Waiting patiently for the rain. The way things are going lately, it won't wait long.
Scarce. Secretive. Seldom seen, sometimes heard, significantly rare. Although it is named for the famous New Jersey Pine Barrens region, the beautiful pine barrens treefrog is resident in portions of a dozen or so counties in the Sandhills and southern coastal plain of North Carolina and a small portion of the Florida Panhandle as well.
Unmistakable, and arguably more beautiful than any other treefrog in North America, the pine barrens is characterized by a lovely purplish-lavender stripe which passes through the eyes and down each side, and bright orange spots on the underside of its legs.
This lovely little creature was spotted less than a half mile from the Moore County ditch where Hunter and I've communed with the breeding frogs throughout this exceptionally rainy spring and summer, bringing to fourteen the number of frog and toad species we've encountered in this tiny little corner of the Sandhills since March.
It lifts the spirits of a lifelong NC naturalist to witness firsthand such remarkable bio-diversity in spite of unprecedented development pressure and habitat loss.
Another encounter with an amazing creature from my childhood, shared with my sons' generation; hope grows by leaps and bounds...