Get back, winter!

We’ve had a couple of overnight frosts and some generally cool days, and I figured the treefrogs had packed it in for the winter, though the aquatic frogs in the backyard pond might still be sporadically active. Recently a warm front pushed in, bringing quite nice temperatures and a bit of rain, and last night I went out in just a t-shirt (well, okay, pants too) to take a peek in the backyard. As suspected, a couple of the green frogs (Lithobates clamitans) were out of the pond and both resting, a few meters apart, on the lower crossbar of the fence.

green frog Lithobates clamitans perched on fence

another green frog Lithobates clamitans perched on fence
Both of these are fairly good-sized for the species, so they’ve been doing well in the pond, and they’re far from the only residents – I’ve known of five at a time in there, and last night I saw four of them, one unidentified species being quite small. I was walking very slowly and carefully because the yard is littered with leaves and spotting frogs in those conditions is extremely difficult.

But they weren’t the only frogs to be found, and the next ones surprised me.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea perched desperately on siding
My count for last night was six green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea,) of different sizes, all in the backyard. I’d been hoping, only a few months ago, to get some established in the yard, but this was more than expected, especially since they’ve outnumbered the Copes grey treefrogs at the best of times.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea on planter pole
When I first saw this one, on my way back in to get the camera, it was tightrope-walking up the black pole you see here, a peculiar sight since their legs are twice as long as they normally appear, splayed out awkwardly to either side. I will get an illustrating shot of it one of these days, but for now we have the typical perches.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea on gardenia leaf
I spotted this one from across the yard as I was photographing the previous – that bright hue certainly stood out against the gardenia leaves. This was also noticeably the biggest.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea settled down within downspout
You’ve seen a variation of this perspective before, and it’s possible this is the same frog, but it’s a different downspout. This one was the most difficult to photograph, since the space between the nearby rain barrel and the porch supports was very narrow, and I simply couldn’t work a better angle with the flash unit. This was also the only one to be found at midday today, right before I typed this.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea perched on cat 5 network cable
This was actually the first I’d spotted, the one that made me head back to get the camera, and I found three more in that short trip. The blue ‘pole’ is actually a standard network cable, the kind you plug into the back of your computer, or at least did – now everyone uses their smutphones, it seems. but yeah, tiny. In fact, here’s another shot to show scale:

green treefrog Hyla cinerea on cat 5 network cable with fingers for scale
Yep, able to fit comfortably on the pad of my middle finger, though I doubt it would have stayed put for those shenanigans.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea hanging on dried weed stem
This was the last, about the same size as the previous one and hanging on a dried stem in the garden. The warm rain really made them active last night, and might again tonight – who knows? But I’m pleased to see them again when the shooting season is winding down for the winter.

And to close, we return to the first treefrog in the gallery which, while I was shooting the others, crossed the upper deck to sit on the edge of the window and peer into the screened porch like a slimy green voyeur. I said I was wearing pants, so I can’t tell you what was motivating this one, and let you speculate on your own.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea peering through screen