Finding Frogs at Conboy Lake NWR
March 9, 2015
Sunday I headed up to Conboy Lake NWR in Glenwood to help search, count and mark Oregon Spotted Frog egg masses. Here’s why: “Refuge-wide surveys have been conducted on Conboy Lake NWR since 1998. In that time, the population has experienced significant declines. Oregon spotted frogs have declined range-wide as well and are gone from the majority of historic sites. As a result, the species is now federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We continue to monitor the population on the Refuge through egg mass surveys to help us make better management decisions and evaluate efforts we have previously made.”
Plus I like being on the refuge and I like the people I’ve met up there. Here are a couple of Spotted Frogs, one with a reddish cast. Aren’t they cute?!!
It was a beautiful blue-sky day that started with a misty morning over Conboy Lake.
Wearing waders, we headed out into the lake looking for egg masses. What’s that you ask? Let me show you!
They were mostly underwater, jelly-like clear’ish balls with a black dot in the middle of each and clustered together.
Oh look, another! I did not find any, but the other volunteers found many.
The beautiful Mt. Adams always in our line of sight watched over us.
Just like a search and rescue line, we walked a grid, back and forth across the marshy lake.
I learned so much from Lisa, the refuge manager and her crew.
Here are some of the crew consulting. Other refuge managers, biologists, volunteers…and me with my camera.
At each sighting we planted a flag with the number, date and amount then marked it on GPS.
The mist rose, we continued our march and I marveled at all I was learning through my many questions.
The egg masses with a black dot are stage One.
When the black dots change to ovals, they are stage two.
Not versed in all the stages, you know the end – they become FROGS!!
Every once in a while we’d stop to help a mass get back in the water.
If the mass was stuck on grass above the waterline it had to be gently released so the eggs stay in the water and survive.
A couple of times we’d find a mass that had to be moved to a wetter environment.
Then off we’d trudge, looking for the next egg mass.
A few frogs hid under the debris below the water’s surface. See him?
Neither did I, but I saw this one!
This is a mass of Tree Frog eggs, not what we were looking for, but it was MY find!! Having never seen them before, I think they looked farther along than the Spotted Frog egg masses.
Adding to my excitement we even SAW a tree frog!!
Back to work.
Oh no, we found a Bullfrog!
We found a high dry spot and grabbed some lunch under the sun. It’s really hard to sit down when wearing waders. I thought you’d want to know.
After lunch we found more eggs….
…and left more flags behind….
…recorded more information….
…and saw a few more frogs!!
Here’s a better view of this cute fella with a reddish cast.
By afternoon a thick swarm of bugs descended.
I suppose I could Photoshop the bugs out of this otherwise beautiful scene.
Or this one.
Oh look, another egg mass!
Lisa and her crew still seemed peppy as I ran out of steam and headed back towards shore.
Our ride seemed farther away than the distance I wanted my hefty backpack to stay on my body. I took all my lenses, ‘just in case’.
I figured I could find some birds to photograph near the truck while Lisa’s crew continued working.
Alas I trudged too slowly and they caught up with me.
One last Spotted Frog, a baby that we found at our last stop of the day enroute back to refuge headquarters.
Thanks so much Lisa, for letting me come along to document and learn. I had a great time, as usual a very fun day on the refuge!