Today’s post is written by a special friend of Roxhill Park, Jeanie Murphy Ouellette who works as Public Education Program Specialist at Camp Long.
On April 20th, 2019, just in time for the Duwamish Alive Festival where I was leading tours of the Roxhill Bog at Roxhill Park, the official state amphibian of Washington, Pacific Chorus frogs, were heard calling in the area that has the most abundant water in the Roxhill Bog – Cell 5.
Scott Blackstock, Forest Steward for Roxhill Bog and Park, heard them first. He said he hadn’t heard that sound in 20 years. We went and listened to them and by their call, I identified them as Pacific Chorus Frogs. I work as an environmental educator for Seattle Parks Environmental Sustainability, Education and Engagement Unit out of Camp Long in West Seattle.
Mid-April is when mating season is at its peak for these delightful beings, heard all over Seattle in wetland areas like Magnuson Park and Carkeek Park in North Seattle, and Discovery Park. Adult pacific treefrogs are generally 3.0 to 4.5 cm (1 to 2 inches) long and on average, females are larger than males.
Their other common name is Pacific Treefrog, Pseudacris regilla (formerly Hyla regilla). They can come in a variety of colors – brown, tan, grey or green- but their distinguishing characteristics are the toepads that they have on their front and hind toes to allow them to climb trees and shrubs in search of insects, and the dark eye stripe running through their eyes from the nostril to the tympanum (ear). There are no other frogs found in the geographic range of the Pacific Treefrogs that have these defining characteristics.
We are not certain as to how they got there, but one of the people on The Roxhill Bog Tour said he knows of a wetland just south of Roxhill Bog where he hears them calling. Perhaps they came from that wetland?
However, that they got there, they are a good indicator species for the bog – and a welcome asset for people concerned that the bog is drying out.
Written by Jeanie Murphy Ouellette
Public Education Program Specialist
Seattle Parks Environmental Sustainability, Education and Engagement Unit