Kermit’s Cousin on the Myakka Prairies

For the last couple of weeks I have been exploring the Park outside of the Park.  This is mainly prairie land located east of the main entrance to Myakka River State Park.  Since I normally drive in from the West side of the Park these areas had never really registered in my consciousness.  Another deterrent was a seemingly endless road repair process that was ongoing just east of the Park entrance.

In my quest for pine lillies a few weeks back, however, I followed a lead to one of these eastern gates and began wandering around.  I wouldn’t want to be out there in July but right now it is very sweet.  Wildflowers are everywhere in the scrub, and the wild grasses are in full “bloom.”  To those who say Florida doesn’t have a colorful Autumn I invite them to visit the Myakka prairies in the late day sun.  It is an artist’s palette.

The  tracks are mainly service roads but the pigs and other critters have made single tracks that lead off the roads and into the scrub. I was making my way through some of the scrub on Saturday, watching my step because the scrub roots are treacherous. From the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a leaf falling… sideways.   Whoa!  Leaves do not “fall” sideways.  I looked down and saw this guy. 

A lime-green frog!  Very much the color of the scrub. He landed in a hole next to some burned scrub.  Of course my camera did not have the right lens on it for this occasion but I did the best I could, absolutely certain Kermit’s cousin would take one hop and be gone.

But he didn’t.  Turned out he was quite a poser but, alas, he had not chosen the best of stages.  He was about 3 inches below me and there was debris everywhere.  I kept snapping and clearing away…snapping and clearing away…snapping and clearing away.

He suffered this poor fool of a photographer very graciously.  After doing the best I could with the wide-angle lens I reached into the kit for my macro lens.  “This will do it,” I thought.  “He’s out of here.”

But no!  He hung around and soon I was on all fours. Well, make that all threes because one hand was holding the camera, trying to get into the right angle, feeling like a pretzel, hoping I wasn’t putting any appendage into an ant hill, and wondering if I would ever be able to extract myself.  The best picture of the day would probably have been a picture of me taking a picture of the frog.

All turned out okay and here is the best shot I could get of this wonderful treasure.  I believe he is a Squirrel Treefrog.  Just another of the jewels at Myakka. ❧

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