Tag Archives: Wildlife habitat

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

Obviously

I didn’t do the radio program last week, although the moon was literally full when the show should have been on. I just wasn’t prepared. It snuck up on me. I’m getting old, tired, ad I deeded to geddup in the mording.

Tired…

Next week, olroight?

And it’s been months since I updated the archives, though I have the recordings around somewhere. Time is getting away from me. Good old time. Slippery devil.

You can see what it looked like here. The moon that is.

Blizzard, our blind cat, "looks" out the window, click for big

Time, though is hard to catch with a photo. Best example I’ve seen this week:

also:

So, what else is new? Besides everything? Yesterday I took off from work, had a rather bad day. Shoulda gone to work.

Today: tired, listless (now where did I put that list??), slow.  God buzz in my head says, “it’s okay, roll widit”. Relationship problems- one key to destroying the ego. Journaled about it. Had some ideas.

slower than above…

Bachmann Close-up... click big at your own peril...

Have a kitten at home:

Matt with Lilith, click for big, as if.

sws_d2

 

Don't eat that! They are tricking you!!

click for big, yo. always.

Info-porn- click for big.

Life- One big family, evolving

worth clicking for big...

these are also worth the big shot…

So, what am I doing? Just posting a bunch of pictures I came across? Yeah. That’s it, mostly, unless they’re my pictures.

Maybe we need some music- Like Joshua James, ferinstance:

01-Coal War

or, click play:

and

Abbey Riot (with apologies to the entire British Empire)

Not me:

Radio will be back this weekend. Technically, 1 am, Pacific Daylight Savings Time, KBOO, 90.7 fm in Portland, OR; kboo.fm for streaming.  In fact, go there right now. Something good is one, no doubt. Can’t go past here. One more, just one… 

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Filed under animated gif, animation, kittens, mp3, Music, silly

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

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

“The Bemaraha National Park, situated in the west of Madagascar, has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. And for good reason… 752 km² of breathtaking scenery with this incredible stone forest known as the Tsingy.
From the Malagasy word “mitsingitsignia”, which means ‘to walk on tiptoe’, the term Tsingy has been accepted in common language to denote the exceptional topography. This topography of eroded limestone may exist in other areas around the world, but nowhere as tall, slender and extensive as the spires here.
Beneath this apparent austerity, an extraordinary world of forest canyons, humid caves and burning karst karren is inhabited by fundamentally differing plants and animals who thrive in close proximity.”
some links:
National Geographic-
wikipedia-
google maps-
(type Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park into Google Earth- wowza)

click for full size

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Filed under Nature, pictures

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

Kelly Point

This sign is found at the tip of Kelly Point in Portland, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Due to the many large river islands that occupy the area, Lewis and Clark missed the Willamette River twice, once on the way to and again on the way back from the Pacific Ocean. The Willamette is the second largest watershed in what later became the Oregon Territory (and later became Oregon, Washington, Idaho) not to mention British Columbia (pictures are really big, click for full size):

kp-missing

Snaps from Kelly Point, where my wife and I went walking yesterday. Google shots show context.

The place was empty- we saw one fisherman and one Heron. Mighty quiet.

The collage is followed by larger pictures.

kelly_point

kpdarkleaves-orjflowers

kpbeachnorth

kp-js-walk

kpheron

kp-woods

kpfluff

kp-fluff

kp-anch

kpview

kpnorth2

kp-view2

kpacross

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Filed under Family pictures, Nature, pictures

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

My Weekend

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