Exploring Ferguson Valley

My family took a short farmstay in Ferguson Valley in the aptly named Ferguson Farmstay.  We wanted to do something special for Liam my 2 year old – just before his baby sister arrives in Oct.  He loves animals and is an up and coming twitcher – he can identify 7-8 different birds but everything black and white is a Magpie.  It makes me pretty proud when he points and says IBIS!

Liam had a great time with the animals and experienced a little of the farm life.

I managed to get out a couple of nights.  The first night I went spotlighting around the farm – they said there was some wildlife around but it was a cold, wet night – perfect for frogs but not really appealing for mammals.  I heard heaps of Quacking Frogs with the odd Clicking Frog as well.

It took me a little while to find them but they were hiding in a roadside ditch right next to the farm!  I think the top left image might be a Clicking Froglet but I didn’t get a shot of its belly to tell it apart from the Quackers..

I found heaps of frogs that night – most of them where near  where the farm leaves a lot of junk and machinery – not entirely pristine frog habitat!

On the middle day I had a great time watching a Nankeen Kestrel soaring over the valley below our shallow – later I saw a Black-shouldered Kite but wasn’t able to get a shot.  I was pleased with the kestrel!

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On the 3rd night I went into the start of Wellington National Park just near the parking for the Mt Leonard Mountain biking.

I managed to spot a nice brushtail possum.

I also saw 3 Western Grey Kangaroos but they were too far off to get a decent shot.  I also spotted this motorbike frog with just eyeshine.

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On getting towards the end I saw another possum that I managed to get a little closer to before it went high into the tree.

I then left did some more frog recordings where there must have been water on private land – this was from the road.

I finally then looked for more frogs at the farmstay.

On the last day we had a little visitor to our chalet outdoor area – a Welcome Swallow (though not that welcomed here!) – ignoring the fake kite that was meant to scare them away!

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All in all a great few days away – next time I will have to put in some more research into where in the national park to go – the mountain bike trail was right at the edge of the NP and probably had fewer animals than somewhere deeper in.

 

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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.

Frogging – the Quacking Frog

On a wet saturday night in late May I persuaded my brother to come out in the cold and wet and look for frogs – the clincher was a promise of whisky after to warm up!

I had been at a WA Naturalists talk by WA Museum‘s Paul Doughty – Curator of Herpetology.  He inspired me to get out when it is cold and wet as that in when you find frogs in the South-West of WA – frogging in a beanie I recall him mentioning!

He had said there had been Hooting Frog Heleioporus barycragus heard at Lesmurdie falls recewntly so I thought we might head to a spot nearby – Whistlepipe Gully – at the end of Lewis Rd. Forrestfield (just off Welshpool Rd).

As we arrived we could hear Quacking Frogs Crinia georgiana – but they all went quiet as we moved towards them.  Unperturbed we walked alongside the stream thinking we heard Hooting Frog higher into the bush areas.  No frogs were seen – despite lots of looking and waiting patiently in the dark – the frogs are sneakier than us amateur froggers!

At one point we knew why the frogs were quiet – a Tawny Frogmouth had flown in and was checking out a late night supper.

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Blurry Shot of a Tawny Frogmouth

We kept at it for about an hour and a half in quite a lot of rain – it kept happening – we heard frogs and as we approached they shut up and we couldn’t spot them – our technique needs some serious refining.  I was trying out my new headtorch – Led Lenser H14.2 – it worked really well.

At this point the whisky was sounding pretty good as it had been raining much of the time.  We jumped into the car and my eagle eyed brother spotted something in the car headlights – definitely hopping.  We investigated and found a Quacking Frog – yes one of the ones we had been trying to find all this time!  Photos taken then back to the car for a warming whisky!  Successful night – no Hooting Frog but yes to Quacking Frog.

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