Frog Man: Peepers peeped, didn’t croak

BIG RUN — It’s no surprise, when one thinks of it.

John London, Big Run’s official “Frog Man,” said Tuesday, “If you take all those dates, add them up and divide and look at the average ... the average date is March 19, which is very close to the first day of spring.”

Tuesday morning, London reported that his friend, Bob Fisher, heard the peepers in the Big Run swamp peeping around 9:30 p.m. Monday, March 12 — just eight days before the official first day of spring, March 20.

“He said they peeped last night, but didn’t croak,” London said.

The legend of the peepers says spring is not officially here until the frogs see through the glass — in this case, ice — three
times. Hearing the peepers for the first time doesn’t mean it’s spring, but that spring is on its way.

Customers at the Big Run Post Office Tuesday confirmed Fisher’s claim, saying they heard the peepers around 8 p.m. Monday.

“He heard them on the back porch,” London said. “He got in the truck and came over the hill, and drove up through the swamp, the road past the swamp, and they were really a-hummin’.

“It’s very much in line,” he said about the peepers’ 2012 peep-date. “This was the 12th, and it’s slightly early; I really expected them to peep around the 16th or the 19th.”

London, who was been listening for the peepers since 1972, said the earliest peeps in this area came March 2, 1979. The latest peeps were April 1, 1978, April 1, 1999, and April 1, 2001.

Last year, the peepers peeped March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day — and March 19 in 2010.

Once again, the peepers’ peeping is just in time for the 18th annual Peepers Banquet, scheduled for a 5 p.m. social hour and dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at the War Memorial.

The guest speaker will be James McIntyre, vice-chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners.

London said the peepers’ own predictions generally fall in line with another local weather prognosticator: Punxsutawney Phi, who this year, predicted six more weeks of winter.

“It’s been almost six weeks, and it’s all coming together again,” he said. “It really does. It’s strange how things like that work, but they do.”