A lot has happened in the news cycle during my week in Belize, but the Osama Death Photos are still making background noise. Few of us have seen them. Most of us secretly want to. I have them. And as a service to my loyal readers, I will offer them forthwith along with a play by play account of the take-down.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think I meant Osama BIN LADEN? I’m going to tell you of the demise of Osama BIN FROGGEN of the deadly Bullfrog Taliban — a group potentially as invasive, at least in Sonoma, as those guys with headwraps out Pakistan way. Many of you have heard me rail against bullfrogs which were foolishly introduced here in the 1800s by people who wanted a source for frogs legs in fine restaurants. With no natural predators and with a voracious and cannibalistic appetite, bullfrogs are now eating their way through Sonoma’s native amphibians. Even worse, they have the ability to travel up to six miles in a few weeks. So you clean them out of an area and they can come right back.
At our seasonal creek and at Lake Charles, only one man stands between our native Chorus Frogs and the Bullfrog Taliban. That man is John the Baptist. Think of him as a one man SeAL Team Six. John was staying up at the barn babysitting the dogs, which meant there was a new sheriff in town. One who’s packing heat, who hunts by day with a pack of terriers and by night with night-vision goggles. His policy is: take no prisoners. Especially not bullfrogs or turkeys.
On the night of the full moon, John donned his night-vision goggles, picked up his 22 and headed to Lake Charles. He was accompanied by his wife, Sherrie, who was charged with holding the flashlight. In a coordinated pincer movement, John made bullfrog sounds while Sherrie flashed on the light. BAM. The largest bullfrog, Osama Bin Froggen, went down with one clean shot through the eye.
However John took his mission much further than that SeAL Team in Pakistan, returning to the scene of the initial slaughter for several nights and dispatching six more Bull Frogs. For now, Lake Charles is safe for dragonflies, Chorus Frogs, Sticklebacks, even the small birds and snakes that bullfrogs are known to devour.
Which brings me to Miss Kitty. Namely our Mountain Lion, who, until recently, was called Joaquin. But by the light of the moon, John observed this large predator strolling from Lake Charles, down the road past the garage, behind the composting bins and the woodpile and back down the hill to the seasonal creek. With the ability to take a good long look, John has declared that Joaquin is actually a female. This squares with an earlier sighting where the Mountain Lion was seen by John and Louis chasing a deer accompanied by a smaller lion. Since Mountain Lions are generally solitary and territorial, the only cat that would hunt with a smaller lion would be a mother.
Which brings me back to that Bullfrog Taliban. While bullfrogs have no real natural predators out here (besides John when armed with a 22, night-vision goggles and a pack of terriers), we can expect the Bullfrog Taliban to reform under a new leader, an al-Frogwahiri as it were. Unless we can find a predator. If anyone is top of the food chain here besides John the Baptist, it’s got to be Miss Kitty. So far she has been a good neighbor abiding by our unwritten truce agreement: we don’t foolishly go out wandering around in her territory during her hunting hours and she doesn’t come out in the day and kill us or the dogs.
I think there is room to work together here. Wonder if Miss Kitty could develop a taste for frog’s legs?