Dan drove to Chicago over the weekend for a conference and a rehearsal. Before he left with the car (a day late, trying to fit everything in), we grabbed one more hike in the woods. I keep thinking spring is coming early this year, but really, looking back at my notes from last year, we are pretty much right on schedule, as far as the peepers and the robins are concerned.
The local lake is drained for the winter, which makes for an interesting shoreline, and more area to muck about in. Eliza had been asking for days to go here, to play Island of the Blue Dolphins. Bleached sticks and small shells litter the sandy ground.
Amphibians might be my favorite thing about spring - they are so elusive and so amazing. This little one was shuffling along our path, and caught my eye (how could she not?). I think she is a midland mud salamander (Pseudotriton montanus diastictus), but I'm not positive.
She was frozen so still in hopes that we'd leave her alone that Ani finally said, um, Mom? I think it's a fake. What?? She did look rather rubbery. But then we moved a nearby leaf, and she began her slow crawl Under.
While the girls played trolls back at the bridge at the head of our trail, I scoped out the chorus of frogs coming from the head of the lake, where there is a pond and a marshy area. It is comical how their racket completely stops when they hear me approach (walking stealthily but cursing under my breath at the rose bush tangling my hair). Silence. I stand still and try to slow my breath and just wait. Sure enough, it's like one of them says, "Braaawck! I think she's gone!" and they slowly resume their gossip.
PS - of course we saw thunderstorms, lightening, tornado warnings, and snow flurries over the weekend...but that's spring too, isn't it?