Saturday, March 9, 2013

Frogging at my Property at Coles Creek with a Friend

Last Saturday night I invited one of my friends over to do some frogging around the property. I thought that it would be a good night for it as many species had ben seen in the few weeks prior and she has never seen many of the species here, even though she only lives 20 km away.

We had quite a lot of rain throughout the day so all the creeks had come up higher again but as long as it wasn't raining more of the species would be out. I rang her just after dark when it stopped raining as it looked like we had a few hours until the next rain was coming through.

As soon as she arrived we went to have a look for the Wilcox's Frog. We only saw a few tonight but at least she got to see them. In this same area we heard some of the unidentified toadlets or froglets calling out, along with many Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs, Striped Marsh Frogs and some Striped Rocket Frogs. We located some of each of these in the area too.

One of the few Wilcox's Frogs that were seen tonight

The next 3 photos show the only place on the property where Wilcox's Frogs are found. This is a small area. What makes this habitat so different from the rest of the property is the hard soil beside the floodway and the small rocks on the edge of the dam, also this water runs through here for a few months during the wet season whereas the majority of the rest of the property the water is still once the flooding recedes.

This is a floodway between two dams with running water

The same habitat from the other side of the floodway

Most of the Wilcox's Frogs are found on the small rocks on this dam wall
Just after we saw the Wilcox's Frogs the torch battery started going flat, so we quickly went back to the house to get a new battery. On the way back out of the house we noticed a Keferstein's Tree Frog on the lawn. They are seen here fairly often but more often they can be seen near or on the shed or house. We didn't spend much time looking for any more or trying to get a great shot as this was one species my friend had seen before.

Keferstein's Tree Frog
The next 3 pictures are of the main dam close to the house. In this area Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs are the most common along with Striped Rocket Frogs along the banks. Occasionally I will see Red Tree Frogs and Keferstein's Tree Frogs down here also. During the lead up to the wet season Peron's Tree Frogs move from their breeding area and can be seen in this area as all other water on the property except one creek which is quite a distance from here has dried up.

Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs are regulars on these water plants

After flooding this area stays like this for weeks which attracts Striped Rocket Frogs in particular

The Rocket Frogs gather in their hundreds in this area each night
While we were walking around hundreds of Dainty Tree Frogs could be heard. As these are quite common in the whole area and we were running short on time we decided to go have a look for the Peron's and Tyler's Tree Frogs as we could hear a few calling out earlier. I was concerned that this creek may have risen too much to be able to cross safely with all the rain during the day. Luckily it hadn't come up much at all. To get to both of these frogs you need to go to the trees in the creek. The water was up just past my groin and my friend is a lot shorter than me so it was up to her belly button nearly. We did find both frogs but it wasn't as suitable tonight as they often don't call out while it is actually raining and it started raining just as we got to their area. Luckily it stopped within 5 minutes and a few started to call out so we could locate them. I was surprised to see that each of the frogs I located tonight were in the same trees as they were earlier on in the week.
Peron's Tree Frog
Tyler's Tree Frog

The next 2 photos are the habitat where the Tyler's Tree Frogs and the Peron's Tree Frogs are found. On occasions they can be heard in other locations on the property but this area has many of each species here. This habitat is different from other places on the property as there are bushy trees that are in the water with branches that are low and close to the water. Most of the other creeks and dams only have trees on the banks, some of which overhang the water.

More Tyler's Tree Frogs are found in this section

More Peron's Tree Frogs are found in this section

Next we headed off towards the Great Barred Frogs which we could hear calling out from down the property. On the way I heard several Tusked Frogs calling out. We decided to go have a look. I told my friend that we most likely wouldn't see them, which we didn't but we did get to hear several calling out. The creeks where they are found had risen a few meters since the other day so we didn't even bother trying to photograph them.

The next 2 photos show the places where the Tusked Frogs can be heard calling out at the moment. All the habitat photos were taken 7 days later and the water has dropped significantly, especially in this creek. Within the week it may be possible to have a good look for them as the water may be shallow enough, if it doesn't rain much. The water in these photos looks deceptively shallow. I pushed one leg into the water on the right and it is full of rotting leaf litter and small sticks and I went up to my groin! I learnt my lesson the other week going into these areas. This habitat differs from other areas of the property as the sticks, branches, logs and leaf and grass litter build up in deep water making it into a sludge.

This is the main habitat area of the Tusked Frogs at the start of the creek
The Tusked Frogs are found at the other end of the creek also
We saw several Great Barred Frogs just on the edge of their habitat but we could hear dozens of others further in the bush. We both got some great photos of the first few that my friend spotted so we didn't bother looking for the others as we knew it could start raining soon and we wanted to check out the flooded front paddocks.
Great Barred Frog

The next 3 photos are of the original habitat of the Great Barred Frogs. The other area where they are now found looks identical to this. This habitat is different from other parts of the property as all the grass is very short due to the types of ground cover that grow in this area. In this area many types of ferns grow also. There is also a lot of leaf litter around this area and in some places the leaf litter can reach 30 cm deep. Also the banks of this creek are very steep and there is always water in this creek and the creek in the other area all year round.

Males are heard calling here most nights during the wet season

The water level is quite a lot lower than the top of the bank

The short ground cover is ideal for the Great Barred Frogs
Next we went out to the front paddocks. This is an area of about 15 acres. The whole area was under water. In one of the paddocks it was only about ankle deep, where we heard many hundreds of Dainty Tree Frogs. Even though we saw many we didn't get any decent shots due to the length of the grass here at the moment. The sound of them was deafening for a short period. I was surprised to see so many out the front. They are often seen out there but not in those numbers, and they are not usually as active when it isn't actually raining. Maybe they knew something we didn't. It was just about to start raining again!!

As quickly as we could we waded through the water which started getting deeper. The second paddock at the front of the property had water ranging from knee deep to groin depth. We heard hundreds of Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs here as usual and Common Froglets could also be heard in large numbers. We found many of each species too. Many Striped Rocket Frogs and Striped Marsh Frogs could also be heard. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily so we had to retreat to the house and we missed out on getting many photos of the frogs in the front paddocks.

A good nights frogging overall and my friend had a great time, at least with seeing different species of frogs that she hadn't seen before. After 2 1/2 hours of walking around wading through deep water and getting rained on a few times we were both quite cold. It was great to have someone else out frogging with me enjoying the beautiful frogs that Australia has to offer!

Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog

Another Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog

The Common Froglet just after calling from his post
This is one of the front paddocks a week after the heavy rain

The water here is still between 30 and 60 cm deep

The water stays here like this for a few months until it dries up

Thousands of tadpoles can be seen in here at the moment

The Common Froglet mainly stays close to the edge of the tree line

This whole paddock has a thick layer of rotting leaves beneath the water

Striped Marsh Frogs can be seen basically anywhere on the property on land or shallow water. The photo below shows one of the areas where they are more densely populated than the rest of the property. They are heard calling in massive numbers which becomes deafening at times from the small clumps of leaves and sticks at the base of the trees.

Main habitat for the Striped Marsh Frogs
Hopefully in the next week I will be able to get into the area where the Tusked Frogs are found and I will be able to put up a new post.

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