This year was a hard year with no rains coming for 8 weeks during the months of April and May. Virtually the entire peach crop of Georgia was lost due to drought drop, and the rabbits in my yard ate zinnias and other plants they normally left alone.
This meant that most tree frogs in my neighborhood would not have a place to lay eggs and that my breeding tanks would be critical for that population.
This put a tremendous amount of pressure on me because last year when I set the tanks up, they were monopolized by Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans), which eat the small Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) and overloaded the tanks with thousands of tadpoles.
I was noticing fewer and fewer tree frog tadpoles, and I was sure that a single juvenile female bullfrog was eating them and eating too many of them to be sustainable. The tree frogs had been singing and laying eggs for three weeks until the bullfrog showed up after a rainstorm, and they had suddenly disappeared. Had she eaten them? If she had eaten the adults, she was certainly eating the tadpoles.
The thought that a single bullfrog was eating up everything in the tiny pond was depressing me, and I decided to relocate her to a larger pond. Maybe even the leopard frogs weren’t appropriate for a pond this small.
I went out to the pond to catch the bullfrog, and while I was waiting to see her, I pulled some of the excess water cabbage and hyacinth out of the pond. That was when I noticed tiny baby tree frogs on the plants. They were smaller than a raisin, ridiculously tiny, and there were lots of them. The closer you looked, the more you saw hidden on the plants. They were on the water hyacinth, the arrowhead plants, the ferns, the cattails, and even the grass. All these tiny miracles were everywhere.
I tip toed away overwhelmed with pure joy. Less than ninety days before, the pond had not existed, and yet it had already been colonized by several species of frog and produced its first generation.