Large Frog and Tadpoles at Hickory Hills Trail in Traverse City | Jane Boursaw Photo
King Frog and his Minion Tadpoles at Hickory Hills Trail in Traverse City | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Every spring, a little pond forms in our driveway. We have a good drainage system, but the spring rains always overload it a few times each year, and that’s when Boursaw Lake happens.

Here’s what it looked like on June 10, 2020. Yes, I checked the basement several times a day to make sure it wasn’t flooding like a couple years ago when the OMP got hit so hard. Thankfully, the basement remained dry.

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Boursaw Lake, Spring 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Boursaw Lake, Spring 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo

This year, we noticed a strange phenomenon. When the pond first formed a few months ago, we spotted a black cloud of something in the water. Looking closer, it turned out to be millions of tadpoles. Ok, maybe not millions, but definitely hundreds of thousands. Ok, maybe thousands. All swimming happily around in the pond.

Tadpoles in Tim and Jane's Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Tadpoles in Tim and Jane’s Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo

I haven’t seen this many tadpoles since Mrs. Van Vorst took our third grade class over to look at the tadpoles in the pond at Old Mission Peninsula School in 1968.

When the weather warmed up and it didn’t rain for a while, our driveway pond got smaller, and all the tadpoles congregated in what little water was left. Every day we’d do a tadpole check, and little by little as the pond got smaller, there would be fewer tadpoles swimming around.

Tadpoles in Tim and Jane's Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Tadpoles in Tim and Jane’s Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo

At one point, the pond got really small, and we thought, well, they had a good run. That pond will be gone in a day or two, and all the remaining tadpoles will go to Tadpole Heaven.

Tadpoles in Tim and Jane's Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Tadpoles in Tim and Jane’s Driveway, July 2020 | Jane Boursaw Photo

And then it rained again. That big downpour a few weeks ago. The pond got big again, and the tadpoles survived. Somehow, the few that remained in the small pond had multiplied into thousands again.

This happened a few times. The sun would come out, the pond would get smaller and start to disappear, and the tadpole population would drop off. Each time, we’d say, well, they had a good run. And then it would rain, and the tadpoles would skirt death once again.

My daughter and I have been checking out some of the non-OMP trails around the area. One day, we walked the Hickory Hills trail in town. There are a couple of ponds near the trailhead. While waiting for Tim to come rescue us because of a car problem (that’s another story), we noticed a big black cloud of something in one of the ponds.

Yes, it was tadpoles. Lots of tadpoles. Probably millions, as that pond is much bigger than our little driveway pond. Here is the King of Hickory Hills with his Tadpole Minions.

Large Frog and Tadpoles at Hickory Hills Trail in Traverse City | Jane Boursaw Photo
King Frog and His Tadpole Minions at Hickory Hills Trail in Traverse City | Jane Boursaw Photo

With all the heat this past week, our driveway pond disappeared altogether. And when it rained yesterday, the pond made a comeback, but this time with no tadpoles. I guess there are now thousands of tadpole carcasses buried in the driveway. Rest in peace, little buddies.

We’ve lived here for 25 years and have never noticed any tadpoles in the driveway pond before. Maybe that’s the next thing on this year’s 2020 Apocalyptic Bingo Card. Tadpoles will grow into frogs and take over the planet. Perhaps the tadpoles in our driveway will rise from the dead and form the Great Tadpole Army of 2020. At this point, anything could happen.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Not that long ago Leopard frogs (as pictured) all but disappeared. Started seeing them again a few years ago. I would take this as a good sign. Unless a takeover is shaping up…

  2. In 2012 the island of Lanai got its first toads ever – Cane Toads – in an uninspected shipment of large landscaping plants. Now they are EVERYWHERE – and capable of killing pets too – so you might not be too far off Jane!

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