they have an excellent sampling of links to mental health blogs. That’s where I go when I want to find gems like this or like this.

Off the wall but not out of his mind, my pal Rich is the host of Kill Ugly Radio. Stop by and have a listen. You won’t regret it, most likely. Rich also is the guy who records my radio show and sends it to me so I can archive it here. Thank, Rich.

On the blogroll where it says “Simply the best there is”, what you’ll really find is The Icarus Project. The reason is because they are, simply, the best. Mad forums, mad radio, mad art, mad guides to living. Everything you want. Just do it.

Now for something completely different- it’s time to start scouting for frog spawning areas in my neck of the woods. They’ve been croaking up a storm around my house the last few weeks. It’s been a mostly dry spring but there’s still been plenty of rain to get things going.

Now is the time to find those puddles, ditches and wet spots that are marginal for tadpole survival. Typically there will be several spots near my home where frogs will spawn but that tend to dry up before most of the little guys can transform.

I’m going to check around and get back to you. I’ll bring back some pictures of the places I’m talking about. Then, before the second week of June, I’ll go out and rescue as many of the little fellers as I can. They’ll finish growing legs in the tank on my back porch and hop out into the world when they’re ready.

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Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mad Radio, mp3, pictures, wellness and systems change

Frog Spawning Areas

This is the best year I have seen in the past 2 decades for even the most marginal tadpole habitat. Usually there are significant portions of the frog spawning ditches, seasonal ponds etc. that dry up before a large number of tadpoles can fully develop.

Last year was typical. There are some path-side ditches near my home across from a more substantial swampy area. By the second week of June last year these marginal wetlands were drying up. By the end of the third week they were completely dry and many if not most of the tadpoles perished before reaching frog-hood.

This year we have had several rainstorms that dumped a lot of water in the Portland area. When I checked these ditches 2 days ago they had more water in them they they had a week before.

Usually I collect as many tadpoles as I can just before the big “dry-up” and grow them to maturity in a tank outside. When they are ready, they leave. (I use flake fish food to feed them- they don’t eat it but it encourages algae and they eat that.)

This is one year I don’t have to do that. I’ve still collected a few just because I like to watch them grow legs and hop away.

Some of last years pictures. More later.

close-up

they_got_legs

Exodus

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Filed under Frogs, pictures, tadpoles

Pictures Music Frogs

First-
Looking through old photographs-
My wife is undergoing therapy for PTSD to do with my daughter’s suicide over 15 years ago, but still a significant part of our lives. She is determined to find a way to keep the good memories without the horror.
Part of the project involves remembering the good times- and finding ways to replace the awful images with positive ones.
So, I got out the old albums and we’ve been going through them. (Always click for full size.)

Erin and her friend at the wreck of the Peter Iredale,

Oregon Coast, 1992 or so

WreckofthePeterIredale-circa1992-93

Erin Portrait- She was beautiful

erin_portrait-1992

Family sing-along night:

For most of the time our kids were kids we had a Sunday night tradition of singing songs together; each person got to pick a song and we’d end with “Goodnight Irene” (without the depressing lyrics).
Erin usually picked “You are my sunshine”. Julie can’t sing that song or listen to it anymore because it brings her too much pain. (Me, I like the song and it helps me remember the good times.)
The tradition continued with everyone getting ice-cream (in their special bowl)followed by watching the Simpsons on TV.
It’s my favorite of our family traditions- we kept it up until the youngest one was 15 or so- except we still do the ice-cream and Simpsons. These days it’s just Me, Julie and Matt (19). Andrew is down in the SF area (Berkley now I think). I get low carb/ sugar free ice-cream; it tastes like crap but it’s still a treat.

familysingalong-1989

How did this get in there?

sunflower_on_white

Kids together in the backyard

kidstogether-backyard-1991

Erin picks flowers in the “wild” area of our large yard (this was the house the kids grew up in. We lost the house when I lost my mind in 2004- along with my job, my reputation, etc. We lived there for 20 years. I wonder if my wife ever forgave me for getting so sick.  (Foreclosed after my prolonged hospital stay left us bankrupt and unable to make payments. So it goes.)

