September 30, 2012

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge

I arrived at Ankeny during sunrise and moonset.

The restroom was occupied by two frogs (that I saw).
Kind of disconcerting in the early morning dim light, but a foreshadowing of things to come.

Water levels were low or nonexistent everywhere except at Eagle Marsh.
 There were lots of Canada Geese and Cackling Geese.
Some ducks were in too, but too far out to see them.

So I assume this is a Red-tailed Hawk, right?

This marsh (Killdeer Marsh?) was almost completely dry. In the distance I could see a big puddle of water so I scanned it looking for a random shorebird or something. I saw movement! It was something hopping. Then I saw another and another and suddenly I realized frogs from all over were going to this water. I couldn't stand not seeing it up close so I started to walk out across the dried mud. I was concerned I would sink in and it would be a big mess, but I made it. It was like walking on a dry sponge.
I didn't want to get too close. Even as far away as I was, I could see the frogs move to the other side of the water because they saw me coming. There were hundreds of them! I'm not sure what kind, but there is a reference to Red-legged Frogs on the Ankeny website.

It still has a tail!! It's a Froglet. Really. I looked it up.

The birds were sparse near the South Pond, but the dragonflies were amazing. I'm going to take a stab at identifying them. Tell me if you think I've got them wrong.

Striped Meadowhawk

Painted Lady
Paddle-tailed Darner

A map of Ankeny can be found here.


  1. What a great morning! I love your froglet :)

  2. What amazing photos!!! I love the two with the fences and of course the wildlife.

  3. Hot damn, that is a lot of frogs!!! And your hawk is a Red-shouldered- super awesome! I find them much sweeter-looking than Red-taileds (that's helpful, huh?) and they make better sounds too. And seriously, frogs in the bathroom??!! I have this unfounded fear of opening a bathroom door (I mean, in the woods, at refuges and such) and having a coyote or cougar or something jump out. Frogs would probably startle me pretty good too. Awesome post!!

  4. Looks like a great time at Ankeny! The frogs in the mud are bullfrogs. Unfortunately they are non-native and really bad news for other small animals (bullfrogs will eat anything they can shove in their mouths).

    Thanks for sharing.


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