April 30, 2017

Guardians of the Gulch

Janine Pineo Photo | Frogs on a log at the vernal pool

Janine Pineo Photo | Frogs on a log at the vernal pool

Janine Pineo Photo | Can you spot all four frogs on the log?

Janine Pineo Photo | Can you spot all four frogs on the log?

• By Janine Pineo •

I checked on the tadpoles Tuesday afternoon at Tadpole Gulch.

The rain had cleared out and I was sweltering in the muggy weather. I admit that I was already done with the black flies that kept bouncing off my head every time I stopped to look at something.

And that was just the first day of black fly season.

As I reached the vernal pool where the frog kids are swimming, I heard the usual plops as the adult frogs went into the water to hide. I always try to sneak up on them so I can see how big they are and what kind.

When I got to the edge of the water, I nearly jumped myself when I caught sight of a massive frog.

How massive? As big as my hand and probably a good foot long if it decided to do frog legs like my dog Daisy used to do and stretch out fully.

But it was not alone. No sir, a smaller frog was just below it and another facing it. None of them moved, except for the blink of their eyes.

I got as close as I dared to take the pictures you see. I didn’t dare get too near and make them jump into the murky water. And it was only then that I noticed frog No. 4.

Four frogs on a log.

I feel there should be a song for that.

Can’t see the four frogs? Click on this link to see the photo with arrows to show you how well camouflaged these critters are.