A New Year? Time to Start Hopping


At first it was only the palmetto leaf, a bit of crisp variety along the edge of the tangled, soggy slough, that caught my attention. Then, I noticed a smooth patch of green lying on the leaf. Moving closer, still uncertain of its identity, I reached out to touch one end, and it woke up.

The patch of green turned out to be an inch-long tree frog — Hyla cinerea — napping in the sunlight. A nocturnal creature that spends most of the night seeking out insects in swamps, sloughs, and stream edges, it had just settled down for a short winter’s nap when I showed up.

It surprised me that the frog didn’t hop away; only later did I learn that green tree frogs often walk, rather than leaping. After one good stretch, the frog moved a bit farther up the leaf and then settled in again, apparently willing to tolerate a curious human visitor.

Getting eye-to-eye with the creature, I asked, “Are you ready for the new year?” I swear I saw him smile as he asked in return, “Are you?”


Comments always are welcome.


84 thoughts on “A New Year? Time to Start Hopping

        1. Indeed it does. Even your seals seemed to be enjoying the sunshine in some of your photos. I don’t know if their spirits were lifted, but they certainly seemed content.

  1. Great! That’s a very cute, and content-looking, little frog. The ones around home are grayish, and always look like a patch of lichens on a tree trunk, but equally cute. Well, green or gray, ready or not, here it comes, and tomorrow, the days will be 360, round & round it goes.

    1. This one was so tightly snugged up I honestly thought it might have been a chrysalis, or a caterpillar, or some other kind of insect. Once he woke up, he certainly was cute, and seemed to be content. I know we have larger frogs around, but I usually only hear them as they land in the water, so I was pleased to find this one.

      As for 2019, here’s to seizing the day, but without strangling it to death!

    1. Your comment about hopping through the year made me think that “hopping and hoping” wouldn’t be a bad motto. I certainly hope the best for you as you hop from lily pad to lily pad this year!

    1. They’re delightful, aren’t they? They’re so small they can appear in unusual or unexpected places, like your watering can, but no matter where I find them, they always bring a smile.

    1. Now you know why I so enjoyed your choice of a totem animal for the year, although I might be hard pressed to choose between the frog and the trash panda. It did occur to me that Trash Panda might be inclined to sit and sift through last year’s rubbish, so maybe we should go with the frog.

    1. He’s cute as can be, but you should have seen the look he gave me after I woke him from his slumber. After about a half hour, I figured I’d photographed him in as many poses as a one-inch frog could provide, so I went on down the path. By the time I came back, he was asleep again — no trauma there!

  2. Oh, Linda, he *does* look like he’s smiling! Perhaps he, too, is glad to see the old year go away and a fresh new year show up. He wasn’t trying too hard to hide though, was he?!

    1. He was in full sight, which surprised me a bit. On the other hand, the big leaf he was sleeping on would have vibrated quite a bit had a bird landed on it, or any other predator. Maybe he was in a safer spot than we realize. The photo taken from the front wasn’t as easy to get as the one from the side, but I’m glad I caught that ‘smile.’

        1. Well, in the sense that my feet were on the ground, and the leaf was rooted in the ground, anyway. But he actually was between two and three feet off the ground.

  3. Beautiful macros and a lovely sentiment, dear Linda! Loved your reply to the frog’s question! :-) What a cutie: :-) Let 2019 be a hopping good year.

    1. The best answers often are the most simple, don’t you think? It didn’t occur to me until later that I might have missed my chance to turn a frog into a prince, but then again, princes can be iffy, and frogs always are cute. Wishing you all the best in the new year, Dina. Keep your eye out for selkies on the rocks!

  4. Are you? :) I had a screen door in Liberia where the bugs would congregate at night, attracted by the inside lights. Two other regular visitors were a tree frog and a praying mantis. Part of my evening entertainment was watching them stalk and capture the bugs. The tree frog walked very slowly, and carefully across the screen, and then it would unleash its lightning fast tongue. Zap! –Curt

    1. You had a tree frog and praying mantis? All I got were those translucent geckos — at least, that I can remember. I’m sure there must have been other predators roaming around, but none quite so entertaining as yours. If you’d like the latest — and entirely fascinating — information about how those frog tongues work, you can find it here. I had no idea.

  5. He sure does appear to be smiling, what does he know that we don’t? I had a pretty decent 2018 and was hoping the new year would be the same!!

    1. Maybe that’s what he knows: that this year is going to be just as good as the last. Actually, it wouldn’t hurt if it were even a little better, but I suppose we’ll take what we get.

      Here’s something that definitely belongs on the good side of the ledger. Repairs have been made to additional areas of the Battleship Texas, and it’s going to be opened to the public tomorrow. There are some details here. It’s been quite a project.

  6. A cute little frog, Linda.
    At a certain time of the year the bull frogs make themselves heard in the little creek that we often walk past. I believe they are lovelorn and with their noisy manner hope to find a girl-friend. They can sure make an amazingly loud noise. They say that the state of frogs is a good indication of the health of the ecology.

    1. I’ve heard that healthy frog populations mean a healthy environment. We don’t have many frogs around my immediate area because of the salt water, but inland they’re much more common where the water’s fresher.They certainly can make a racket. When I was in east Texas a couple of months ago, it rained the whole time I was there, and there were deep, bull-froggy croaks and high little chirps, and I didn’t have a clue what any of them were. I only knew I enjoyed the sounds.

  7. It’s a good day when one is able to be eye to eye with a frog, especially a cute little tree frog. They always seem to either be smiling or just bemused. Lucky you. I won’t get to see a frog for several months yet.

    1. You have some of the best frog photos I’ve seen — especially this one. I’ve remembered it since the first time I saw it. Maybe this will be my year to finally get to see and photograph a bullfrog — but I’m going to have to get away from the coast to do it.