ErinBackyard1989

Taken at the end of the Falcon Crest trail

from Short Sands Beach on the Oregon Coast

FalconCrestErinDesktop

There are kids growing in the trees! Again, our backyard around 1992

treekids1990ourbackyard

Playing music with Erin, around 1992

PlayingMusicWithErin1992

The last picture I have of my dad, who died of lung cancer/ mesothelioma in 1992. It was caused by asbestos exposure during his 23 years in the Navy as a Gunner’s Mate and Chief Gunner’s Mate. The big artillery was packed in asbestos.

last_picture_of_my_dad

The group shot that was extracted from-

last_pic_mydad-grp

Nawang Khechog- The human Heart is for Kindness:

10 The Human Heart Is for Kindness

Mississippi John Hurt- Nearer My God to Thee

Mississippi John Hurt – Nearer My God To Thee

Cat Stevens (now Yusef Islam)- Trouble

Cat Stevens – Trouble

Along this route (below) are many shallow ditches in which frogs lay their eggs. Most of these dry up before 75% of the tadpoles have reached maturity. My annual tadpole rescue effort is almost ready to begin. The deadline is about June 10th, after the rains stop and the shallow wetlands dry quickly, leaving tens of thousands of immature froglings dried and dead in the baked mud (in this area alone). I only rescue a few hundred a year, let them grow up in a tank on the back deck.

When they’re ready they leave.

STA50145

STA50140

Exodus

bye for now

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Filed under buddhism, Family pictures, Free Music, Frogs, mp3, Music, pictures, tadpoles

It’s getting close to time

For scouting for frog habitat that may be unable to support amphibians to maturity. My annual quest. More later. Rest assured that I will rescure as many tadpoles from annihilation as possible.

frogs

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Filed under Frogs, Tagore

Sunday Basket

My older son, Andrew has been in town for a visit. He leaves tomorrow morning. Yesterday we took a short hike near home- south side of Powell Butte- to find shade in the heat. Today we went to a movie (Wall-E) to find air conditioning. Pictures from yesterday:

On a different note, tadpoles are changing quickly- they are leaving the tank on my patio and going into the wide world. As of today all of the marginal habitat along the Springwater Corridor and the drainage ditches on Powell Butte have dried up. Hundreds or thousands of polliwogs did not make it to maturity. I saved about 60 this year. (Tadpole rescue is an annual effort.)

Other found pictures with no particular theme:

execution - flawless. planning - fail

Daisy Vs. the Squirrel:

bat to the head

empty threat

Lose weight, no dieting!

RPS

Learning

The goal:

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Filed under animated gif, animation, Family pictures, Frogs, pictures, silly, tadpoles, Uncategorized

If you aren’t Mad you aren’t paying attention

News from MindFreedom and the Bend Weekly News

A State of Oregon study says that Oregonians in the mental health
system die earlier than the general public.

Bend Weekly News in Bend, Oregon, USA covered this news in the below
story, which includes a link so you can download the State of Oregon
study, “Measuring Premature Mortality among Oregonians,” published 10
June 2008.

~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.bendweekly.com/Statewide-News/15699.html

Report: One-third of mentally ill Oregonians die before 50

Jun 13, 2008 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Oregonians with serious mental illness are dying years earlier than
their neighbors in the general population, and a grassroots health
movement is under way to reverse this trend.

The Oregon Department of Human Services Addictions and Mental Health
Division (AMH) has teamed with consumers of mental health services
and their families, health care professionals and others to implement
a statewide wellness initiative aimed at improving mental and
physical health and longevity.

Death comes before age 50 for one third of those treated for mental
health problems, according to results of a seven-year AMH mortality
study. A staggering 89 percent of people treated for both mental
illness and substance abuse die before age 50. The average lifespan
of someone who is dually diagnosed is 45.1 years, which equates to an
average 34.5 years of potential life lost.

The recent study, titled “Measuring Premature Mortality among
Oregonians,” compared the death records of persons who received
public substance abuse and/or mental health treatment with the
general population.

The early death toll among this segment of Oregonians falls in line
with similar results from national and state studies. More
importantly, it brings into focus what many individuals with mental
illness
already knew; by taking charge of their health, habits and
lifestyle they can add years – and quality – to their lives, said Bob
Nikkel, DHS assistant director for addictions and mental health.

“National research and this study make it clear that persons being
treated for substance abuse and mental health problems have many
risks that may bring on early death,” said Nikkel. “Our most critical
imperative is to help individuals with mental illness live better and
longer lives.

“Mental health and substance abuse is an important quality of life
issue for Oregonians,” he continued. “Dying prematurely not only
destroys human potential, but it has an economic impact as well.”

The AMH study showed substance abuse and mental health clients have
higher risks of death associated with suicide, homicide and
unintended injuries. In addition, they are economically disadvantaged
and vulnerable to many diseases that cause death. For example,
antipsychotic medications used to treat someone with mental illness
are known to elevate the chance of dying from cardiac arrest; others
may lead to diabetes.

