An exciting discovery in our yard…Foam attached to a tree appeared overnight…What is it? Please see NOTE at end of post!

Yesterday morning, we spotted this white mass in a tree hanging over the pool, only 15 feet, 4.5 meters from where we sit each day, waiting for visitors. 

While busy preparing yesterday’s post, we both continued to look around the yard every few minutes, which has become our usual practice, scanning our surroundings with the hope and expectation of sighting visitors. As mentioned in the post, we’ve had less visitors this week than the prior two weeks since arriving in Marloth Park on December 1st.

Although each day we do have some visitors including warthogs, Helmeted Guinea-fowls, duikers and an endless array of birds and insects. This past week, we’ve seen dozens of baboons, as described in an earlier post, who continue to watch our activities hoping that we’ll eventually bring food outdoors.

I took this photo while sitting at the outdoor table.  The white foamy ball can be seen on the left of this tree, opposite the bush baby house on the right. It is from this vantage point that we’ll keep a watchful as the life cycle of the tree frog unrolls before our eyes.

As yet, we haven’t dined outdoors for a few reasons; one the insects are fierce at night and two, by not bringing food outdoors during our extended stay, we can keep the monkey population under control in our yard. Monkeys of varying species can be annoying, dangerous and destructive, although we continue to revel in their entertaining behavior that easily occupies us for hours.

As I was working my way through finishing the post by adding the photos, a time consuming process with the somewhat slow Internet connection, I happened to look at the tree above the pool and noticed something “white” situated on a branch, spilling over onto smaller branches.  

This tree frog was waiting on the outside ledge of a window in a sunroom in a house Danie built-in Marloth Park. The house was gorgeous. The tree frog was interesting to us at the time.

I pointed out the white glob to Tom. Moving closer to the tree we were trying to determine what it possibly could be.  Suggesting it was a white plastic bag that blew into the tree, Tom immediately dismissed my thought with a round of laughter, “That’s no plastic bag!  Look closer!”

Inching closer to the tree while standing on the narrow ledge of the pool, preferring not to fall in, I too, began to realize this was no white plastic bag. I couldn’t grab the camera quickly enough.

Downloading the photo to my laptop, I immediately sent the photo attached in an email to Louise anticipating she’d undoubtedly know what it was. In her usual one minute or less response time, she wrote, “It’s a foam tree frog nest!”

Fascinated by this anomaly, (to us anyway), we both immediately began searching online for more information such as:
1.  How many eggs are in that white foamy ball? 500-1200
2.  How will they hatch? They’ll drop from the foam ball within a week falling into the pool as Tadpoles.
3.  Did the female make this foamy nest overnight since we hadn’t seen this on Wednesday? Yes, it takes seven hours to make the foamy nest at night.
4.  Will the Tadpoles swim in the pool before the metamorphosis begins and they become Tree Frogs? Yes! 
5.  How long does this process take? It could be as quickly as 24 hours. 
6.  Will we have the opportunity to watch and photograph this process? Hopefully! We’ll certainly try.

Here’s an interesting site with photos and more information.

The opportunity to witness this fascinating life cycle, one we all learned in biology, is such a coincidence.  Tom says it’s more of our “safari luck,” which for us is construed as, “Interesting wildlife observations serendipitously becoming available during the most opportune period, as we travel the world.”  

We’ll make every effort to take photos and videos as this life cycle transpires. How convenient that the foam ball is within 15 feet, 4.5 meters of our line of sight! At this point, we are unsure as to what the frogs will look like but it may be similar to the photo of this one (see above photo) that I took last week. Stay tuned for the details as they occur.

In a few hours, we’ll head to Nelspruit (a 75 minute drive each way) to pick up the rental car, do a few errands ending with grocery shopping. Louise and Danie loaned us a giant cooler to take with us today enabling us to shop first and then head to dinner in Malelane. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with details and photos of our “road trip” which most likely will include photos of beautiful scenery and wildlife along the way.

NOTE:  As I’m finishing today’s post, getting ready to upload it, I heard a “plop” into the pool! Some of the eggs have dropped into the pool! At the moment, we can see 100’s of little swirls of water as the minuscule (yet too small for the naked eye to see) tadpoles begin their life cycle. We’ve turned off the pool filter to avoid them getting sucked into the filter and asked Zef, our houseman, not to clean the pool for a few days so we can take videos as they grow, if possible. Amazing!