Monday, June 11, 2012

Frogs in the Pine Barrens

On Saturday I was part of a frog watching field trip at Franklin Parker Preserve near Chatsworth in the Pine Barrens. The trip was organized through the local chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey and led by Russell Juelg, one of the land stewards for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which owns and manages the preserve. We were looking specifically for Pine Barrens Tree Frogs, an endangered species which is limited to Pine Barrens habitats in New Jersey, the Carolinas, and the Florida Panhandle. Despite searching two ponds that are usually reliable for Pine Barrens Tree Frogs (and wading through some knee-deep water to look for them), we were unable to find any. Most likely, the frogs normally in those ponds had already mated and stopped calling. However, we did get to see several other common frogs of the Pine Barrens. The leader caught a few and put them in a bucket so that everyone could get a chance to see them; all of the captured frogs were released.

This frog, like the one at the top of the post, is a Southern Leopard Frog. Leopard frogs can appear as green or brown, or a mixture of the two. The two light stripes running along its back to the hips are a good field mark for leopard frogs (in addition to the spotting).

This is a Carpenter Frog, which is recognized by its overall brown color with lighter brown streaks along its sides. Carpenter Frogs get their name from their raucous calls, which sound like someone banging on wood.

This is a younger (and smaller) Carpenter Frog.

Finally, here is a Fowler's Toad, the characteristic toad of southern New Jersey.