A few nights ago, as I was lying in bed lulled by the sounds of the night and the rain gently dripping from the trees, I became aware of a new sound coming from the direction of the frog pond. I wasn’t really expecting to hear another new frog this late in the season, and the thought of leaving my bed and mounting a pond expedition was not exactly appealing … but it did sound almost frog-like, so from the comfort of my bed, I consulted the Frog App on my iPhone, and there it was, right at the end of the list …. a Whirring Tree Frog!!
Blast, now a nocturnal expedition was unavoidable !!
Getting a photo of this frog proved to be quite difficult since my pond is now so overgrown and frog-friendly that it’s not really human-friendly any more. Add to this a recent sighting of a very pretty yellow and blue tree-snake, and the idea of wading to the other side of the pond in the dark with a torch and a camera was a bit daunting. But finally, on the third night, a co-operative frog positioned himself in an accessible spot and I was able to take a photo. Unfortunately this frog is really shy and went quiet every time I tried to sneak up to take a video. This is the best I can do – a view of one of my ponds, with Whirring Tree Frogs calling nearby, and a very quiet Whirring Tree Frog in the rain. Turn up your sound to get the full effect, and that’s frog species number eight in case you’ve lost count !!
Last night Bellinger Landcare ran a field evening for frogaholics … and I discovered that I am definitely not the only lunatic in the valley !!
After a facts, photos and frog calls briefing by local ecologist and frog enthusiast Brian Hawkins, we disinfected our boots (to avoid spreading the deadly Chytridiomycosis virus) and ventured up to Tamarind Drive in North Bellingen to track down some local frogs. If you didn’t know what we were doing, you’d swear we were discovering gold nuggets the way we carried on when we spotted a frog. I’m amazed that they didn’t all panic and hop away. But they didn’t, and we recorded eight different frog calls, including the endangered Giant Barred Frog.
Not bad for a small stream and lagoon system right in the middle of town. It seems that the Bellinger Valley is the second most frog diverse spot in Australia, with over 30 species and a relatively stable population. This all bodes well for the future of my frog pond…
This frog hiatus idea is not really working is it ?
Since I first thought I heard him calling in the rain two months ago, I’ve made a few attempts to simulate a tropical downpour (stop laughing!!). But you can’t fool a frog, especially when he comes from the precipitous North. Only a genuine tropical downpour will do. And finally, last night, following a week of oppressively hot and humid days, we had a spectacular thunderstorm followed by heavy rain.
His call was hard to distinguish from the calls of SIX other species, but I was pretty sure it was him. So out into the rain I went, and now I have it … a confirmed sighting of a Dainty Tree Frog, also known as a Banana Frog for its habit of stowing away in boxes of bananas transported south from Queensland. This apparently happens so often that there is a Lost Frogs Home set up to rescue shivering frogs who have been accidentally relocated South.
So … I’m thinking that SEVEN species of frogs in one pond is probably the maximum that I could reasonably expect ???
Yes I know … I promised not to mention the “F” word for a while. But last night after a week of hot humid days, it finally rained and there was once again pondemonium. So I couldn’t resist a nocturnal photographic expedition …
Unfortunately my camera battery gave out mid-way so I had to rush back into the house to get my iPhone – which took an suprisingly good photo of what is probably an immature Dwarf Green Tree Frog. It is sitting on a blade of grass, which gives you an idea of just how tiny it is. My first baby sighting – very exciting!
As usual the Common Green (Dunny) Frogs were at it again. They obviously don’t understand the meaning of “ornamental” because this morning I had to relocate a bucket load of frog spawn from an ornamental pond to a more suitable location.
There’s frog spawn in the big pond, in the overflow pond, in the ornamental pond near my front door and now in what was intended to be a bird bath.
I wonder if this is getting slightly out of control ??????