Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the September 4, 2005 Newsletter issued from the Sierra Nevada foothills somewhat east of Placerville, California, USA

Some years ago Daniel, the son of Fred & Diana and now off at pilot school, put an old rowboat next to the trailer I'm staying in now, filled it with water, rocks, cattails, pickerelweeds and fish, and made himself a boat pond. A few weeks ago both Daniel and his friend Andre were here (the same Andre who took the rattler photograph linked to above) and one day while they were exploring the old boat's ecology Diana snapped a picture of them, which I really like, so you can see the old boat, Daniel and Andre (pink cap) at http://www.backyardnature.net/ecology.htm.

Daniel and Andre moved on weeks ago but the old boat has remained, slowly leaking, being refilled every now and then and -- here's the thing -- its ecology has blossomed beautifully. Any time you can sit beside it watching mosquitofish, water striders and lots of other tiny critters. Right now the pickerelweeds bear pretty, blue flowers, and if you search among the broad, glossy pickerelweed leaves closely, usually you can find a little treefrog hunkered down waiting for the rains and a good time to call. With a very conspicuous black stripe through his eye, he's a Pacific Treefrog, HYLA REGILLA, shown below:

Pacific Treefrog, HYLA REGILLA

The list of frogs and toads potentially found around Natchez, Mississippi, where I lived in recent years, bore ten treefrog species, and often identifying the treefrogs I ran across was a real challenge. Here treefrog identification is a cinch because there's only one member of the Treefrog Family, and that's the Pacific Treefrog.

One claim to fame for the Pacific Treefrog is that he is the commonly heard frog around Hollywood south of here. When Hollywood moviemakers need an authentic outdoor nighttime sound, often it's this frog that gets recorded, and thus its voice has been heard around the world. You can see if you recognize it at http://www.naturewatch.ca/databases/frogs/audio/hyla_regilla.wav.