I am sitting here having a glass of wine, watching the rain and listening to the thunder rumble and the Gray Tree Frogs call. The area around the old swimming pool is a haven for frogs, and especially for these vocal tree dwellers.
I grew up a few miles from here in Southern New England. As a kid, I was familiar with the Eastern American Toad, Leopard Frog and Bullfrog. It was not until years later, in my early twenties that I first heard the plaintive call of the Spring Peeper, and later still when I first heard the Gray Tree Frog.
Back then, summer nights echoed with the sounds of Katydids, toads, crickets and maybe the occasional night calling bird, but the noises are different now.
Speaking of night calling birds, I had read "To Kill A Mockingbird" before I had actually seen a live Mockingbird. Back then I thought of them as birds of the south - never saw one up here until I was an adult.
We had Gray Squirrels everywhere in those days, but no Red Squirrels. Even the Northern Cardinal was a rare sight for me back in the sixties and seventies.
Today in our new yard, I see blazes of brilliant red among the deep green leaves as male Cardinals vie for prime nesting spots. Red Squirrels chase each other in and out between the trees in the early morning, and the sound of the dueling Gray Tree Frogs is deafening on a warm, humid night.
It seems to me that these critters are all relative newcomers to our part of New England. It makes me wonder what factors converge to cause a species to expand it's range. Is it a result of population explosion, or do various species just adapt to slightly different conditions?