The Frog who Came to Dinner 2013

Martha O'Kennon

Something amazing happened in the early summer of 2013. Early in June (if memory serves) a lovely male green frog appeared in the pond. That night he began his concert series. For several nights he sang and sang and one morning i saw a new female frog in the pond. Soon after that I spied about a thousand tiny black tadpoles. I didn't know then that black tadpoles are the progeny of toads, not frogs. Back to them in a bit. But first let me tell you about Froggy.

Here are a couple of photos of Froggy. It isn't always easy to see him as he is pretty much the same color and pattern as the pond plants.

One morning I went out to watch the fish and suddenly heard a kind of "grump" sound. I looked around and finally spotted Froggy at the near edge of the pond. I said something similar to what I heard, and guess what? He grumped back. We conversed like that for quite a while, then he hopped back into the water. From then on, Every day several times a day, I would go out, Froggy would grump at me and vice versa.

It wasn't just people that he would imitate. One afternoon someone was making a drilling noise, maybe a chainsaw noise, about a block away and when I went out there he was trilling back at them. Believe me - I couldn't make this up. Oh yes, I guess I could, but not this time. Every time the drill sound came over, trill away he did. It was much like his evening call. Once I heard him trilling and heard a similar sound in the bushes. When I went over to look, another green frog jumped up and ran away.

Another time I was on the pbone talking to a friend on speaker phone. When Froggy heard me talking to someone, he gave his usual "grump". Every time one of us [humans] spoke he grumped. Finally I set the phone down on the edge of the pond fairly close to him, and for quite a while he carried on a conversation with my friend.

I got to thinking - look at all the fairy tales and movies about talking frogs. I'm convinced they were inspired by listening to the "ordinary" frogs, especially male frogs, who tend to do most of the talking.

Froggy must have hung around for almost two months. This is the last picture I got of him. What a wonderful companion he was all summer!

Oh yes, I promised to say something about the little black tadpoles. They grew and grew and one day tiny black toadlets began climbing out of the pond. Black toadlets don't stay black for long. There is more about toads in the June 20 edition of the 2014 blogs..

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