A little over a week ago, my peaceful morning routine was completely shattered. There was no Joe. I didn’t even know Joe was such an important part of my morning until I stepped out my back door and he wasn’t there. I first noticed him one warm day in June. Every morning since then- he’s been there, perched on the edge of his small pond. “Morning, Joe” I say on my way to feed the goats. He doesn’t respond- but allows me to take his picture.
He is a green frog (Lithobates clamitans). We named him Joe for the song he belts out some evenings. He sings, “dunk, Dunk, DUNK,” which sounds like he’s plucking a banjo string. He is such an enthusiastic singer that I was sure he would attract a mate. One August morning I thought he had, but then his new friend belted out a few loud “dunks” of his own (turn the sound on for the video below) which I’m pretty sure females don’t do. No egg masses or tadpoles appeared. Still, I was glad to see he had some company. The next day Joe was by himself again.
On that Joe-less morning, I worried that something ate him. He seems pretty unafraid and is not very quick to hop away when we pass his pond. Several times that day, I searched for him. I finally spotted him in the larger pond in the middle of our milkweed patch. It looked like he decided to visit a friend.
They spent the day together, then Joe returned to his normal spot and my morning routine was restored.
The day Tropical Storm Michael was set to blow through our yard, I stepped outside to see Joe had a visitor to his small pond. I wondered if they discussed the weather and decided this pond was more sheltered from the wind than the others.
After the storm, Joe was on his own again until last night. I let the dogs out the back door and realized the light had been left on- attracting all kinds of poor bugs. I was going to switch it off but a spider had already set up a web beneath it and Joe plus two frog friends were sitting around the pond eyeing all those bugs hopefully. I left it on and it looks like they all ate well. Here are their pictures from today: