“Seemingly out of place, on a wide gravel beach, the frog makes its way over the polished stones to the refreshing waters of the lake.” – Ed Lehming
On a recent trip to Ontario’s Prince Edward County, we spent some time on a quiet gravel beach. The beach was made of heavily polished limestone pieces deposited by the churning waters of Lake Ontario. These stones where all flat and smooth and extended inland some ten meters from the shore. The beach ended an an elevated shoreline of course limestone, sand, grasses, and scrubby trees.
It’s been an extremely hot and dry summer in this region, so I was surprised as a leopard frog emerged from the dry grass behind where I was sitting and began making its way to the water’s edge. It made sense that the frog would want the water, but it’s a fairly long and highly exposed route to take.
This particular frog did not seem to mind me blocking his way for a few minutes to get a photo while others on the same journey were pretty skittish. A few moments after making this image I started along the lakeshore and noticed many other frogs in the water and along the beach, also refreshing themselves. As I continued on my way, I saw a stick laying on the gravel. As I stepped towards it the ‘stick’ moved, as it turned out to be a rather large Garter Snake. This snake was not alone and there were many other snakes doing the same thing; hoping to intercept a frog on it’s way to or from the shore.
While I did not see any snakes who had successfully caught a frog, I’m sure it’s not an uncommon occurrence and there is absolutely no shelter for the frogs to escape from, they would have to rely completely on speed and stealth to survive the journey to and from the water.
I have several interpretations to the OPEN theme. It could be open to any category of post or it could be the ‘opening’ of something, like a door. In this case, it’s the opening of the natural spring cycle in my area of Canada. Throughout the winter, this large creek lies frozen. Within a few short weeks it transforms from ice to a living place once more (another opening of sorts), as the Rainbow Trout begin their annual spawning migration up the creek. Once more, it’s a link to a photo I made back in April, and one of my favourites.
This creates another link to OPEN for me, because a few days after the spawn ends, the fishing season opens.
I was debating submitting this image as well because the snake’s mouth is very clearly open as well. Ah, choices!
“Such is the condition of organic nature! Whose first law might be expressed in the words ‘Eat or be eaten!’ and which would seem to be one great slaughter-house, one universal scene of rapacity and injustice!” ― Erasmus Darwin
Ever have one of those days where, out of nowhere, something just sneaks up and gets you from behind? You can take small comfort that you are not this Wood Frog. I’d say our troubles are tame compared to his.
I came across this scene a few days ago while on a short hike along Ontario’s Seaton Trail. I heard a rustle of leaves and spotted motion just off the trail. At first all I saw was the large Garter Snake, then I noticed it had caught the frog. The light was awesome, so I sat to watch this process play out and document it with my camera. I’ve seen photos in elementary school textbooks of how snakes eat their prey, but have never witnessed it firsthand. It’s quite the process
How the snake would get this large frog into it’s mouth was beyond me, especially considering the frog’s legs were still free and active, and he had filled himself up with air. Well, after a few mis-timed kicks, the frog’s legs were in the snake’s gullet and the rest was just a matter of time. Twenty minutes, to be precise, from when this image was made to the time the last trace of the frog disappeared. You just never know what you might see when out on the trails.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm 1/100 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200