The mortality study is available on the DHS Web site at:

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/addiction/publications/
msur_pre_mort_6_2008.pdf

Nikkel said a DHS/AMH wellness committee is working to improve the
health and longevity of people with mental illness by drawing on
scientific research, literature and successful practices by user
groups. Here are some of the committee’s guiding principles:

*** We must treat and support the whole person;

*** Care coordination and wellness screening are essential;

*** Access to a range of health care options and basic health care
must be afforded to all Oregonians;

*** Early intervention and prevention across the lifespan saves
lives, makes a difference in years of productive life lost, and
improves quality of life;

*** Medication management and empowerment equips individuals with the
tools and strength to ask questions and work with treatment providers
to find healthier and effective ways to support recovery and
wellness; and

*** Disparities in health care coverage and access to service must be
overcome, along with finding culturally appropriate treatment programs.

Committee members are seeking funding for grassroots-level programs
that encourage education and lifestyle changes and for peer-to-peer
support services.

For more information visit the DHS wellness Web site at:

http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/mentalhealth/index.shtml

On a different note-

Talking with my guests at KBOO radio last night we got into a discussion of stories we all had from psychiatric hospitals, some funny, some not and different experiences we had with mental health providers. I think Ann had the idea that we need to have a “secret shopper” project; people could go to various agencies and then provide reviews of the services, respect and treatment they receive. We could then publicize the information to produce a guide that would be useful to folks. A related idea was that we should collect current information regarding services and treatment at hospital psych wards. On the air we got into a discussion about the relative merits of Portland area acute care facilities. Conclusions? We agreed that, at least before their remodel, Adventist was the worst place to stay but had the best food. Our choice for best local facility (as if anyone ever has a choice) was Providence NE. We also agreed that the showers at St Vincent’s leak and flood the rooms.

We had a great time on the program and gave away tickets to the National Air Guitar Championships being held at Dante’s in downtown Portland. The winner was chosen from among callers on the basis of how many diagnoses they had been given. A good time was had by all.

New Music- added last night on the Music Page

Check it out.

Pictures friom my son’s blog- Better Bees than Bears

He’s drawing pictures on the sidewalks of San Francisco.

Ready to breathe

The first tadpole crawled out of the water last night at about 11 pm. Won’t be long before they all head off into the world. Sniff.

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Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mad Radio, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, mp3, new music, pictures, tadpoles

Potpourri

UK study/ SSRIs

Millions of prescriptions for SSRIs are written up in the UK each year, but a major study says they’re no better than placebo. What now for the citizens of Prozac Nation?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/feb/26/ssri.study

“Perhaps the next time half a million people gather for a protest march on the White House green,” wrote Elizabeth Wurtzel in her bestselling book Prozac Nation, “it will not be for abortion rights or gay liberation, but because we’re all so bummed out.”

From the West Virginia Gazette

West Virginia disability rights groups are fuming after the owners
of a pre-Civil War mental hospital in Weston renamed the property the
"Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."

article here-

http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200803190655

Looks like Andrew is drawing on the sidewalks again

My son Andrew, who lives in the SF area, likes to draw on the sidewalk. These and other illustrations of his well-spent time are on his blog- listed to the right- Better Bees Than Bears. Click for larger picture.

Mad Liberation By MoonLight

KBOO Radio 90.7 FM
1- 2 a.m. Late Friday night
(yes, I know that it is technically Saturday morning- relax, it’s just a radio show)
June 20th, 2008

Dedicated to Everyone
who has ever been given a psychiatric label, to anyone who experiences mental health challenges and to anybody who has the misfortune (or good fortune) of being awake at that hour.

You can participate!

Call in at (503) 231-8187
Please call in! Set your alarm!

Friday nights from 1 am to 2 am usually following the full-moon, will be a segment on KBOO radio (90.7 on your fm dial, to the left of NPR), also streamed on the internet on their website, http://www.kboo.fm/index.php will be time for of Mad Lib by Moonlight. The program is part of the usual Friday night show, The Outside World.

Moon Shots

Since this Friday is Mad Liberation by Moonlight, these pictures are to help stimulate your memory so that you stay up at night to listen. Click to make larger.

Found here:

http://www.photon-echoes.com/lunar_images.htm

Mental Health and the ADA-

This is a packet I put together for a training I gave to State of Oregon Human Resource managers.

Click for doc.

mental-health-and-the-ada

BTW: Here’s how the frogs are doing:

Also, check out new recording on the music page…

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Filed under CS/X movement, Free Music, Frogs, Mental health recovery, mindfreedom news, mp3, new music, pictures, tadpoles, Uncategorized