Tadpoles + Summer Storms + P.L.A.Y.

Tadpoles at the river’s edge in the summer sunshine.

What happens to the toad tadpoles when summer storms rain down and the river momentarily rages with white rapids?

For a few years now I’ve visited this same river location on our community property and witnessed the before and after tadpole populations and patterns. Typically I will see large pockets of tadpole groupings at specific spots when they all hatch out of the egg casings. Then over time they begin to redistribute and spread out just a bit along the river’s edge or they get caught up in a current and are brought down river just a little ways if there is a gentle rain and slight rising in the water levels.

What I hadn’t done yet was actually go down to the river during a full on storm to observe first hand what was happing at the river’s edge. Recently I had the opportunity to do just this as fate would have it Mother Nature provided a gap in a series of storms so I could skip the torrential down pours or threat of thunder and lightening.

What I discovered was that most of the tadpoles actually stay in place! Serendipitous!

The water levels rise and the river turns into rapids, however the river also widens and the tadpoles end up gently rocking in the river grasses where the water remains only a few inches deep. I’m sure there are some that get redistributed down stream as the populations in pockets do seem to alter after a storm. However, not as many as I had originally thought.

I was so relieved to discover that not all the tadpoles were being tossed about every time a storm came through and now I have this sweet image in my mind of them being gently rocked amongst the river grasses and weathering the storm together.


BONUS


It is fascinating to me that after five summers of observing this process of the life cycle of the American Toad, here in my neck-of-the-woods, that there is still so much to learn and observe. Exciting and grounding at the same time.

Truly every season simply has so many opportunities to put P.L.A.Y. into action, connecting to nature and my own curious nature too. Love it!

I hope you are taking a moment to make your own P.L.A.Y. discoveries and tap into your curious nature too. Perhaps it is a bird’s nest in a bush outside your front door, walking in a local garden, hiking the same trail at a nearby nature center, or watching cloud and weather patterns right out your window.

Wishing you and yours many P.L.A.Y. days throughout this summer and the seasons ahead!

Next question of the day – Did the rock dam hold up or will we need to rebuild? Stay tuned!

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

TOAD #20: Tiny Toadlets

After watching the tadpoles and checking on them routinely how did I miss that ten tiny toadlets, like the one below, had sprouted arms and legs as tadpoles and were already hopping on the sandy river’s edge?

Notice how the tail hasn’t completely gone away and will continue dissolving into the toad as it grows.

When the toadlets first exit the water they are very tiny in relation to a human finger.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

TOAD #19: Spring Strand Magic

Why are some egg strands curly and others long?

Why are some clear and others dusty?

Visit Pinterest HERE to see the current in the river gently rock the sparkly sand coated and curly toad egg strands.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #18: Spring Magic Squiggles

Why do some toad eggs appear as white dots amongst the strands of black eggs?

Why are some egg strands up out of the water?

What will happen to those eggs?

 

Visit Pinterest HERE to listen to the toad chorus and see these egg strands in motion!


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #17: Spring + Summer Curiosities

Where do the tails on these tadpoles go once they become toads?

Why do tadpoles all gather at the water’s edge and huddle so close?


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #16: Spring Magic

How long have these egg strands been here? Is there a way to know their age or “guestimate”? (Hint: dust covered vs. fresh)

Do the toads sing under water too when they are stacked together mating?

P.L.A.Y. Adventure Time 

Visit Pinterest HERE to listen closely to what it sounds like as you walk through the woods and approach the toad chorus calling at the water’s edge.

And visit Pinterest HERE to listen closely to the variations of the toad calls while also spying some mating toads amidst the egg strands in the water.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE

TOAD #15: Magical Movement

Watch a video of these tadpoles in action on Pinterest HERE

(Above) A Curious Capkin watches the active tadpoles at P.L.A.Y. at the river’s edge on a summer’s day.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #14: Life Cycle

Toad Life Cycle

Beautiful Drawings in Black & White

Toad Life Cycle by S.H. Gage – Cornell Nature Study Leaflet 1904

Toad Life Cycle Circular by S.H. Gage – Cornell Nature Study Leaflet 1904


P.L.A.Y. Adventure Time 

These simplistic and beautiful drawings of “Old Mr. Toad” are from over 100 years ago and are still just as accurate today.

Time to take a moment and pull out your own nature journal and sketch your observations of toads and tadpoles.

Use a local habitat or the photos and videos provided on P.L.A.Y. and P.L.A.Y. on Pinterest as great ways to engage with this topic year round.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #13: Solo Song

What is this female toad listening for?

Visit Pinterest to see this video of a female toad listening to mating calls in the river.


Why does the male toads throat bubble or bulge out as he sings his solo song?

Visit PINTEREST to see a video of a male toad’s mating song down at the river.


P.L.A.Y. Adventure Time 

  • Time to dig deeper into the questions above and get curious and generate some thoughts of your own. Talk with your family and make a list of observations.
  • Watch the videos together and make note of more details you can extract. What more would you like to know? Make a list.

 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

TOAD #12: Curious Questions

 Why is the female carrying the male to the water vs. meeting in the water to mate?

Most of the pairs of mating toads that I observed down at the river’s edge were all in the water. One day this pair of toads hopped by on the sandy beach and I couldn’t help wonder why she was carrying him across the land which is much heavier than if she just carried him in the water.

 Visit PINTEREST to see a video of these two toads sitting perfectly still without even blinking as the chorus of toads swells all around them at the river’s edge.

This pair of toads, male on top and female on the bottom, are using the buoyancy factor of the water for the female to easily navigate while the male holds on.


P.L.A.Y. Adventure Time 

What does it feel like to carry someone on your back on land and then to try carrying that same person on your back in water?

This summer, safely so as not to injure you or your loved one, select someone smaller than you and try this experiment.

It provides appreciation for how animals have to navigate naturally and the strength it takes both in and out of the water!


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.