Baby Bullfrogs. That Is All.


Sigh. Seattle’s doing this let’s-hold-on-to-summer thing that it rarely does. I want to be outside so bad it physically hurts. And, of course, it’s now that they’ve closed the vacation calendar and are making noises about mandatory overtime. Combined with some of the other stuff going on, it’s enough to make me scream.

So it’s nice to come home and spend a few minutes with frogs. I haven’t got time or energy for anything in-depth, but you won’t care. Baby bullfrogs. That’s all I need to say.

Let us begin with the tadpoles.

Bullfrog tadpoles, Meadowbrook Slough, Three Forks Natural Area, Snoqualmie, WA.

I shot these fat little fellows from the road over the slough. It’s a steep embankment, probably about six to ten feet tall, and these weren’t right below me. Even with 10x optical zoom, the fact you can see these little dudes at all means they’re actually huge.

Moar tadpoles!

And I figured, where there are tadpoles, there are probably froggies. I saw a little path leading down from the embankment along the slough, and headed down.

There were bullfrogs all right. I heard one give the startled gasp-squeak-scream that sounds a bit like a plunger having hysterics, and a plop, and grinned to myself. I tiptoed on down towards the water, but apparently wasn’t light enough – next I knew, it was plop-plop-plop in quick succession, tiny little splooshes like and yet unlike regular bullfrogs. It could mean only one thing. Bebbies!

And one mostly-grown bullfrog who just chilled, watching me lazily, as if to say, “Kids.”

Mister or Ms. Mellow – I’m not sure how to sex a bullfrog from a distance, actually.

I gave the Mellow One a companionable nod and settled in to wait on the bank, hoping the bebbies would get courageous enough to reappear.

Soon, a small head breached the oily surface of the slough like a periscope.

Bebbe bullfrog I

The instant it saw me, it was bam! back under the water.

A few moments later, bubbles announced the presence of concerned amphibians a bit further out from shore.

Bubbles

I bided my time, holding very still. And, eventually…

Bebbe bullfrog II

Up floated this wee one. You can see its dear little toeses under the water. We gazed at each other for a time, and then I apparently moved a little too abruptly, and it dove back underwater.

Meanwhile, off to the side, another one approached the surface, considering…

Bebbe bullfrog III. I’ve played a bit with filters to give you a better view – water was terribly scummy, and teh bebbe’s hard to see in color. It was fully submerged.

A bit later, it poked a cautious nose above the surface.

Bebbe bullfrog IV

And another one did the same a few feet away.

Bebbe Bullfrog V

You can see a leaf in the bottom left, there – sort of an aspen-sized leaf, nothing very large. Gives you a sense of how little these precious froggies are. I mean, for baby frogs, of course, they’re huge – they’re bullfrog babies – but they’re itty-bitty compared to what they’ll be should they survive to adulthood.

And all the while, the original Mellow One just stayed put, completely relaxed, watching the proceedings with mild interest while the babies bobbed. Adorable.

This, people, is why I’ve begun to look for jobs that might get me outdoors a bit. Not sure what I’ll find or if anything will come of it at all, but I’m hoping someone will be hiring a frog watcher at a decent salary. I could do this all day. Probably even in the rain. There’s something deeply soothing about frogs. I think part of the reason my blood pressure’s skyrocketing at work (aside from no longer being able to smoke out my frustrations) is that some absolute rat bastards went through the miniature wetlands-inna-ditch with weed whackers and destroyed the habitat our local bullfrogs had enjoyed so much this summer. Sigh. No more wandering down to the ditch on breaks to say hello to bullfrogs. All gone.

But I did hoof it over to the creek today, and saw fishies jump, so maybe there’s some hope for 15 minutes of nature after all…

And we’ll always have the babies in the slough.

Comments

  1. chezjake says

    Bert Mayne, an old friend, penned this little ditty back in the early ’70s. Unfortunately, the Intertoobz don’t seem to contain the music for it.

    The Bullfrog King

    Oh, I went for a walk late one night and talked with the bullfrog king
    He told me of the moon and the big green pond and several other things
    I’ve talked with many, many fascinating lads and it’s been most interesting
    But the very best tales that I’ve ever heard spun were the ones from the Bullfrog King

    He told me once he saw a fly so fine and fat and sweet
    With colors bright ‘twas such delight that he declined to eat
    Instead he said, Dear Mr. Fly, You’ve made my very day
    And the poor fly just did a double take and promptly flew away

    He spoke with horror of Julia Child and he made one hasty wish
    That she’d keep her lemon butter for exclusive use with fish
    He added that one of his relatives had once passed on flambe´
    But as for himself, he really would prefer to croak in the usual way

