Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Barking Frogs on Pleasanton Ridge
Our backpacks were sitting there, ready to go for our now fire canceled 4 day backpack. Water bladders full, etc. With an open schedule, we turned to our East Bay Regional Parks Trail Challenge book for a hike to keep us in condition. Pleasanton Ridge, 7.5 miles, challenging was the description, so we went for it, me with my full backpack, and Susan with a fanny pack.
It's a little tedious slogging up to the top of the ridge, but then the trail goes thru some ancient olive trees, and follows the ridgetop with shade when you want a break. The challenge route is a loop, and the back side goes by three cattle ponds. They look pretty stark - bare dirt surroundings with a small margin of green around the edge.
I walked over to get a better look at the first one, and heard this bark-splash. I walked a little closer and more bark-splashes. About every 2 or 3 feet around the lake there was a frog head sticking out of the water about 2 inches from shore, with a few actually on shore. Every frog gave this bark at the instant they jumped. I've scared a lot of frogs, but never encountered this bark and leap behavior. They were about 4 inches long. Don't know if they were baby bullfrogs or something else.
Anyway, near the end of the loop we passed a ranger residence, and a few minutes later another entry for Tom Managan's decrepit building contest:
One of the frog ponds had a large blue egg mass about 6 inches across. Anyone know if that is frogs, newts or what?