23 June 2012 – another frog “challenged”…

With our pelagic trip having been cancelled due to inclement weather, we decided that the cold and wet weather was best utilized by trying to target a frog for our challenge list. We didn’t want to spend the entire day out in the field, so opted for one of the local species, Cape Peninsula Moss Frog, that we had not yet managed to get for our challenge list yet. Not only would it be a new species for our challenge list, but it would also be a lifer for Margaret…

It was a very leisurely start to the day and we arrived at Barrie Rose’s house at 09h00 to collect him. From there, it was just a short trip up to Constantia Nek where we also met up with Cliff and Suretha Dorse and then began the walk up the mountain in search of our quarry. Fortunately, it was not too much of a slog and after about 500m or so, we reached a little overgrown gulley where there were lots of them calling. We clambered up through the undergrowth and soon were in their midst. What we hadn’t really thought through all that carefully was that all the rain over the last day or so had turned the place into a bit of a mudbath and we found ourselves slipping and sliding all over the place. Needless to say, our clothes soon looked like they hadn’t been washed in months…!

The entire group of Moss Frogs, all 7 species currently described, are generally incredibly difficult to find. It’s not that they are uncommon, but rather that they are tiny and live in the most impenetrable of vegetation, making finding them a rather frustrating task. We had already managed to find 5 of the 7 species for our challenge, so this 6th one was going to be great to add to our list.

We spent quite some time working the area and, at one stage, Barrie and I had triangulated on a call and were convinced that we had narrowed down the area that the frog was in to a tiny patch of moss directly in front of us. We began scratching through the vegetation getting more and more frustrated at not finding anything when we heard that all too familiar sound emanating from Cliff. “Got one!” Cliff must be one of the most talented Moss Frog finders that we have ever come across and, having him in the field with you when you are searching for these little critters will almost certainly result in one being found. And he did not disappoint this time either.

We then set about finding a suitable patch to photograph the frog on and took quite a few photos before eventually letting our photographic model go. Because of their small size, these frogs are incredibly difficult to get decent shots of and one always walks away wondering what you could’ve done to improve on your photos. Nevertheless, it was now firmly on our challenge list and became the 30th frog species we have seen in the province since we started the challenge! And now we only have one more of these frustrating little buggers to find for our challenge…:)

The stage gets set for our model

The photographing begins…

Trevor and Barrie getting it from all angles

Cliff and Suretha enjoying the frog

Cape Peninsula Moss Frog

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~ by hardakerwildlife on July 8, 2012.

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