I got a much needed escape from NJ this weekend. I was up in Vermont enjoying the cool air, plentiful stars, and all what makes VT great. I was with a bunch of friends and their dogs where the dogs almost outnumbered the people. It was a weekend of relaxation, drinking, naitch, and watching dogs form a pack and going back to nature. I'd be happy just to watch these three dogs, who are tied to each other, just wander around without a human providing guidance and order.
There's a man-made pond at the house and it choke full of critters. The spring peepers were peeping during the humid nights/mornings and green frogs make their "twang" call almost 24/7. I think there was a handful of bullfrogs as well since there were several very beefy tadpoles in the pond. Plus the periodic bull frog call could be heard. Here's a green frog at the surface after Asta, the black lab, went frogging. I think once Asta makes it muddy along the edge, they can't breathe so they pop to the surface. Just a theory. Asta is obsessed with the pond and she would spend all day there if she could. She never catches anything since she never seems to focus on them and when she does spot one, she not ready to commit to swim after them.
I found a ton of red-spotted newts. They have a red eft stage where they turn orange/red and like to hang out on the land. We found them on the driveway after a torrential downpour the last morning. The olive colored stage of the red-spotted newts likes to chill out in the water. We went for a hike up to the beaver pond. It's a steep hike and the dogs were so eager it was easy for them to pull you down when you descend. Asta found something along the edge of the trail. I managed to get this toad away from her. I think it's an American toad but the toads are tough to deciper.