More Frogging at Wellard

It was going to be another wet, cold night – so perfect to get out looking for frogs.  I tried to arrange 2 of my brothers to join but only Leif could make it – Joel said he was too tired!  Leif wanted to see Slender Tree Frogs and I was keen to try Wellard Wetlands again as I hadn’t seen the Squelching Froglets the first time I came here.

We headed out to the aptly named Frog Pond at the wetlands and could immediately hear the chorus of Slender Tree Frogs and Squelching Froglets which I made a recording of.

The water level was up so all the grass that was dry last time had water underneath it.  This made spotting the frogs much harder as they had that much more cover.  We looked for some time – my previous experience not really helping.  Leif found the first frog  after maybe 30 minutes or so – a Slender Tree Frog (Litoria adelaidensis) – which slipped away as I came for a closer look.  It came back out of hiding a while later.

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We had heard other Slenders calling in the grass and taking a look we found this Spider (Wolf I think?) taking its whole family of spiderlings for a walk – amazing sight!

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I then got lucky and saw a flash of movement in the pond – another species – a Squelching Froglet! I got a photo in the pond and then moved it for better shots. A pretty small frog only about 2cm long and really makes a noisy call!

Leif found another Slender which we were able to relocate for some better photos.

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I really like the pose the Slender is working

And then we called it a night – success – Slenders for Leif and I had finally found the Squelching.  That’s 3 Criniaspecies and 2 Litoria in a couple of months.

 

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Frogging for Slender Tree Frogs

I went out on Sun 12 June out with my new buddy I had met through a mutual contact from mammalwatching.com (a great site for all things mammals).  It was good night for frogging in the west – cold and wet – luckily it started to dry up as we parked up.

He had asked if I wanted to see Slender Tree Frogs (Litoria adelaidensis)  at Alcoa Wellard Wetlands – old tailing dams that have been converted into a wetland – a great place for birding by day and frogging by night!  I was keen and the weather was bad just like we needed it to be!  We parked at the Bertenshaw Rd carpark, just off St Albans Rd, Wellard – just outside the main entrance to the wetlands.

I pulled on my wellies but my buddy had waders – this was a sign things were going to be wet!

We walked in and almost straight away saw a motorbike frog just sitting on the path.  I didn’t get a photo as I had seen such a nice one the week before.

We headed down to one of the shallow ponds and could hear frogs really calling (follow the link to hear my SoundCloud recording).  You could hear the harsh ‘Grrrrrrk’ of the Slender Tree Frog and the “OOoo EEee” of the Squelching Froglets (Crinia insignifera) (it reminded me if the cricket chant “OOoo Ahh……  Glenn McGrath”).

I wasn’t initially able to to spot the frogs but you could hear them calling all over – in true style they sensibly stopped when you got close and the light affected them.  My buddy found a slender tree frog and helped to point out how they hang out hidden in the reeds with just their head out of the water calling for a girl to hookup with!

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Found insitu – hidden among the reeds

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Caught and moved for a better photo – not happy!

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Shame I didn’t have the eye in focus here but the skin detail on the flank amazing!

Once I had my eye in I was able to find one for myself.  Almost impossible to see by the casual observer – also if you moved in the water too quickly they would disappear under.  The pond wasn’t too deep for my wellies but waders will be needed for anything deeper or muddier!

I looked all over trying to find the Squelching Froglets – they are pretty small (only getting to 2.5cm) and call from the shallow water – I am sure they were among the submerged grass and impossible to spot – I just need to keep trying 🙂

We tried another pond that was just a muddy surface and then called it a night.

On the way home I spotted a Barn Owl in the car headlights sitting on a fence post.  I saw it driving and turned back for confirmation.  It was beautiful, staring right at me before flying off silently before I could get the camera out.

A great night with a new species photographed and another call recorded!

 

Frogging at Lesmurdie Falls

My trusty brother and I went out last night (06/06/2016) in the pouring rain, fog and cold – good frogging weather! We were hoping to see Hooting Frog (Heleioporus barycragus) – I had heard they had been calling in the area.

Just heading down the path we found a nice large Motorbike frog (Litoria moorei) enjoying the weather – while we looked like drowned rats!  We left the proper camera in the car so I apologise about some of the phone camera shots.

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Motorbike frog (Litoria moorei)

We headed onto some little goat tracks, crossed the stream and then promptly got lost!  We could hear Quacking Frog (Crinia georgiana) but always off the track and also went quiet – much like our experience a couple of weeks before at Whistlepipe Gully.  We walked all the way to the bottom car park and then returned via the official track.  On the way we spotted this gnarly spider out hunting – or maybe looking somewhere dry!  Not sure what it is but had huge front fangs.

We also spotted this little flower which was braving the weather as well – maybe not as impressive during the day but looked pretty cool under torchlight.

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Some nice views of the city from the waterfall lookout.

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The city lights

My brother had said he wanted to see one more frog and he would be happy.  We hadn’t heard any of the deep calls from the Hooting frog – so that had been a dip.  Just before we got back to the car park I spotted a tiny grey frog in the middle of the concrete path – after a closer look we called it a Quacking frog – due to the red markings on the thighs – we noted it had smaller forearms than the one from Whistlepipe gully – so we called it a female as they don’t have to do the WWF wrestling that the fellas get up to at mating season.

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Quacking Frog – red on the thigh can just be spotted.

All in all a good night – very wet – but made good by a warming dram of whisky and choc before heading back home.

Looking for Rakali – dip

On wednesday night 1 June 2016 I went out looking for Rakali (formerly known as a Water Rat – a native rodent Hydromys chrysogaster).  On the west coast they tend to be harder to see than on the east coast and are more nocturnal.  They can get over 1kg & 30cm long and are semi-aquatic with webbed feet.  They are larger than the introduced black & brown rat, paler on the underneath and have a distinct white tip on their tail.  Indications of their presence can be found; webbed footprints and feeding middens (they often will feed on the same platform and the shells, etc build up over time.  All this I know only from research – I am still yet to see one and this night was a chance.  It was a pretty cold, clear evening in early June at about 8pm – perhaps not the best conditions.

I had been given advice from citizen science surveys that one of the most frequent sightings of Rakali are made on the Canning River near Doric St, Shelley, Perth (follow the link for the report).

I walked up and down the river – using my headtorch to look in the reeds, out into the water and on the little beaches.  I heard plenty of noises but I think they were just birds playing with me.  I heard some rustles in the reeds and splashing but couldn’t determine they weren’t fish.

I looked for about 2 and half hours with no luck this time – to use a bird twitching term – dip!  I will just have to keep at it.  I saw a couple of birds roosting in the trees and saw a few roosting in shallow sections of the river.