New Little Invader

It feels like Whatcom County has been in the forefront on non-native species recently between the Giant Asian Hornet, Green frogs and now, get ready for it, the Eastern Newt (a.k.a. Red-spotted Newt) (Notophthalmus viridescens). I have to say they are adorable and how can such a small, attractive animal be a problem? That is what has been said about many introduced species- until they become abundant and affect the local ecology. By the time they are causing problems it is very difficult to control them. At this point we don’t know if Eastern Newts are a problem, but we don’t want to find out. So far this species has been detected at two Whatcom County sites (about 2 miles from each other). We have found the immature eft stage that is the life stage that is terrestrial and moves around and we have found larvae (meaning we know it is reproducing here).

Eastern Newts are native to eastern parts of the United States. We assume our population was introduced by released pets. We are eager to figure out where they occur in the County and if they will need control. So far they have been located around Hemmi Road, Mission Road and Goshen Road. Fall is an excellent time to look for the eft stage (the terrestrial orange stage). They are hard to mistake being bright orange with small red dots. They will usually be found in forested areas under logs or other debris, but after warm rains may be found in more open areas and crossing roads.

What can you do? If you see any of these please pick it up and place it in a jar. Note where you found it and contact us at vikki@whatfrogs.org. If you can’t collect it please take a picture and tell us the location. Thank you for being out there and watching the world!

Last Work Parties of the Season!

This Oregon Spotted Frog thanks everyone that has been helping out this season

Have you wanted to come out and meet the Oregon Spotted Frog and help out with some restoration work? This is the last weekend for our scheduled work parties!

Sept 11 (Saturday) 9 am till 3 pm or whatever you can do.
September 12 (Sunday) 9 am till 3 pm or whatever you can do.

Work parties are from 9:00 to approximately 3:00, but if you are only available for a shorter period, no problem — any contribution of your valuable time is welcomed. There will be multiple tasks for all abilities and we supply the tools. Please be vaccinated for COVID-19 and do not volunteer if you are sick or have been exposed. Please RSVP (Stephen@whatfrogs.org) if you would like to help. Details on where to go will be emailed after you register with Stephen.

Come Help the Frogs!

This Oregon Spotted Frog says Thank You!

Oregon Spotted Frogs desperately need your help!  We have accomplished much in the past 5 years of our Oregon Spotted Frog habitat restoration project, which has allowed tadpoles to reach metamorphosis even in this year of record-setting heat, but the young frogs now must survive an escalating drought before the fall rains return.  Help us open up more aquatic habitat for the rest of this summer and that will endure through future dry summers. And help us continue the process of replacing invasive reed canary-grass with native plant species that will enhance habitat conditions. 
 
Please join us for our 2021 Save the Frogs work parties at the Whatcom Land Trust’s Samish River Preserve! We will be doing various tasks including cutting and extracting reed canary-grass sod with pruning saws, hauling the extracted material, and mowing grass. There will be multiple tasks for all abilities and we supply the tools. We think you’ll find the work invigorating and fun! Enjoy the company of friends and frogs and share the satisfaction of aiding a threatened species in dire need (and see what we have accomplished so far), please contact (stephen@whatfrogs.org) to volunteer for our scheduled work parties each from 9:00 to 3:00 on:   

A picture perfect place to volunteer!

Saturday, September 4th  
Saturday, September 11th   
Sunday, September 12th

RSVP and we will provide additional details.  Please be vaccinated for COVID-19 and do not volunteer if you are sick or have been exposed!

We and our frog friends look forward to seeing you and we thank you!! 

Summer Frog Sounds

Check out this video and you can hear the calls of both Green Frogs and American Bullfrogs (sadly both invasive). This is very typical habitat for both of these species. If you hear or see these frogs we would love to hear from YOU! You can email any sightings to us at vikki@whatfrogs.org . If you get a photo or short video or recording to go with it, all the better.

Listen to the Frogs

Jump into some fun community science. WCAMP is working to get a better understanding of where to non-native frogs are living in Whatcom County. The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) and Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) have both been introduced to our County. At present we know that they ARE here, but we really don’t know where they are – and aren’t. Better understanding of where these two species are and are not is important for amphibian conservation in our fine County.