    1. I’m glad I made the effort to get that frontal shot, Vicki, even though it’s a little shakier than I’d like. There wasn’t any way to get on the same level as the frog without bending my knees halfway, and holding the position while I tried to focus. Fifteen minutes of that was enough, believe me.

      1. I’m envious of your ability to get down low like that, which makes me appreciate low-down shots all the more. Sadly, I can’t do this any more myself.

        1. If I’d been on the ground, I couldn’t have seen the frog — he would have been above me and probably out of sight. And even with something to lay on, I wouldn’t have, since I was standing more than ankle deep in water. Knee-bending was the answer this time.

            1. Yes, so do I — sitting or lying, either one. I just haven’t found any reason to bother with a pad or ground cover. Like a tripod, it’s just one more thing to carry. As long as my washing machine still works, it’ll all be good. On the other hand, I do scan for briars and fire ants!

            2. Yes, look before leap(or lay) is always good. The little “pissmeiers” (as one of my grandparents used to call them: ) are nasty little biters (but nothing compared to fire ants, I’m guessing!

    1. Isn’t it, though? I was so sure that little green mound was something like an egg case or chrysalis that he startled me as much as I did him when I woke him up. In the end, all was well. I got my photos, and he got to go back to sleep: a perfect trade.

  8. I am sure the little green frog is readier for 2019 than I am. After all, he maintained his composure when he suddenly found himself as a model. I would have jumped a mile or screamed in a similar situation. Beautiful photos. It seems you got along famously like all the best photographers and models should do.

    1. It’s true, isn’t it? When we’re totally absorbed in something — a task, a thought — being interrupted can be a shock. That happens to me at work sometimes. I’ll be sanding along, or vanishing, deep in thought, when someone will stop to say something and I’ll jump higher than this frog did.

      Even though I have minimal experience with such things, it does seem that some creatures are more willing to accept human attention than others. This one certainly wasn’t going to give up his spot in the sunshine unless a real threat appeared; apparently, I didn’t seem very threatening.

    1. I was thinking about this, and decided part of the explanation may be that I was about 80 miles south of you. The day I was there, Texas dandelions and other flowers were blooming, and there were a lot of butterflies.

      1. I find that just 30 miles south has a different growing climate than up here at the north end of Lake Houston. We haven’t had a bad freeze, so there are some flowers blooming to feed a few bees and a hummingbird, but all the lizards, frogs and toads have disappeared.

      2. I take back my statement about lizards. Today I found one in the garage with my plants and one on the south side of the house sunning on a rock. Maybe they come out in good weather, although I’m not seeing them in their usual numbers. I need to do more research!

  9. Naturally I find this entirely enchanting.
    The last garden I had, which is years ago now, attracted little frogs. Yes, getting lost in the moments of photographing something is something that I miss, as last year didn’t lend itself to that much.
    Now on the road again, the intention is to slow down even more, and return to more mindful shots rather than travel snapshots.
    The monopod I purchased months ago awaits a good workout.
    We are currently camped in a forest, listening to Bird calls. Lovely.
    For your interest, check out the Aussie pobblebonk frog.

    1. I’ll be interested in how the monopod works for you. I’ve not yet used either a tripod or a monopod, since I’m not interesting in carrying something more with me and I’m still fairly well able to keep things steady. But there are some things I can’t do without one — like sunrises, sunsets, and so on. There probably are other uses I don’t even know about.

      I need to slow down more this year, too — or speed up, in some ways. I can see the light rising now, and my plans to be out early today to catch first light are slipping away. I’ll be glad for the days to begin lengthening. Even an extra half hour on either end makes a difference.

      I enjoyed hearing the call of the pobblebonk, and it’s easy to understand why it’s also called the banjo frog. When several species start calling at the same time, it’s a wonderful thing to hear.

      1. I find using a tripod too restrictive, but the mono is much better, and easy to carry on my backpack when I’m out hiking. It’s mostly for flower macro when I can’t use my body as a tripod. Also there’s a simple stabilizer with a piece of string attached to a screw one end and large flat washer on the other.
        Glad you enjoyed froggy.

    1. How can I have forgotten that? On the other hand, this one certainly seemed to be taking his ease. There weren’t any problems in his life, until someone started tickling him.

    1. That smooth, ball-like shape is exactly what puzzled me until I got him to stretch out. He was quite a fun little creature to meet in those woods.

      Now, I’m wondering: when does your new year begin, rethy? I think I remember you posting last year about new year festivities, but I can’t quite remember whether it was the Chinese new year, or a different one. In any event, thanks for your good wishes, and a wonderful year to you, too!

  10. I finally looked up “Lagniappe” – How wonderful Linda! – to finally have the word for this lovely custom. (They do it in Antigua as well: ) and I suppose a “Baker’s Dozen” could also be considered lagniappe, oui?

    1. A friend mentioned today that she’d seen a program (National Geographic, or something similar) that featured colorful frogs from around the world. I imagine some of those you saw on your travels would have been included. I do love frogs and toads, but I rarely see them. This little one was a real treat.

    1. Thanks, Tom. He was a fine, patient froggy to put up with me circling his leaf for nearly a half-hour. He may have been thinking, “This one seems crazy, but harmless.” Right on both counts, probably.

    1. It’s always fun and amazing to be eye-to-eye with a creature of any sort, but when it happens with these tiny ones, it’s even more special. Once I figured out that he was going to stay put, I decided to try to capture that cute green face, and it worked out better than I’d hoped. May it be so for the new year — we could use one that works out better than we’re hoping!

    1. I really like that effect, too. I will confess that it wasn’t planned. I only had been trying to get the little frog in focus with a nice blur behind him. When I saw this, I was doubly delighted. Now, the trick will be to do it on purpose!

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