Jeepers, peepers: Where’d you hear that pinkletink?

Lambert's Cove maintains their crown in the annual contest to report the first harbinger of spring.

Alex Goethals is the reigning king of the peeper reporters. – Courtesy a friend
Also called chorus frogs or tree frogs, peepers can make quite a racket considering they are barely an inch long. — File photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

Looks like winter, what there was of it, might be heading for the finish line. It’s Martha’s Vineyard’s version of Groundhog Day: Hearing early Pinkletinks bodes for an early spring (we hope).

We typically have Lambert’s Cove neighbors vying to be the first to report hearing the pinkletinks (aka chorus frogs). This year, a Times editor heard them around Farm Pond on Tuesday evening, and thought to check with her sources in West Tisbury.

“Thanks for the nudge! We heard them at lunch on Tuesday,” reported Alex Goethals, who lives by the beach at Lambert’s Cove. “And then again this morning, and then at lunch today around 1 again.

This first peeper report is three days earlier than last year (Feb. 24) and almost two weeks earlier than 2016, which was on March 9. In 2015, the first peeper sang on March 27. Notice a trend?

Pinkletinks prefer marshy ecosystems, and early reports often come from Lambert’s Cove, where Goethals, and other neighbors, including Nancy Abbott, compete in a friendly annual contest to determine who has heard the first peeper.

In a story by Nathaniel Horwitz describing the Lambert’s Cove peeper competition, MV Times Wildside columnist Matt Pelikan confirmed that the marsh and wetland characteristics of the Lambert’s Cove area contributed to its being host to so many early, and vocal, peepers. “They can become almost deafening when you’re up close,” he wrote. “Physically painful.”

Off-Island and can’t hear the tiny tree frogs yourself? Check this out.

Listen to them!