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A Frog is Back, I Expect That's a Good sign That Our Natural Habitat is Still Thriving

“Dad,” I asked, “do you hear that?” “Hear what,“ he responded, “I don’t hear anything.” “That’s what I mean,” I said, “why can’t we hear Granddaddy Frog?”

A chubby little frog.

Over the 55+ years I have been coming to this little off-grid cabin I have been noticing subtle changes in the environment and the wildlife. Animals, reptiles, insects, and water vegetation seem to have changed over the years slightly. For instance, when I was a little girl there was a very noisy frog who croaked for hours every night with his deep intermittent sounds. We all referred to him as the ‘Granddaddy Frog’. The little pond area where he resided every night was shallow and chockablock full of large green floating lily pads, all of which beautifully bloomed all summer with cheerful, bright, yellow flowers. In my childhood days the frog noise, became part of the nighttime lake-sound scenery, annoying, but somehow familiar. I remember my family used to try and go to sleep and we would all wish the frog would be quiet, I even remember we used to call out in jest, to tell it to be quiet from inside our little beds. One night, the frog croaks stopped, and it was like we had lost an old friend. It just seems too quiet without his noisy, deep croaks every night. Instantly, the frog was missed, the nighttime lake-sounds still had the crickets, but that deep croaking was gone, and we strangely missed its comforting familiarity.  As for the lily pads, well, they disappeared, too, along with the scraggy weeds we used to have under water in some spots, (though there were more then at the boat launch at the end of the lake). As a youngster, I remember my father getting bitten frequently by flies. They were deer flies or horse flies, I am not sure which, but he would really swell right up after being bitten. I remember him working around the property and they would launch an attack, often on his bare back and make a good meal out of him. Well, the fly population has been lower for years and I rarely give them much thought, though having just said that, this year when I came to my cabin, and I was out working in the hot summer sun, hand clipping long grasses to re-clear my paths, there were a few, such is life out in nature, not a big deal. I wonder why are they seem to be back? A little thought in my head wonders if the flies are back, then maybe the frogs are back? It's the circle of life. I had a lot of geese for several years and they made a huge mess on my point property with their poop. Thank goodness they are not here anymore, now it’s the Merganzer ducks that frequent the end of the point and my breakwater logs these days. There are more Merganzer ducks than I remember when I was a little girl. I really don’t remember them much, but I have several families of ducks here now and they are quite proficient in sitting, sunning, and pooping, especially on and around the breakwater. The old plastic owl placed on the logs to deter them the ducks they completely ignore. They just walk, sit, groom or walk right around it. 

Ducks on our logs. They ignore our fake owl that is sitting on that first log.

The ducks are plentiful here.

The Common Loon population seems to be less, and I am really concerned that this is because of the large wake boats and their huge rolling waves that hit the shore. Loons are not good land walkers and so they nest and lay their eggs very near to the water line. Unfortunately, these huge boats used for water sports may be destroying the shoreline, and affecting the loons nesting habitats, so sad. When I was chatting with a man who’s family was a regular cabin renter on the lake. His family was very into wake boarding and water skurfing, so he always rented a very large boat for his family holidays. He explained the boat held 500 gallons of gas and 330 gallons of water. If you do the math and calculate the weight of those liquids, you can see how much water that boat displaces and pushes around, resulting in massive waves.

I hate to see my loon habitat destroyed. The loons have become my ‘spirit totem’ here, and if you ever saw my cabin you can see many loon themed objects. I have quite a shrine to loons throughout my cabin and property. I have even painted a couple of loons out on the rocks along the shore, and people have come by to appreciate my art. My kids have called me, ‘Loonie’, because of my love of loons. I laugh and let them get away with any double intended meaning in that. 

A loon rock I painted.

Little swimming deer.

Yesterday I saw a baby doe swim across the lake, I haven’t seen that for several years. The young one was swimming well, and I was just grateful a large wake boat didn’t go by at that time, only one little runnabout, because I am not even sure they saw it. It can be a very busy channel out there in the peak of summer. The little dear made it across, over towards my next door neighbours, as we, the two cabins in the middle watched with binoculars. We do get deer here from time to time. I think this little one took off because over along a stretch of Provincially owned road, that is across the lake from me, somebody was whizzing around on an ATV. I think that scared the little deer, and he jumped into the lake and swam our way. Because he appears to be so young I hope this didn’t separate him from his mother. Development here continually impacts the environment. Most likely it is the development, along with the current weather environments changing, that results in subtle changes in the habitats of the animals, reptiles, insects, and environmental vegetation as well.  These days I am, once again, hearing the sound of a frog, but it is over by my floating dock, not in the old shallow area where the old, ‘Granddaddy’ frog of my youth used to be. There might be a second one now over on the other side of the back bay. As a funny note, I will mention that I saw one out by the outhouse a couple years ago, and this week, when I went to the outhouse one afternoon, something moved near the back of the composting toilet inside the outhouse. Startled, as it caught my eye unawares, I leaned around then to take a look. There, sitting in all his glory, was a frog. I’m guessing the spider and bug situation is rather fruitful behind there, so I didn’t disturb him, he can zap those creepy crawler bugs all he wants. I will say though, that was certainly a first, a frog in my outhouse!  Even with no lily pads now, I guess the frogs are coming back, but there will always be that little ‘frog on a log’ on my railing. It is a small little frog sitting on a piece of wood, a man-made statue of sorts, I’m not even sure what it is made out of, but it has been part of our salute to the frogs for many years. There it always sits, up on the front railing, whenever  I am in residence at the cabin. 

Our deck frog on a log.

In any event, the familiar sounds of the frogs are back, which, I would expect, is a good thing.

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