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Lichen with legs

Yesterday was a rich day; with all sensory input oddly and schizophrenically split between very early and very late.  The day ended after midnight with a fun and funky evening at the CD drop party for the Groove Noodles, a friend’s band.  But it started before dawn in the outdoors, on Queen Creek and in Devil’s Canyon, a rock-girt desert riparian corridor east of Phoenix.  E and I were part of a team censusing birds in Pinal County for North American Migration Count.  There were great birds — including 7 species of warbler, both passing through and staying to breed, as well as orioles, and tanagers.  But one of my favorite sightings of the day was this Canyon tree frog (Hyla arenicolor) hopping up a nearly vertical rock wall, as we too were rock-hopping up and down the trail-less creek bed, which still contained large pools and slow flow.  We had to rely on our hiking boots to stick us to the water-smooth cobbles, but the frog has large suction discs on the ends of its digits, visible even at a distance (top photo).  It looks as much like a spot of gray lichen as possible, until it moves.  It also has delightfully colorful markings in lichen green and orange on its under-belly and under-thighs, which you can see better in this photo to the left <<.  I’m thinking the rotunditude of this particular frog may mean she’s a gravid (egg-filled) female.

Canyon treefrogs are, as I’ve stated before, “quite a toadly frog.”

(Photos E.Shock.)

Posted by Allison on May 9th 2010 08:28 am | One Comment
| View birding,close in,field trips,natural history,reptiles and amphibians category

One Response to “Lichen with legs”

  1. […] along Queen Creek for North American Migratory Bird Day, we had to look down as well as up, because the warm rocks were frequently festooned with fat frogs, each one blending in just as nicely as this one — a stream cobble with gold-flecked eyes. […]

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