Marloth Park, five years ago today…The wonders never cease, then and now…It rained and cooled down!…”Little”…what a cool guy!..

Yesterday, it was horribly hot at 42C, 108F and “Little” needed to cool off.  The water in the cement pond was most likely hot as well but cooler than the air temperature.  It was only after it had cooled down that he lumbered out of the pool and then, only then, was he looking for a good meal.  We complied with pellets, ice cold dice carrots, and diced apples.  He took one last dunk before he left for the evening.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Closeup of “Little” cooling off in the cement pond.  During the worst part of yesterday’s unrelenting heat, he stopped by, not for food but to sleep in the cement pond for over three hours!!!

As mentioned in an earlier post, with it now nearly impossible for us to do our daily drives in Marloth Park with the roads blocked with holidaymaker’s vehicles, considerably less wildlife in the garden and our unwillingness to deal with the crowds and long waits to get inside Kruger National Park, we’ll be reiterating a number of our past posts from five years ago.

There will continue to be new relevant content and we’re not “copying and pasting” entire posts, only photos and a small amount of content.  Through the busy holiday season, we’ll be sharing new photos from several of our planned social activities as outlined in yesterday’s post here.
Treefrog nest made overnight over the pool by a female frog.  

Five years ago is a long time.  We lived in Marloth Park from December 2, 2013, to February 28, 2014, for a total of 88 days.  Many of our more recent readers may have not read the past posts nor have they seen the photos included therein.

Subsequently, over the almost three weeks until things get back to normal in Marloth Park, as mentioned earlier, we’ll be incorporating some of the stunning experiences we had five years ago.
I’d taken this photo while sitting at the outdoor table of the Hornbill property where Gerhard and Rita have been living recently.  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 kept a watchful eye as the life cycle of the tree frog eventually unrolled before our eyes.

By the time we leave here on February 15, 2019, we’ll have spent a total of 15 months of our total 76 months of our world travels, right here in Marloth Park. (The exception is the total two weeks we spent in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana).  As a result, we’ll have spent almost 20% of our entire travel time in South Africa.

At this point, we have no desire or intention of spending so much time in one location.  But, this time here was special and we don’t regret one moment of it.  It’s been a memorable and extraordinary experience, one we’ll always treasure.

For the sake of our many worldwide readers who may follow us off and on or consistently, few will recall what we shared five years ago.  Thus, we hope that which we include over these next three weeks (not every day) will be fresh and new information. 
Many male treefrogs mounted the nest to fertilize it.  What a sight to behold!

If you’ve followed us from the beginning and possess a keen sense of recall, we apologize for any redundancy. But, also keep in mind, we’ll be sharing considerable new information as well and you may want to check each day to see “what’s new.”

As for the balance of today’s post which information and photos we gathered from the posts of December 20, 2013, and December 29, 2013, we excitedly share these photos, the video and the statement below directly from those posts.  Please click the above-dated links if you like to read those posts in their entirety.

Male treefrogs fertilizing the foam nest.  Here’s the video we’d taken in December 2013.

It was the sudden overnight appearance, of a foam treefrog nest, hanging over the swimming pool in the Hornbill house, where we lived on December 20, 2013 (the same house where friends Rita and Gerhard have been living), that precipitated the story, the photos and the included video.  Nine days later the tiny tadpoles began to drop from the nest into the pool below.

From that post:

“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 treefrogs? 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.”

As it turned out, we did have an opportunity to see the treefrog nest process unfold before our eyes, shared in the above two dated posts.  What a fantastic experience!

An hour later, they started climbing off the foam nest which appeared to have been well fertilized!
When we first arrived in Marloth Park in February 2018, we had the opportunity to see a treefrog nest suddenly appear overnight.  However, the story wasn’t quite as significant as it had been five years ago. On February 26, 2018, we posted the story of the recent nest.

Now, with both a tiny male and a huge female treefrog occupying the light fixture on the veranda, we anticipate we may actually get to see this one more time.  Many people who’ve lived in Marloth Park for years have yet to see a treefrog nest.  More “safari luck” we assume.

In any case, we don’t anticipate a lot of “safari luck” over the next few weeks but look forward to January 9th, when the long holiday season comes to an end and Marloth Park will return to its place of wonder, peacefulness and quiet with wildlife visiting and freely wandering this magical place.

Last night it rained throughout the night and today, although quite humid, it is considerably cooler.  What a welcome relief for the wildlife and for us to finally cool off a bit!
Enjoy this day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2017:

One year ago today, we participated in a tour of the ship’s bridge.  There were dozens of pieces of equipment for the staff to monitor 24-hours a day.  For more details, please click here.

The Tree Frog mating saga continues!…An unbelievable sighting…Videos…Photos…Please scroll to the end…

Yesterday morning, after getting comfortably situated on the veranda, coffee in hand, we were stunned as we noticed a new white foam ball on the tree above the pool, a few limbs from the now dissipating former white foam ball, that apparently failed to produce live offspring, much to our disappointment.

The following photos are shown in progression as they occurred beginning at 7:58 am, Saturday morning.

Look carefully to see the first foam nest on the left, and the new foam nest on the right.

Excited to see this again, (click here to see our prior post on December 20th when we discovered the first white foam ball) I grabbed the camera trying to get as close as possible as we positioned ourselves on the edges of the pool. Before our eyes, the foam nest was being made as we watched it grow, totally in awe of this miracle of life. 

This must have been one of the Tree Frogs that fell off of the small branch supporting the white foam nest into the pool, quickly working his way up the pool and then the tree, seemingly in a hurry to join in on the mating activities.

“Give me a minute to catch my breath!  I’m on my way!”

“Almost there!”

At the same time, we’d noticed a frog on the edge of the pool, making its way up out of the water, jumping in the tree, and quickly climbing to the nest. Within a matter of a few minutes, the nest was covered with Tree Frogs, no less than five males participating! It could have been more than the five, but their camouflage like appearance makes it difficult to see.

“Hey, you guys, let me get my spot!”
“Now we’re talking! Foam me up, Scotty!”
From what we’ve read, multiple males participate in the fertilization of the one female after she “manufactures” the white foam nest. The female lays the eggs inside the nest to protect them. At that point, the males climb on and the mating began, during which time we made these videos as we’ve shown here today.
An hour later, they started climbing off the foam nest, which appeared to have been well fertilized!

With the mating process of the African Tree Frog lasting only a matter of minutes, it is indeed miraculous that we happened to be outside at precisely the correct time to witness the entire event from the veranda.  

Another amazing video of the tree frogs fertilizing the foam nest.

Good grief.  May I say this yet another time?  “Safari luck” once again kicked in. Will this batch of tadpoles survive? We don’t know. Most likely they won’t, with the chlorine in the pool plus the use of the pool filter, which we can’t turn off for the week it will take for them to mature. The pool could turn to green slime in a week’s time. After all, this isn’t “our” house.

So, we’ll wait and see what transpires once again and of course, report any results here. And, if we get lucky and mama tree frog gets lucky, her babies will survive, and her two attempts will not have been in vain.

Ah, nature, what a treasure! Keep it comin‘!

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!