Rib-bit . . . krek-ek . . . ek-ek-ek-ek . . .
No matter what time of year it is, most kids can tell you what creature makes these sounds. But right now is the very best time to hear entire communities of Pacific chorus frogs– also known as Pacific treefrogs – belt out their mating tunes.
A spring symphony
The en-masse croaking starts every year right around the spring equinox, which landed on March 20 this year. The intense croaking lasts only a few days then settles into a less voluminous frog mating season through mid-April.
“We call them the equinox frogs,” said one grandmother strolling through the wetlands at Magnuson park this week. “This is the only time you can really hear them.”
Click here to listen to the treefrogs singing March 22 at Magnuson Park.
Hanging out in local wetlands
The frogs can be heard in several areas around the region but some of the best places to listen are Carkeek Park in North Seattle, Discovery Park in Magnolia, and Magnuson Park along Lake Washington. Rumor has it the bog at Rox Hill Park in the south end of West Seattle is another good place to look and listen.
The chorus frogs’ high volume croaking make them seem bigger than they actually are. In fact, adults generally reach only one to two inches in length. Their toe pads allow them to climb trees as well as lay low in pond areas.
On a recent Tuesday, we strolled through Magnuson park to an utter symphony of frog song. Sopranos, altos, tenors – you’ll hear them all.
Where to listen in Magnuson
Entering the dog park entrance, follow the path to the area’s dog beach. You’ll hear plenty of frogs calling along that path. Once at the dog beach, hang right to continue on the Magnuson Park waterfront path. Continue heading southeast along the path until you hit the wetlands at the south end of the park.
Wandering through the wetlands, you hear plenty of croaking and if you look closely, you may catch one of these tiny heralds of spring in the act.