Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Heron Heaven, Frog Hell

Down at the EITHW (Excavation Intended To Hold Water), things are becoming desperate. The water which left completely back in the fall, had returned in the form of a one foot layer for a while. This, and the absence of predatory fish, encouraged lots of froggy fun and the shallow pool held many tadpoles as a result.

The relentless drought has put an end to that fun now and the shallow pool has shrunk to a muddy sump about the size of one of those bright blue kiddie pools out in front of Walmart. A thin sheen of water rides atop the mud waiting to get airborne.

The frogs (and there are a blue million of them down there) are not aware of the seriousness of their situation. They are not doomed, but surely some will not make it if the pond dries completely.

Already the little blue heron is reducing their numbers as the shrinking mud puddle concentrates the targets. The frogs have posted sentries like the fellow below to sound the alarm when the long legged death arrives.
Estivation is still an option for them, but perhaps the rains will come in time and keep things wet.
In the meantime, they nestle into the cool mud and wait for rain.
The sun is rising into a cloudless sky again today and already the water molecules are feeling the tug of freedom. The heron, in the willows by the pond, is preparing for another day on the hunt.
By this evening, the puddle ... and the frog population will be just a little smaller.
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12 comments:

Mark said...

It's so dry here that even a muddy bog looks inviting.

(Excuse me if this is a double post. I had some problems earlier but I think I'm OK now.)

roger said...

the heron will be a bit larger.

threecollie said...

Poor frogs. We once again have a surfeit of water and would love to share if you could find a way. We could use a few dry days to get the corn in and maybe actually get some haying started.

Ava said...

Wow! Great pictures! Cute little frogs ... on the menu!

robin andrea said...

That last frog pic is so cute. You have to go out and shoo that nasty heron away. There are plenty of other places for it to feast on cute little froggies. I'm kidding of course, but really, what a plight for those frogs. Any rain in the forecast?

Cathy S. said...

It is so dry here we have no water for our froggies at all. I am trying to keep the pasture watered for the horses and yet stay within the water restrictions. I have sacrificed my roses and flower beds, but the horses need grass! It clouds up every afternoon, but not a drop falls from the sky. A nice little tropical storm, no hurricane, would be welcome relief.

rcwbiologist said...

Welcom to the EITHW Restaurant!

Menu

Breakfast: Frog
Brunch: Frog
Lunch: Frog
Supper: Frog
Dinner: Frog

Floridacracker said...

Mark,
I hear ya. All the swamps and creeks are dry.

roger,
somebody has to win.

ThreeCollie,
Still? You guys really have got the water this year.

Ava,
I'm afraid they are the appetizer, main course, and desert.

Robin,
No rain in the near future. I'm sending the heron to you.

Cathy S,
I agree, a nice TS that stalls until we are all complaining about too much water.

RCW,
Kind of a Bubba Gump diner, only frogs not shrimp.

Cathy said...

Poetry. The pictures and words. Laughter and tears. I feel guilty grinning at that last pix of the clueless heron bait.
I don't know what 'estivation' is - but, I hope it gives him a reprieve.

Floridacracker said...

Cathy,
I walked down there tonight and it's an even smaller puddle than two days ago when I took these pics.
I give it about 3 days.

Wayne said...

I agree with Robin - that last photo is very endearing. But what species is it with those attractive yellow highlights?

It looks like, ironically, you may have to hope for an active hurricane season if you're to get any rain at all there.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne, I just find most amphibians endearing.
I think that last one is a young bullfrog while the others are grass or pickeral frogs.
We have a pig frog that is similar to bullfrogs ... could be that too.