When I was a youngster my family lived on the edge of a hill. The land dropped off sharply at our property line, made a quick descent of 30 or 40 feet, and then flattened out again. A small drain ran along the bottom, and on the other side of this drain was the back of a shopping center and a small railroad switchyard. The side of the hill was overgrown with trees and brush. It was also littered with old tires, a junk washing machine, rusting barrels, and other rubbish. My family called that little strip of semi-wild land “The Gully.”
Cricket Frogs were common in The Gully. As children we’d find them regularly in the summer – so regularly that they became a pretty common-place feature of our world. Once or twice I tried to keep a cricket frog in a terrarium – it never worked out. But they were more or less taken for granted back then.
I don’t know when I last saw one.
I thought I saw one last week, but was wrong. I was in the Allegan Forest, by the edge of the New Pond. The water has been receding and now a few feet of mud boarders the pond. A very cooperative green frog has taken to sunning itself in one particular spot. I saw it there and knelt down into the muck to get a snapshot.
A bit of movement caught my eye, and I saw what I thought was a Blanchard’s Cricket Frog. The tiny amphibian was less than an inch long, and I had to get close with my insect macro rig to get a shot of it. Here’s a photo with an SD Memory card for scale:
I was pretty excited about possibly finding one of these now uncommon creatures. But once home I looked at the photo and realized that it was really just a really small toad. I didn’t know smalls could be so small – I guess this one metamorphosed from a really small tadpole.
Here’s a shot of the samll toad toad without the memory card:
Well – the experience brought back some nice memories. The last toad I saw – a few weeks ago – was about the size of a baseball. It did not seem to like the attention that I paid it, and slowly but surely dug itself down into the sandy soil. It just sank in, as if the earth was just water and it could float a bit lower if it wished. It was many time’s the size of this little creature.
Here’sthe green frog (shot the week before) that I was originally going after: