These mating bullfrogs were serenely floating in the water while around them was chaos, with males playing leapfrog and wrestling each other into submission and croaking loudly. The male here is the one on top with his characteristic yellow throat and large tympani (the eardrums, the big circles behind the eyes). The water was mostly still but there was a subtle current and they both used their webbed rear feet to control their speed and balance. They don’t have webbing on their front toes, so the female used her front legs to maintain balance while the male has his wrapped around her body.
2011 turned out to be a good year for watching killdeer for me, all thanks to this pair. I first saw them up close near the refuge parking lot, then early one winter morning I spotted them again running in front of Horse Lake. Suddenly the male jumped onto the female and they mated, and later I had the privilege of seeing them raise their family at the edge of the lake. A little slice of killdeer life, all witnessed in the short space between the parking lot and the end of Horse Lake.