As I was getting ready to leave work yesterday afternoon, I heard a peculiar, high-pitched sound. I knew it, but couldn't place it. Something the matter with the ductwork? A treble spilling through the earphones of a neighbour, his iPod turned up too loud?
I wasn't sure. Then I went downstairs, out the back door of the building, and heard it again. There among the parked cars, in the sunshine and green-scented breezes, I recognised it. It was the chorus of the spring peepers, sung with the full power of their tiny throats.
Back home, I didn't hear any of the local frogs, but there were snowdrops and daffodils in the garden, and a rusty fox came loping across the street and alongside my house on his way to the woods. If I am very lucky, I will see kits in April or May.
If, like me, you're a backyard naturalist, you may be interested in Project Noah, which, according to the FAQ, 'is a tool that nature lovers can use to explore and document wildlife and a technology platform research groups can use to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere. The purpose of the project is to mobilize and inspire a new generation of nature lovers. It began as an experiment to see if we could build an app for people to share their nature sightings and has evolved into a powerful global movement for both amateurs and experts.' I have not played around very much with their site (or app) but they appear to have a global population interested in everything from wildflowers to invertebrates to reptiles, birds, and mammals -- and yes, amphibians, like my friends the peepers.