Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jumping for joy: Springbrook's frogs thrill onlookers

Red-eyed tree frog, Springbrook.

Last Sunday evening, I headed up into the Gold Coast hinterland to attend a frog-spotting walk organised by Ceris Ash of the Springbrook Wildlife Appreciation Group.

Meeting at the Springbrook Community Hall at 7:15pm, I joined a lovely group of people led by Adam Maund, a local wildlife expert and talented photographer, who found a great selection of stunning frogs for us to admire.

First up were some beautiful red-eyed tree frogs (Litoria chloris) that had gathered around the upper pools of Purling Brook Creek to breed.

The males, with their inflated vocal sacs and loud, distinctive call, were particularly noticeable.

Some called from waterside shrubbery while others preferred sloping rock faces, but the common denominator was that they were always positioned above a pool of water.

Stony creek frog, Springbrook.
Sharing the rock surface with them were male stony creek frogs (Litoria wilcoxii).

These little characters aren’t noticed so much by their call—which is almost inaudible to the human ear—but by their bright yellow colouring in the breeding season.

The larger females remain a tawny brown colour, and on this particular night seemed to turn up a little further away from the stream, in the surrounding forest.

Another frog of the forest floor is the always-impressive great barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus), and we saw plenty on the walk.

Springbrook frog poster, courtesy of Adam Maund Gallery.

I love the angular features, striped pattern and mesmerizingly black eyes of this species!

It is fairly approachable at night, but if you happen to be at Springbrook National Park during the day, look into the rock pools at the top of Purling Brook Falls and you’ll see the truly giant tadpoles that belong to this species as well.

Whirring tree frog, Springbrook.
In more vegetated sections of the creek, we were also fortunate enough to find whirring tree frogs (L. revelata) calling.

To my ears, their call sounds like a rising insect-like chirp—you can listen here.

Like the stony creek frog, the males of this species turn a bright shade of yellow during the breeding season, whereas the females are plainer.

This particular frog is not widespread throughout South-east Queensland, being found only in the Gold Coast hinterland and Scenic Rim region, so I was very grateful to Adam and Ceris for giving me the opportunity to see and spend time with it.

I also went frogging on the Saturday afternoon by myself, traipsing through some degraded bushland in the Logan suburb of Bethania.

Searching through rubbish piles for sheltering amphibians did not prove as fruitful as I hoped, and I suspect that abandoned tyres, plastic tarps and household junk might absorb too much heat on a summer’s day for sensitive creatures like frogs to feel comfortable beneath—I will try again in early spring!

It wasn’t a complete waste of time, however, as I did locate a calling colony of copper-backed broodfrogs (Pseudophryne raveni) in an overgrown, marshy area.

Great barred frog, Springbrook.

6 comments:

  1. Great photos! I'd be thrilled to see a Whirring Tree Frog one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ollie! The whirring tf is a pretty cute little character... worth the effort! :)

      Delete
  2. What a great outing. Frogs and Springbrook National Park two of our favourite things. We follow Springbrook Wildlife Appreciation Group on Facebook and really admire the work they do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's a great place and a great organisation! It was lovely to meet Ceris, we have followed each other's work for quite some time on Facebook.

      Delete
  3. Oh my gosh. Look at those eyes.

    ReplyDelete