Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Peeper Time

This morning, when I sat down to my desk in the post-Daylight-Savings-change darkness, I heard the happiest sound.  The peepers are back.

This is a peeper:

Truthfully, they probably never left, but they were hibernating, along our creek, and now they're awake and ready to mate, and they are LOUD.  Your standard peeper is about an inch long, and I've probably got a couple dozen in my creek.  The creek's a tenth of a mile from my house, and I have no trouble at all hearing them with all the windows shut.

Later in the spring we'll see tadpoles in the creek, especially at the place where the horses cross the water.  Then, in late summer, adult peepers will leap out of the horses' way just as the horses step into the water.  This is always exciting the first few times it happens.

I looked Peeprs up on Wikipedia just now; their formal name is "Spring Peeper," and there are two subspecies, Northern and Southern.  I've actually probably got Northern ones.  They're ubiquitous in the Eastern U.S.

I love them because they're the first real sign we have that spring is here.  Eventually the orchard will bloom.  The barn swallows will come back, and the red hawk will leave.  The grass will grow fast and high, and the horses will shed their winter coats and be sleek again.  But the peepers come first.