Natural Mysteries

As I’m sitting before this blank screen today, I’m listening to an occasional car pass by. There is a cat bird somewhere out there too. I was about 40 years old before I took an interest in birds and the sounds in nature. I guess everything has it’s time and, with so much to learn in one lifetime, we choose our priorities.


I believe it was the puzzle that enticed me to pay attention. I love puzzles and just don’t like not knowing things.It’s not to be a smarty pants. I realized how many folks had misinformation and felt it my duty to pass on the truth. I figured they hadn’t found their time to listen yet and I could be their investigator for “time-saving” knowledge.

My interest peaked about 12 years ago when we purchased 30 acres of woodland in New York State. That August, my husband had been clearing brush and reported hearing (what he believed were) tree frogs. This didn’t make sense to me. Frogs wouldn’t mate that close to Fall, would they? The sound was definitely foreign to me which I found really interesting since I had spent many years out-of-doors within miles of our land. I happened to be reading a book devoted to grasshoppers and katydids. (See, my nature interests stirred up just at the right time!) It was a journal from a naturalist and it described a sound that seemed to fit the mystery. My Mom had the first computer in our family. She was happy to bring up a site of nature sounds for me.( among them were katydids.) “That’s it!” I shouted. The mystery had been solved! After that, I told many locals who did not know what that delightful “creaking” chorus of the night was. I passed the knowledge on to those who cared. Some even argued when their misinformation was challenged. I stood firm and proud of my investigation.


The next year, I found an amazing looking frog clinging to the side of my camper. He was gray and greenish with the cutest suction cup fingertips. I had wondered what he was and took him home to a terrarium that I had set up just for one week. He was a gray tree frog, a usually unseen inhabitant of woodlands. I say HE because,luckily, I had found a male. His blacken throat and awesome song provided those clues of his gender. Believe it or not, his trill was a sound that had puzzled me during the daytime. Two mysteries had been uncovered. I returned him to the place where he was found.

Gray Tree Frog

My granddaughter and I sit and listen in the forest almost every weekend. I am pointing out the correct information and she is an eager naturalist-in-training. Wouldn’t it be cool if she used this knowledge and interest to become a scientist one day? THAT will be up to her. At least, she’ll have a head start in that area!

4 thoughts on “Natural Mysteries

  1. Helen Dawson 08/18/2011 / 10:10 am

    Dear Susan,
    You have enlightened me. Do you recall when I rescued the cat that had been shot through her front leg? I had been following a sound, thinking it may be a Catbird, as my mother had talked about, when I followed the sound and discovered our cat, inured and sitting beside the road, unable to make it home.

    Well Mom never did actually show me a Catbird, so just this morning, I have seen one for the first time, with the name attached.

    Thank you,

    • sillyfrogsusan 08/18/2011 / 11:59 am

      So happy to help Helen…I’m not sure if there is more than one type of catbird. This one is a Gray Catbird of the Northeast…I’ll have to look up their range.
      I’m back…yup…that’s the only kind listed and they are spread more than half way to California.

  2. northernnarratives 08/18/2011 / 12:55 pm

    Hi. I like your photos. I love nature. It inspires me. Judy

    • sillyfrogsusan 08/18/2011 / 2:46 pm

      Thanks Judy! Always glad to meet another nature lover!

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