Saturday, 21 February 2015

Can you hear what I hear?

One creature really enjoying all this rain is the frog!  We have dozens of them advertising their presence with calls and mating at several ponds and dams in the area.  We love identifying them and we love some of the names eg as I write this I can hear the "Eastern Pobblebonk"  also known as the "Eastern Banjo Frog".  You could say he sounds as if he's chopping wood.  The name "banjo" came as many think it sounds like the plunk on the string of a banjo.  If you've ever been out with a torch you'll also know that this particular frog is very small in stature, even if he does have a big voice. Oh and yes - only the males call. The females are the quiet ones, only making sounds when alarmed.

However, in the Orara Valley, a very special noise has been heard in at least two places.

The call and the photos are of the Giant Barred Frog (myxophyes iteratus).  This is quite a large frog being up to 115mm in length.  They are olive to dark brown above and have paler or darker blotches and are cream to pale yellow below.  The call is described as a deep "ork".  They are known to be found along the east coast from the border to Sydney, however they are endangered and seen (and heard) less and less.

We would very much like to thank David Stewart for giving us permission to include his recording in this blog.  It comes from his excellent CD Australian Frog Calls Subtropical East  You can buy the CD from David's website or a good music store and it's a must for anyone wanting to identify their local frogs.  It also includes the call of the cane toad so you can be sure you don't have those present, or alert authorities if you do. By the way the Giant Barred Frog was recorded at Bruxner Park!

They are threatened by many things including reduction in water quality, changes to water flow patters, reduction of leaf litter and fallen log cover due to burning, timber harvesting, vegetation clearance, predation on eggs and tadpoles by introduced fish and weed spraying close to water courses.

We'd love to hear from you if you have seen or heard these beautiful creatures in the Orara Valley, or this and any other endangered species in your area, wherever you are in the Coffs Harbour region.  Put a comment here or on our facebook page.

Coffs Catchment Coalition a group monitoring the gold exploration in the Orara Valley first alerted us to the finding of this endangered frog when they were contacted by one of their supporters and we thought putting a post together might see others identify it so its habitats can be mapped.

The Greens have strong policies to protect ALL animals (Animal Welfare Policy) and Craig Christie, your Greens candidate for Coffs Harbour in the forthcoming NSW election (March 2015), is strong on a fair go for the environment. A strong Greens presence in the Upper House also ensures legislation is checked to ensure mining and other developments do not ride rough shod over precious endangered species and their environment,

Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.  Stay safe and dry.