04 September 2012 – shooting a micro with a macro
We had been rather lethargic about making an effort to go and get a Micro Frog for our challenge since we started it at the beginning of 2010 and, as it turned out, it was actually still a lifer for Margaret. When we heard that the staff at the Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area were arranging a frog walk for the public specifically to look for it, we decided that it was now the time to do it and we booked ourselves a couple of places on the walk.
The Micro Frog is the 3rd smallest frog in Southern Africa at a maximum size of 18mm, upstaged only by the Northern and Landdroskop Moss Frogs which are a few millimeters smaller, and is restricted to just a handful of wetlands around the south-western Cape probably not covering more than 10km2 in total area, so it is a pretty special Cape species to see. Being a mid-week excursion, we had a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant straight after work and then met up with the rest of the group at the Kenilworth Race Course. A short introductory talk followed before we all headed off into the wetland clad in wellington boots and all armed with torches.
The place was alive with frogs calling and Clicking Stream Frogs and Flat Cacos could be heard in a number of places whilst a chorus of Cape Sand Frogs soon started up as well. It didn’t take too long before the first Cape Sand Frog was found, but we didn’t spend too much time with it as we had another target in mind. Leaving the rest of the group to admire it, we pushed on a little and got to an area where there were a number of Micro Frogs calling. They tend to sit on the edge of floating vegetation slightly in from the edge of the wetlands which means that one has to climb into the water to actually find them.
There is one definite thing that will happen when a group is out frogging and that is that someone will experience that their wellington boots are too short for the depth of water that they are in – this time it was Margaret’s turn and, before long, the water flooded over the top and into one of her boots as she stepped into deep water! It was bound to happen…:)
Nevertheless, it didn’t take all that long to eventually find our quarry and, over the course of the next couple of hours, several more Micro Frogs were found showing quite a diversity of markings on them. Because it was rather wet and muddy in the area we were in, we didn’t make too much of an effort to photograph them all, but rather concentrated on getting photos of the most vividly marked individual. A lifer for Margaret and another challenge target in the bag…!