Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pacific Tree Frogs

I've been so hoping to see a Pacific Tree Frog for a while now. I've heard these secretive little frogs calling several times at the Arcata Marsh, and OK, I did actually find a tree frog hopping around inside a garden center soon after we moved here last summer, but somehow that doesn't feel like it counts. I love amphibians, and I've had a distinct lack of amphibian encounters since moving to California.

So imagine how happy I was when I glanced down next to the path at the Arcata Marsh yesterday afternoon and saw a bright green blob resting on a leaf among horsetail shoots and Queen Anne's Lace:


A Pacific Tree Frog! Do you see it? (It's just to the right of center in the above picture.) The little frog was wonderfully handsome up close:
 

Yay, tree frog! And then once I saw this one frog, I spotted another a few feet away:
 

And then another:
 

I ended up finding five (!) frogs along this small stretch of path. I have no idea why so many of these creatures were out in the open. Is this normal afternoon behavior for these frogs? Or were they perhaps avoiding some danger on the ground? (I did see the tip of a retreating snake's tail at one point.)

Some of the frogs chose blackberry leaves for their resting platforms (again, find the frog in this next picture):
 

I loved seeing the subtle variations in color and pattern among these little jewel-like amphibians, and a blackberry leaf makes for quite a dramatic stage:
 

One of the frogs had a beautiful brown-dappled pattern on its back. Pacific Tree Frogs apparently come in a few different colors, and individual frogs can even change colors over time. This individual's costume might be my favorite:
 

I have more sights to share from yesterday's visit to the marsh, but I was too excited about the tree frogs to let them wait. Hooray for beautiful amphibians!

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