St. John Night Music:
One experience I always loved when I returned to stay at Maho Bay Camps was listening to songs of the frogs and birds while falling asleep in my tent at night. It is a phenomenal chorus that starts at sunset and continues throughout the night. I’ve discovered that there are a variety of frogs (so far I’ve found four) that are singing on St. John:
- the local tree frog,
- the Antillean frog,
- the Coqui and Whistling Eleuth from Puerto Rico.
It is intriguing that I will go all day without seeing a frog anywhere, but as soon as the last rays of sunlight dissolve, I hear thousands of tree frogs in the bush, both near and far, begin their nightly songs. I especially love driving along North Shore Road through the National Park after dark with all the car windows open, listening to all the thousands of frogs in the forest and seeing the bats swoop down and back up in front of my car.
From what I can gather the local tree frog only sings when it is wet or has just rained. But others clearly sing every night regardless of the weather. One sound I used to hear at Maho Bay Camp came only after the rain; either a frog or a bird made a pleasant and irregular (thankfully!) sound of water dripping. I recall hearing it when the rain woke me up at night when I first arrived and was not used to living in a tent and hearing all the sounds around me. I would listen to the rain, usually hearing it end shortly after it started. Once the rain stopped I heard that “drip” sound. Wondering if there was a slow leak in the tent roof I would get up to inspect. My inspection said no. And it quickly became clear the sound was outside and up in a tree! I always loved that drip sound; it was uncommon and it served the same purpose of counting sheep – listening to it would help me fall right back to sleep.
Singing in the Rain
After a rainfall the frog chorus can be phenomenally LOUD if you are surrounded by trees and bush! Now that I am living in a house in Coral Bay (vs. a tent at Maho) I have the opportunity to watch TV again. One night while watching a movie, there was a brief shower and once it had passed the frogs picked up their singing in force. I kept turning up the volume so I could hear the movie, until it occurred to me that it might be disturbing my neighbors, even though I could barely understand what was being said on TV! At that point it is best to just give up and turn off the TV. Island life….