The night before last we had a visit.
We were delighted! The little green frogs are one of our favourite visitors and we had not seen any since the spring. It had been a very dry summer and not really frog weather but recently it has been raining a lot and I have heard them in the evening but not seen any.
I rushed out to say hello – as you can see they are not shy.
I was able to measure this one’s size through the window and the body length is only 3 centimetres (not counting the head), which is very small compared to the ones we have seen before.
I remember the first time I saw a Rainette. It was a rainy afternoon several years ago and I had just started to draw closed the patio window to stop the rain coming in. She was sitting comfortably on the hand grip of the door frame and I saw her just in time to draw back my hand without touching her.
We were both startled. I had never been that close to a bright green frog before. I didn’t move but neither did she, except to move her head to the side as if to ward off an imminent blow. I felt chilled by the thought that I could have inadvertently squashed her and then by the thought that she was expecting an aggressive blow. She still didn’t budge and I realised she had no intention of moving unless forced to. She was enjoying watching the rain from the window as I frequently do myself. I retired leaving her to her reflections.
From then on she turned up in the garden whenever she fancied, usually when it is warm and damp.
I have identified the Rainette as Hyla meridiaonalis, a little green tree frog that lives in our garden and is common in this area of France. They differ from any other frogs that I have come across as being much calmer and less easily startled. I see them more often during warm, wet weather anywhere in the garden and our old well (see my post The old well ). The well had no water this summer but a plentiful growth of ferns on its walls is a favourite haunt of the tree frogs.
They surprisingly enjoy basking in the sunshine.
Despite being bright green they can be difficult to see.
They occasionally come inside and can take you by surprise because once comfortable they can remain motionless. This one appeared in the dining-room and I only noticed as I bent to put a cup of coffee beside her!
This year they were very quiet as usually we hear them calling from the river in the summer evenings. Their call makes us laugh and I had missed it this year, so I am glad they are back.
You can hear their call if you go to this excellent site and press the button under the Call heading http://www.herpfrance.com/amphibian/stripeless_tree_frog_hyla_meridionalis.php.