You Can Help. We are asking interested folks to do two things:
1. Join our Chasing Invasive Program and learn to listen for these frogs and report your findings (click here for more info).
2. Report any sightings of either species to Vikki@whatfrogs.org. To be useful a sighting should have a photo, date, location and contact info.

You can come and learn about these frogs in person on June 18th from 6pm till 8 pm at Tennant Lake (Free registration is required – click here)

Congratulations! WCAMP Wins Award

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

We are very excited to announce that Dr. Stephen Nyman and Vikki Jackson of WCAMP have been named Recovery Champions for 2020 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service! Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work is advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.

Check out this video:

Dr Stephen Nyman
Vikki Jackson

“Vikki Jackson and Dr. Stephen Nyman of the Whatcom County Amphibian Monitoring Project are recognized as recovery champions for their leadership in recovery of the Oregon spotted frog. Their tireless efforts to bring their community together around this federally threatened frog has vastly improved our understanding of the species, stemmed the decline of several populations, and physically reclaimed lost habitat. The monitoring project has been instrumental in a number of recovery efforts for the frog, including the development of a volunteer community dedicated to increasing our understanding of the species and other amphibians through citizen science and community outreach. Their dedication to the species has resulted in an informed and engaged community, new information about the species, several newly discovered populations, and novel habitat recovery methods.”

The Oregon Spotted Frog project success has been due to all the hard work volunteers have put into it. We thank each and every volunteer that has been and will be part of this worthy project to save this imperiled frog.

A few of the many WCAMP volunteers! Thank You!

Season of the Frog

As February wains and March moves in we begin to hear the beginning of frog choruses in the Pacific Northwest. Most of this noise is made by the very small, but mighty, Pacific Chorus Frog. The males of this tiny frog are gifted with a voice you just can’t ignore. And that is exactly what these dudes hope. Male Pacific Chorus Frogs gather at local wetlands, ponds and sometimes puddles and begin their songs to attract and whoo females in the area. If all works out a female will choose a mate and she will lay eggs in the watery habitat.

The males typically chorus into June and may mate a number of times. As the chorus season closes in June the adults leave the watery world and venture into the surrounding uplands to feed and regain their energy after a several month party.

Adult Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) Photo Credit: Vikki Jackson
Pacific Chorus Frog Egg Mass Photo Credit: Vikki Jackson

Chasing Invasives

American Bullfrog

We have all been spending more time indoors than we like. If you are like me, I am feeling a little directionless and feeling like I have so little ability to make a difference. There have been many studies showing getting outdoors and into nature is good therapy. WCAMP has an opportunity for you to get outside and do something positive. We are launching our summer amphibian call survey program to discover where the invasive American Bullfrog and Green Frogs are living in Whatcom County. Know where these uninvited guests live help in the overall management of sensitive amphibian species such as the Oregon Spotted Frog (who really does not like these intruders).

This program is for everyone. It can be done alone or with your family. Kids will love it! All that is required is you go out and listen! No mucking around in the mud in water – just find a quiet place near a pond, lake, slough or even your local stormwater pond and sit and listen. If this wets your interest click this link to learn more! (Click Here for More Info)

Solitary Investigations

Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) credit: V. Jackson

In this strange time we have sadly had to cancel all of our spring group adventures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. I am heartened in seeing many folks getting exercise walking outside and exploring in their solitary experiences. I have received a number of emails asking about different amphibians people have come across. If you go to the Volunteer tab on the website you will find Amphibian Identification Guides and some other fun stuff to help you out.

I can also highly recommend using iNaturalist which is an amazing application that is an excellent learning learning tool and data collection of living organisms.

Group Field Activities Cancelled!

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii)

In view of the current Covid-19 situation all WCAMP group forays and events are cancelled. We thank those that have assisted us in the field so far this season. You are all Awesome!

We hope everyone remains healthy and safe. We will be adding some ideas for independent activities where you can learn about and explore amphibians safely from your home. Keep checking for new content!

As folks are out and about exploring their backyards and socially distanced walks we challenge you to take photos of amphibians you find! Email them with a little info on where it was found to vikki@whatfrogs.org . We will post images here and on our Facebook and Instagram pages to make people “hoppy” .