    As we chatted, he was seated on his throne, a fine green lily pad
    And he made broad sweeps with a cattail scepter inherited from his dad
    His royal clothes were impeccably cut and they fit him nice and neat
    He was one of those kings who’s so very much a king that you didn’t notice his bare feet

    The evening passed so quickly, it was time for me to leave
    As I turned to go, the bullfrog king royally caught my sleeve
    He said, It’s been so pleasant, he was sad it had to end
    He asked me please to bring you all along when I come back again


    And a final quote from the Bullfrog King: “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

  2. rq says

    1) I said EEEEE several times during this post.
    2) Bullfrog in French (I think colloquial) is ‘oua-oua-rond’ (pron. wah wah ron, with that guttural French n), which I think is funny just because it sounds funny.
    3) Mervyn Peake, in my opinion, has the world’s best bullfrog poem, which I transcribe here:

    THE BULL-FROG AND THE FLIES

    Once upon the banks of a green stream
    That was full of water… (wet water…)
    There sat a bull-frog
    And he was vain as vanity itself
    And he had no rival.
    And as for his eyes, they rolled;
    And as for his ears… he hadn’t any;
    And as for his voice… it was ripe as thunder;
    And he loved flies.
    But his love was not the right kind of love.
    For he loved them only to eat them up.
    But there was one fly…
    One especial fly
    Who was the King of all the Flies
    (That lived on the banks of the green stream
    That was full of water… wet water…)
    Oh, yes… he was King of them all,
    Because of his brains,
    And his speech,
    And his brains,
    And his beauty
    And his brains
    And he called for a meeting.
    ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he began
    (And his voice was sharper than needles)
    ‘Stop buzzing and listen to me.’
    And all the flies clapped their hands.
    ‘No, no! Not yet,’ said the King Fly.
    ‘Stand still and be quiet, and listen!’
    And they became quiet, and they listened,
    And all they could hear
    Was the bull-frog in the next field
    Who was hungry for more flies.
    ‘I have an idea,’ said the King Fly at last.
    ‘Yes! yes!’ cried the flies.
    ‘We shall whizz to the thornbush now
    Where the bright thorns grow.
    Break off the thorns and stick them on our noses.’
    ‘What for?’ (said the flies).
    ‘For to puncture him with,’ said the King Fly.
    ‘After all… he has eaten up nearly all our friends.’
    ‘Just listen to him.’
    ‘We look like unicorns!’ said a fly-voice.
    And they did: with thorns on their noses and their brows.
    ‘Are we all ready?’ said the King of the Flies.
    ‘Then charge!’
    And all at once they whizzed through the air
    And pierced the bull-frog in a hundred places
    So that he exploded!
    And there was no more bull-frog to be seen.
    Only his favourite patch of wet grass
    Where he used to sit
    On the banks of the Green Stream
    And eat flies.

    Granted, it ends badly for the bull-frog, but… Oh well.
    (Mervyn Peake, by the way, has some fantastic stuff in all kinds of types – gothic novels (Gormenghast, anyone?), poems about the horrors of war, poems about love, more nonsense poems (which are a delight), a couple of plays, and lots and lots of artwork. He lived and wrote around the same time as Tolkien, but seems to have had a much darker view of the world, most likely due to his work as a war artist at the end of WWII; has some extremely emotional poems about his experiences in the liberation (what DO you call it?) of concentration camps.)

  3. says

    Apologies for being a killjoy (believe me, I love me some froggies as much as the next guy), but bullfrogs are invasive on the West Coast. :(

    If you can find yourself some Pacific tree frogs, though (not sure if they’ll still be out this late in the year), you’ll be in for a treat.

    • rq says

      My favourite froggies are still spring peepers, for all that wonderful peeping they did on those gradually-warming spring evenings when I was growing up. Of course, the pond got filled in and blasted up and levelled out when the development moved in… I hope those are some leaky, leaky basements and that the owners of those particular houses are haunted by the creepily resonant yet eerily poignant sound of little spring peepers peeping through the concrete. And I hope it freaks them out.

  4. TriffidPruner says

    Yah know that nice blue heron you posted yesterday? (“Nice”? “Nice”? Ok, sorry, Great Blue Heron…) Well, these guys are like a tray of cocktail weiners for him. Om. Nom. Nom. He’ll stand up to his ankles in that pond going… beak! gulp! beak! gulp!… Swim, little froggies, swim!

  5. fredbloggs says

    We don’t have many frogs in the uk – do the bullfrogs develop the same as the common frog? (tail, tail + rear legs, tail + rear legs + front legs, rear legs + front legs)