Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Frogging Around My Property: 19 Species Recorded in a Few Hours

Last Saturday Jono, the creator of the frog blog, Frogging Around (http://froggingaround.com/blog) and one of his mates came to my place for a visit. He has been here before but not during the peak of the wet. After all the rain he thought it would be a great opportunity to see what my property really had to offer in terms of frog species. To be honest I think he was even a little sceptical about the number of species that I claimed to have on my property. I was hoping to at least see and hear the same number of species as I did a few nights prior. They arrived here around 6:30. It hadn't rained for nearly 2 days so I was hoping that all the frogs would be as active. There was still heaps of water around so I was confident that we would see numerous species.

We started off on the veranda where the Roth's Tree Frogs have been residing. Not as many were present tonight but we still got to see them.

One of the pale coloured Roth's Tree Frogs

One of the darker coloured Roth's Tree Frogs

There were also a few Green Tree Frogs on each veranda. I didn't bother getting any pictures of them tonight. As we made our way down to the main dams not far from the house Eastern Sign-bearing Froglets could be heard as well as many Striped Rocket Frogs, Striped Marsh Frogs and Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs. Several Red Tree Frogs were also heard in this area.

Striped Rocket Frog

One of the many Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs

Striped Marsh Frog

As we moved around to another dam I was hoping that the rocket frogs that I could hear were the Broad-palmed Rocket Frogs but none were sighted again tonight. We spotted one lone male Wilcox's Frog in the area where they are most common. As I went to obtain a photo he jumped into the long grass. This male was quite dark compared to most photos I have of them as their breeding season is nearly finished. More Wilcox's Frogs may have been present but we didn't really spend much time looking as we had both seen heaps of them before. We were looking for a few species in particular!

As we came around to the next major waterway we heard several Peron's Tree Frogs, a couple of Tyler's Tree Frogs, some Red Tree Frogs and heaps of Striped Marsh Frogs. One Peron's Tree Frog was reasonably close to the bank on a stick in the water. Due to the angle of the bank I wasn't able to get a good shot of him. The Peron's Tree Frog, also known as the Emerald Spotted Tree Frog is another one of my favourite frogs on the property, so I couldn't pass up a photo opportunity!

Peron's Tree Frog

The same Peron's Tree Frog from above

Below is a picture of one of the many Red Tree Frogs that were heard. They were even more vocal tonight than the other night. It's great to see that they are breeding in the natural habitats this year. We were hoping that this was a Bleating Tree Frog or as I usually call them Keferstein's Tree Frog. They look so similar on my property and in general they can look very similar. The only way to be absolutely certain is to play their call. Even their call is very similar. The Keferstein's Tree Frogs call is a higher pitched and slightly quicker. Visually the Keferstein's Tree Frog usually has a darker marking on its back.

Red Tree Frog

This is a recording of the advertising calls of several frogs. The Tyler's Tree Frogs is the laughing sound in the background that occurs regularly throughout the recording. Some Red Tree Frogs call out in the foreground at the start of the recording and then again in small bursts at the end. The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs and Striped Marsh Frogs call out continually throughout the recording. The Striped Marsh Frogs is the clicking type sound throughout the recording.

This Eastern Small-eyed Snake was a bit of a surprise. Jono's friend nearly stepped on this snake but stepped straight over the top of it. Luckily it wasn't me that nearly stood on it as I was only wearing thongs! Luckily it didn't bite any of us as it was quite aggressive!

An Eastern Small-eyed Snake

Several Great Barred Frogs were seen in their usual place. Many others were heard as well. I was very surprised as most of the ones that we sighted were quite small. I have never seen them that small since I have lived here. This is good though, as it means that they have been breeding. They were most likely juveniles from last years breeding season. They were probably less than five centimetres long.

Great Barred Frog

We were lucky enough to sight a pair in amplexus just near the bank. I was lucky as I was the only one that obtained a photo. In this area we heard the first Tusked Frog for the night. This male was guarding a foam nest in a burrow in the bank of the creek. Due to the position of the burrow I wasn't able to get a photo. They can easily number hundreds but usually not until the water level in the creeks start to drop significantly.

A pair of Great Barred Frogs in amplexus

This is a recording of the advertising call of a few Great Barred Frogs. Several Striped Marsh Frogs can be heard in the background throughout the entire recording.

As we made our way towards the front paddocks where the flood waters were sitting, we saw many Striped Marsh Frogs of varying sizes. A few Spotted Marsh Frogs were also sighted. Most were calling from beneath the ground and from their burrows.

This is a recording of several Spotted Marsh Frogs performing their advertising call from beneath the ground and in their burrows.

I was surprised when Jono spotted this Large Toadlet. These are also known as Major Toadlets. Usually they are very difficult to find as they call from beneath the ground or under deep leaf litter and I have found they are more active once the majority of the floodwater has resided. They can be extremely variable in colour from this bright red back with bluish sides to a dark brown or even grey back to grey or nearly white sides. The orange or yellow mark on the upper arms is one of the distinguishing features along with the darker makings along the longitudinal ridges along its back.

The only Large Toadlet sighted for the night

View of the Large Toadlet from above (notice the dark longitudinal ridges)

We heard a few Ornate Burrowing Frogs calling from the longer grass in the flooded paddock. This specimen was out in the open. This was the first time I have seen them in the water in the calling position. This frog also varies greatly in colour from one area to another and even within a small area. I have several colour variations on my property alone.

