Into The Outdoors 3/18/14 Issue

Well, I think the time has finally arrived.  Winter is over.  True, we may get some more snow, but the worst is, I think, behind us.  As i write this, the weather outside is bitterly cold, but it is supposed to last for only one day.   It is supposed to be in the fifties next day, but I’ll believe it when I see it.  There are, however, some genuine signs of spring showing up.  For one thing, the robins are back.  While some stay around all year, it is a sign of spring when they start to show up in the back yard.  Lately, I have been seeing more and more of them out there.  Recently, my buddy saw a red-winged blackbird at his back yard feeder.  The real proof of spring lies in the fact that my wife and I saw some turkey buzzards feeding on a road killed possum.  These are among the ugliest of all birds, but I always welcome them.  I can’t help but think that it won’t be long until the spring peeper frogs will sing for the first time.   According to old legends, they have to sing once, then look up through the ice, then sing again.  After the second concert begins, it is spring.  Let’s hold out hope.
These frogs tend to congregate around swampy areas where there are cattails or small trees surrounded by water.  Male frogs have a vocal sac that looks like a little balloon under the throat when inflated.  This is what they use to produce their song.  
In the spring, peepers are often joined by chorus frogs.  Although often mistaken for peepers, they are a different species and are, in fact, like the cricket frog, not really tree frogs at all.  Peepers and chorus frogs often call from the same location.  A lot of folklore surounds these little frogs and their music.  That they are a sure sign of spring is a certainty.
While I find it hard to believe, the opening day of trout season is less than a month away.  What looked so far away a month or so ago is now almost upon us.  While I am the first to admit that I am not that good of a trout fisherman, I still really love trout fishing,  As time goes on, we’ll take a closer look at this wonderful sport.
Recently, my wife, Barb, spotted a flock of swans on the Allegheny River on the Brady’s Bend side of the East Brady bridge.  These are yet another sign of the final loosening of winter’s grip on our area.  I am including a couple of the photos she took of them.

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