Red-Legged Frogs at San Onofre State Beach?

26 06 2014

What’s hoppin’ at Uppers?

Not this poor little guy.

iPhone5-sized frog (with flash)

iPhone5-sized frog (with flash)

iPhone5-sized frog (without flash)

iPhone5-sized frog (without flash)

On Wednesday, June 25th, I found him in the sand at water’s edge at the mouth of San Mateo Creek, the lagoon that flows into our favorite surf spot, Upper Trestles, at San Onofre State Beach. He had already expired very recently, maybe from the salt water, but the nearby sea gulls had not spotted him yet.

Have you ever heard of the Caliornia Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii), a “threatened” species under the Federal Endangered Species Act?   There are protected “critical habitats” throughout many areas of California for this species, from the coast to the mountains, though I didn’t see any areas mapped for Orange County.

Now I am not a herpetologist, but this does appear to be a frog.  And, it does appear to have reddish legs.  So, I passed it along to the San Clemente State Park staff to determine what to do with it.

If it is a red-legged frog, it would not be the first species on the Federal ESA list to be found in the San Mateo Creek watershed.  It is one of the last mostly-untouched wilderness areas along the Southern California coast.  Thank God for the Marines and their Camp Pendleton Base that protects the lower watershed and divinely-created critters like this.

Let’s all do our part to preserve the nature around us that makes Trestles such an idyllic refuge for all of us.

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