Ornate Burrowing Frog

Within the same area we also heard numerous Northern Banjo Frogs. I have only ever seen one individual on the property since I have lived here so it was nice to see that the population of these frogs has increased significantly over the last two years. I was surprised to see that some of them were calling from quite high in the reeds, about 20 to 30 centimetres out of the water. At any other location around Australia that I have seen and heard them calling, they were actually sitting in the water. These frogs are also known as Scarlet-sided Pobblebonks.

Northern Banjo Frog

This is a recording taken in the front paddock. You can here the advertising calls of several frogs. The main calls are the Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet and the Striped Rocket Frogs which can be heard continually for the entire recording. The Northern Banjo Frog can be heard throughout the recording also. It is the deeper call that sounds like a "bonk" sound, that is a single note.

We heard a few Common Froglets in the front paddock but they were few in number and they were not calling continually like they normally do. As mentioned in the last post they can change significantly in numbers with the seasons. They seem to like the cooler weather generally. I heard one calling from beneath a tree and I found two specimens of frogs under this tree. I didn't see either of them calling. I am quite sure that the frog below is a Common Froglet. They can be difficult to identify due to the great variation in colour, patterning and texture. I have seen many Common Froglets that I have identified on the property as I have located them calling. The advertising call is the most reliable way to identify them as they perform a repeated clicking sound. This specimen below is extremely similar to all the other Common Froglets that I have identified here over the last few years.

Common Froglet

This next photo is the other frog that was found beneath the tree with the presumed Common Froglet above. This appears to be an Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet. They could be heard calling in very large numbers across the entire paddock. We were having real difficulty in locating them though. We did not see this frog calling either but one could be heard calling from beneath the tree as well. This specimen looks slightly different from other Eastern Sign-bearing Froglets that I have positively identified on the property. This species of frog can be very hard to distinguish from several species due to the potential differences in colour, patterning and texture also. I heard no other frogs calling from within the area and no other frogs were sighted so I assume this is a Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet, as it has many characteristics similar to other specimens.

Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet, side view

Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet from above

Just before Jono and his friend left we decided to go back to where I heard the Verreaux's Tree Frog several months back and where I heard it a few days before. We heard it do a part call but it didn't continue to call. It was in an area of long grass so it wasn't worth digging through hoping to find it as it stopped calling. We didn't want to go in without having a more precise location so we didn't stand on it. I played the Keferstein's Tree Frog call to ensure that the frogs we could hear were definitely Red Tree Frogs. I find this the best way to ensure which call I am listening to by comparing the advertising call with one I can hear with a recording. The frogs we could hear were Red Tree Frogs. Much to our surprise, the main frog that Jono was hoping to see called out. It was the
Keferstein's Tree Frog. It responded to the Keferstein's Tree Frog call that I played!!

The Keferstein's Tree Frogs look very similar to the Desert Tree Frog but the Keferstein's Tree Frog has the darker markings on its back, even if they are extremely faint. This individual's markings were quite obvious compared to some others I have seen on the property.

Keferstein's Tree Frog

The markings on the back of this Keferstein's Tree Frog were obvious

Another specimen of the numerous Striped Marsh Frogs that were sighted all around the property. Definitely the most common frog of the night. They would number in the thousands across the entire 45 acre property.

Striped Marsh Frog

After Jono left I decided I would walk across to the little island in the middle of the creeks where the Tyler's Tree Frogs and the Peron's Tree Frogs call from and breed. I was wanting to get a photo of the Tyler's Tree Frog for the season. I found them but they were high up in the tree. I only had my close up lens on my camera so this is the best photo I could manage. I will have to try and get a better photo of them in the coming weeks.

Tyler's Tree Frog four metres up the tree

While I was walking back towards the shallow part of the creek to cross back, this Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet was calling from a piece of bark that was floating on the water's edge. This specimen is what the typical Eastern Sign-bearing Froglets look like on my property. I can say definitively that this is an Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet as I saw it calling.

Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet from above

Side view of the same Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet

This is the most species that I have found in a given night on the property, or anywhere for that matter, anywhere I have travelled around Australia. All of these species have been recorded here before but I have not seen them all on one night, or even within a week. I am extremely lucky to be able to see and/or hear 19 species in a few hours, within my own backyard. This is why I am pleased that I was able to purchase the property a few months ago to help protect it and continue to improve it over the coming years for a variety of wildlife.

More pics and updates when more frogs are photographed and recorded.


  1. I forgot to mention on the forum that the snake is an Eastern Small-eyed Snake not a young Red-bellied Black.

  2. Thanks Aaron. I like all my information to be as accurate as possible. I've had a few people correct me on that one. I was told they are very similar in appearance to a juvenile Red-bellied Black Snake. I assumed it was a juvenile Red-bellied Black as we have heaps of adults around all the waterways on the property. The fact it lacked the bright red on the belly is what made me think it must have been a juvenile Red-bellied Black Snake. By being an Eastern Small-eyed Snake it just adds another species to the list that I have sighted on the property.

  3. Incredible! You really have something special there literally on your back door step. I look forward to seeing more updates soon.

  4. It is definitely a unique property here!! It has many habitats on the one property so I get a large variety of fauna, especially frogs. Being in an area where it floods for long periods, it is great for the frogs, waterbirds and many other animals. The flooding doesn't effect the house and access so it works out perfectly for everything. Hopefully it was enough water for long enough to allow enough new frogs to develop as within a few weeks most of the "summer frogs" had stopped calling. I noticed a decline in numbers of many species during the limited wet this year, most likely due to the severe drought prior.