Tree hugger

something on bark of American sycamore treeThe mantis from the previous post stayed trapped by the rain for several days, finally leaving its position early this afternoon – naturally while I wasn’t watching. While I was wandering around the backyard, hoping to find where she’d gotten off to, I spotted something else, which I won’t identify and simply let you look at the image to the left to try and find on your own. It gives a pretty good idea of what I saw at first, and the kind of things I pay attention to because they often enough lead to new critters to photograph.

As is obvious, everything is still dripping wet from the rains, which helped encourage the subject of the image. Actually, a lot of critters have been encouraged, delighted to finally see some adequate moisture – I have two more than I captured for studio work, and a couple of others that I may be following.

Found it yet? If not, too bad, because I’m moving on – you shouldn’t have been wasting time following the text over here.

Cope's grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis on wet American sycamore Platanus occidentalisI am going to identify this as a Cope’s grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis,) with reservations – they cannot be distinguished from the common grey treefrog visually, but so far, the Cope’s is the only species that I’ve confirmed we have around here, solely by their call. This one is not only a quite dark specimen, it’s quite small – had it tucked in its legs as they tend to do, it would have been able to hide completely under my thumb. Just in case you’re still looking for it in the first pic, it’s low to the right, near where two of the vines cross. No, the other place they cross.

These, and potentially the green treefrogs as well, are what I’m hoping to encourage with the backyard pond – it’s hard for me to say whether they will accept this as a breeding ground because it’s limited in size, and most of a brood would have to move on soon afterward; I tend to think the greys will be fine with it, but the greens would need a bigger water source and more bright green foliage, simply from knowing where I’ve spotted them before.

Cope's grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis clinging to trunkRemember, look at your thumb – the distance between the tip and the crease of the joint is how long this little bugger is (unless your hands are way different in size from mine.) But this gives a good view of those little blobby pads at the tips of the toes, which help treefrogs cling to such surfaces, and the brilliant yellow lining of the hind legs which often remain hidden from sight. Don’t ask me the purpose of that coloration, because I could only speculate, and poorly at that.

Had the day gotten significantly warmer, or the sun burst forth, my subject here would have sought shelter – they have to remain moist and usually don’t appear in sunlight at all (though there are exceptions.) Yeah, I know it looks bright, but that’s because I was using the flash; the conditions were actually far too dim to permit macro work handheld. If the weather predictions are accurate, however, it can remain here for the next week – it’s gonna be Seattle around here for a while.

Let’s go in very close for the last image, because we can, and see that eye at just shy of full camera resolution for a dramatic Sauron effect. It highlights that frogs have slit pupils too, but horizontal ones, which somehow seems less menacing. At least until you view them sideways.

extreme closeup of eye, Cope's grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis

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