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DayCreek Journal

April 5, 2005

Singin' that Western Chorus

A Very Tiny Frog

Somebody threw the switch last week from winter to spring. Temperatures in one week went from high temperatures in the 30's to high temperatures in the low 70's (F). This of course, melted all of the remaining snow and caused the Root River to flood its banks and with the dike in need of repair down near Hokah, farm fields were once again flooded for the second time this year.

And with the spring thaw comes the sound of singing frogs. The Root River Valley right now is filled with the sound of frogs singing their hearts out.

While on a quest this morning to photograph a Sandhill Crane, I came across a pond that was loaded with frogs. The Spring Peepers weren't doing much singing, but the Western Chorus frogs sure were—the sound was deafening. But where were they? You couldn't hear anything but frogs, yet looking at the pond there were none to be seen.

I patiently waited by the edge of the pond for a glimpse. Nothing. Five, ten, fifteen minutes went by and I didn't see anything move that would indicate a frog. I know they are there. I can hear them plain as day. But where are they? Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a frog swimming in the water—it couldn't have been more than an inch long. This can't be the frog making all this noise? It's way too small.

I watched intently as it swam over to a cottonwood leaf floating near the surface of the pond. It jumped up on the leaf and just sat there. About another five minutes went by with the frog just sitting there contently doing nothing. Then I noticed that the frog was starting to get fidgety. It kept moving its hind legs, but stayed on the leaf.

A Very Tiny Frog with a LOUD Croak

And then it happened... It's body filled with air and then its throat pouch inflated into a giant balloon. All at once...Ribbbbitttt! I couldn't believe it. This little (and I mean little) frog no bigger than an inch let out an incredibly load croak. These early spring frogs must hold the record for the loudest croak-to-size ratio of any amphibian.

Well, at least I figured out why I couldn't see the frogs—most of them were too far away to see! At least the mystery was solved. Of course, I took quite a few photographs and I was able to identify the frog: The Western Chorus Frog. They are quite common wherever there are ponds of water without fish. Mystery solved!

Record Solar Production for the Month of March
March was a very good month for solar production. As a matter of fact, it was the best month we've had since the panels were installed in June of 2004. A total of 519kW hours were produced. March had several things going for it: first, it was a cold month and colder temperatures mean better PV efficiency Secondly, with snow on the ground for a good chunk of the month the reflectiveness of the snow added a few watts too. With two months to go, I doubt we will obtain the 4800 kW hours predicted by PVWatts, but we should be pretty darn close. We shall see.


CoCoCo 2005 Papers
Richard Flatau now has the completed papers in hand and he'll be getting them printed up during the month of April. It's so nice to see all that hard work finally put into something that you can put your hands on. I don't want to speak for Richard nor Rob Roy, but I feel this year's CoCoCo papers are the best so far. (The papers will be made public at the conference this summer and available for sale afterwards.)

Well, there's still more work to be done prior to the conference: The Code Official's Guide and then Power Point slide least there's light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope the light isn't a freight train!


Nice to see the snow finally gone (I hope).