Pinkletinks herald the return of spring to M.V.

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Heard earlier this week in the vicinity of Lambert's Cove: Pinkletink, aka "Peeper," "Tinkletoes," "Hyla Crucifer." — courtesy U.S. Geodetic Survey

After dreary and dark February, the lingering sunlight in the late afternoon and the sound of birds chirping a warm tune are welcome signs of spring on the Vineyard.

But the most anticipated and iconic foreshadowing of warmer weather is the sound of the spring peeper frogs, commonly known by Islanders as pinkletinks.

Last year, sounds of the pinkletinks were reported first on March 16, so this year’s February pinkletink report comes early. 

The little brown frogs can be found in marshy areas and around ponds, and when they emerge from their hibernation and exercise their voices, folks on-Island start to look forward to backyard barbecues and morning coffee out on the porch (or maybe that’s just us).

Cathy Peters said she recently heard two pinkletinks “talking with each other” on an unseasonably warm evening at her home on upper Lambert’s Cove Road. 

“We are always the first person to hear those things,” Peters said. “When they first show up, they are so loud you can’t even hear someone else talk.”

Peters said she was taking advantage of the warm weather and grilling outside when she heard two pinkletinks in a back-and-forth conversation. 

“I knew they were tricking me because I heard them talking with one another, then they just stopped. But it was definitely them,” Peters said.

The following night, it was much colder, but Peters was hoping she would hear them again. “They get ear-piercing out where we live. We live right on the marsh, and it sounds like there are millions of them,” Peters said. 

Peters said one of her theories for the early showing of the peepers is that the ducks were landing on the pond and stirring them.

“We have tons of ducks that make all sorts of noise when they come and land in our pond; I’m wondering if they maybe woke up the frogs,” Peters said.

Peters said she is looking forward to hearing more pinkletinks, as the Island creeps closer to sunnier days. “To me, I don’t even feel like we had a winter, it’s been spring for a while now. But I like spring, not too hot, not too cold, just right,” Peters said.