Finally, after weeks of sending emails, writing press releases, making lots of phone calls, and arranging for refreshments for two training sessions, I had a chance to go out in the field to find frog eggs.
Dr. Peter Ritson started the Clark County Amphibian Monitoring Project 4 years ago. I met him when taking an animal behavior class from his wife, Dr. Christine Portfors, at WSUV. Can you see the Canada geese in the upper right edge of the photo? They left when we arrived.
I went with a group of experienced surveyors led by Lisa and John H. at the La Center Bottoms wetland area north of Vancouver.
Saturday (Jan. 29) was a gray January day, but it wasn't raining, and the temperature rose to the low 50s. In other words, it was another beautiful day in Paradise. A snake came out from the edge of the trail where it had been hiding (but it was cold and sluggish, and not happy to see us).
We were looking for eggs laid by the Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora), and we found a LOT of them. Even *I*, wearing my Alaska Extra-Tuffs instead of chest-waders, and therefore having to walk along the side of the lake keeping count, saw some eggs. The rest of the group went in threes, about 2, 4, and 6 meters from shore, and called out to me whenever they saw an egg mass so I could record the information.
My friend Linda came close to help me take this photo of the first egg mass I saw. Later I saw several more, including this egg mass (below) on the shore. The frog had laid the eggs in the water, but the water level was falling as our weeks of rain came to an end.
(After I took this photo I carefully moved the eggs into the water.)
I also saw an adult frog -- or at least I saw its beautiful red legs as it jumped into the water.
Some others in our group also found some Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) eggs and saw some adult salamanders.
The adults are harder to find than the eggs, being able to move and all. So that's why we look for the eggs. The data from our Citizen Science work will be added to data from the whole region for scientists to use to see how well the wetlands, and the life in them, are doing.
When we left after 2 hours, having gone around the entire shore, the snake had slithered up onto the wood trail edge and was sunning itself, and the geese flew around the lake a few times to make sure we were really leaving, before going back to the water.