Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Frogs, Green Frogs, Tree Frogs - Friday Frogs Galore

A heavy rain in May means frogs in the Sandhills. 
And Friday it meant green frogs. 
Green tree frogs. 
Three green tree frogs to be precise. 

First,  a true green treefrog, Hyla cinerea, near the western edge of its range in North Carolina; green, of course, with a glittering golden eye and a bold yellowish-white stripe down each side of its long and slender frame. 

Nearby, another bold green guy, also near the western edge of its range here in the Sandhills. 
This is the barking treefrog, Hyla gratiosa. It too, has glittering golden eyes, with a white upper lip and bold white and black mottling along its flanks. 
Stouter and bearing a "rougher," more granular-textured skin than its smooth-skinned cousin the green treefrog, Hyla gratiosa is the largest of our native tree frogs.

And the final member of Friday's green tree frog trio, the increasingly scarce pine barrens treefrog, Hyla andersonii (recently designated North Carolina's state frog). 
Named for the pine barrens region of New Jersey, where its numbers have also declined due to loss of habitat, this is the smallest of our three featured frogs. 
Its distinctive purplish side stripes, which appear to pass through the center of its eyes, and the bright orange speckling on the underside of the legs distinguish it from the other two.

Green treefrog, like its two companions, has come down from the trees to heed the calls of potential mates. It and the barking treefrog are quite common, if not abundant, in these parts during the warm rains of May.

 While pine barrens treefrog is more scarce, Hoot Owl Karma has been fortunate to encounter a member of this verdant climbing clan for two consecutive Mays, after going a number of years with no such luck. 

Eager to take full advantage of this stroke of good fortune, we find ourselves a bit too close to our subject. 
Fortunately, Cousin Layne alertly and expertly captures the moment with her lens. 
Thanks for sharing this fabulous shot with the blog, Layne! 

Leaping back into the limbs, our third (and favorite) green tree frog, the pine barrens treefrog, makes its way higher, beyond the reach of prying eyes, 

giving us one last glimpse of its orange-speckled flanks

before finding refuge high on the back side of young American holly tree near the sandy banks of the stream. 
And so ends Friday's froggy extravaganza of green tree frogs galore; 
here's hoping it rains again soon!

Special thanks to Layne Randolph for her fabulous photos and frog tracking skills, without which this blog post might never have come to fruition.

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