Last night, like I do most nights, I went across the street to check out what's going on in the swamp. The house is vacant and the owner lets me use the yard for the boat ramp and photography, so I'm a frequent visitor.
By the end of the house, halfway down the path to the water, something called "Halloooooooo".
NO! This is not a prelude to a Hallowe'en story!
I looked around, half thinking someone was down by the water. It was quite loud. But no one was anywhere close, except Shadow and Maggie, another neighbor's dogs, safe behind their chainlink fence.
It muttered a little - sounds indistinguishable - and then began the "halloooo" or "alloooo" singsong.
I reached the dock. No one around but a Muscovy duck heading toward Bear Creek. I thought they were silent. Must've been the duck, until it called me again. It seemed to be across from me in the cattails. I couldn't see. Then I thought, I'm hearing things - my stomach is talking to me - as I leaned on the railing. A different sound. No - it wasn't my stomach. There area couple of boards missing on the dock. I got down and lowered myself through, looking at the world upside down. Nothing there.
By the time I walked down to the point again, I realized the camera was in my pocket and I could record it.
Here is what I got.
Please tell me what you think it is!
Feline? Avian? First thought avian, was a bittern. But when I called "kitty", it seemed to answer.
Home in the dark, I realized I should have looked up the tree. But if it had been a cat in the tree, the sound wouldn't be coming toward me from the cattails. Also, you never see cat skeletons in the trees, so it was in no danger. I really should take a quick walk over now while it's still light. Was it some kind of frog?
Toward the end, it would answer (sort of) to "kitty, kitty". I am STUMPED!
Neat mystery. Wait till you hear the sound! But not near as scary as the screaming Fisher in an Oregon woods.
October 14, 2008
The mystery has been solved by Bruce Means, PhD, Herpetologist from FSU. I sent him the video and this is what he said:
This is an easy one. It's a frog being eaten by a snake, probably a leopard frog and possibly a water snake or garter snake. I've heard it many times and sometimes it can be stimulated when you catch one and hold it in hand.
Bruce - I thank you very much. Amazing!