Who Let the Frog Out?

by Carl Strang

Native wetlands are represented in my little yard by a container water garden.

The container holds water lilies and a few emergents.

The container holds water lilies and a few emergent.

Early this summer I began to notice little sounds and movements when I passed the container. My suspicions were raised, and eventually I was able to spot the little green frog peeking out of the water from time to time. Green frogs are notorious wanderers, and this little guy not only had traveled more than 100 yards from the nearest wetland, he had detected the water in my container, its surface at least a foot above the ground, and had managed to climb up into it. I hadn’t seen the frog in a while, but I decided I had better empty the water garden for winter earlier than I usually do, in case the frog had not wandered on. The first days of the month were relatively warm, so a safe release was possible.

I set the emergent pots in the emptied vegetable garden. Feeling with my fingers, I detected no frog. Same for the cavities in the supporting bricks, same for the water lily pots.

I set the emergent pots in the emptied vegetable garden. Feeling with my fingers, I detected no frog. Same for the cavities in the supporting bricks, same for the water lily pots.

Next came the careful bailing. The frog peeked out when I reached this level.

Next came the careful bailing. The frog peeked out when I reached this level.

I scooped him into the bucket.

I scooped him into the bucket.

A mud-bottomed stream flows past the subdivision. This is where the frog probably came from, and I carried him down there.

A mud-bottomed stream flows past the subdivision. This is where the frog probably came from, and I carried him down there.

I emptied him onto the leaves at the edge of the stream.

I emptied him onto the leaves at the edge of the stream.

A touch to his back end was enough to stimulate a leap into the water. The frog swam vigorously to the center of the stream and burrowed into the soft mud. He should survive OK, but I don’t expect a return to my garden next year.

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