Popping the lid off a hive often reveals a surprise. A while back I wrote about finding my queen clinging to the underside, but yesterday I was shocked and charmed to find a tiny tree frog. This particular hive has a screened inner cover with shims that suspend the lid (outer cover) to allow for ventilation.
The little green frog apparently liked this place. It was warm, shielded from the sun, and probably just damp enough to be comfortable. And the screen provided plenty of protection from the teeming mass of bees beneath.
Of course I didn’t have my camera. I had just carried about half my weight in bee equipment up the hill, and my camera hadn’t made the cut. I sat holding the frog in my hands for a few minutes. Its suction cup feet clung to my fingers and its sides puffed in and out with its breath. It seemed to look me in the eye.
I really wanted to carry it back to the house and take a picture, but frogs are so imperiled–from the chytrid fungus and other environmental hazards–that it seemed reckless and cruel to remove it from its habitat. So I told him (her?) he was free to go, and after a while he did. With one great leap he landed in the salal and disappeared from view.
The Pacific tree frog–also known as the Pacific chorus frog–is the one you always hear in the background of western movies. And–in case you missed this amazing fact–this little guy is the state frog of Washington! Follow this link to hear the various calls of the Pacific chorus frog. I especially like the third one.