The awesome Watagans

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The Watagans forest is a mix of state forest and national park in the hills of central NSW. It’s a plot of ancient rainforest and is home to a massive variety of frogs and other rainforest life.

The black soled frog is a cannibal. The tadpoles eat each other until the strongest can morph into frogs.

The tusked frog is unusual. Males have large sharp tusks in the lower jaw. Other unusual features include the fact males are much larger than females.

The red backed toadlet lives in the damp leaf litter of the forest edges.

One of the largest and most spectacular ground frog is the giant barred frog.

The most adaptable of the barred frogs is the great barred frog. It can breed in many water sources from creeks to dams.

The revealed frog has a weird whirring call, hence the alternative name of whirring tree frog. Males turn yellow at night to make them easier for females to see in the moonlight.

One of the most beautiful of all tree frogs is the lemon or Blue Mountains tree frog. Males make a strange call consisting of a harsh croak followed by a sound rather like a golf ball going down a hole.

Off to the Blue Mountains

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Time was up for Victoria, and after saying goodbye to the local parrots we headed out of the campsite and onwards to the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney. At my Aunt Rhonda’s place there is a healthy population of Red Crowned Toadlets (Pseudophryne australis) which breed in soaks in the sandstone in the forests. These frogs are a step further away from relying on water to breed, laying eggs in leaf litter to develop. Later, flooding rains cause the eggs to hatch and the young continue as tadpoles in the water.

As you may be aware after watching this, we did manage to film (with no small difficulty) males calling by day! The search for black snakes however was no so successful. We had to leave after that and race out to the next spot. In the future documentary we hope to shed light on this fascinating species.

The red crowned toadlet

The great southeastern road trip – Onwards to central Victoria

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Well Phil Lewis and myself (Nathan Litjens) here head off to central Victoria to a town at the base of the mountains. Eildon has a heap of family history for me, and unfortunately the footage of the town taken on the GoPro corrupted (the Hero 4 when it comes had better be a real improvement in terms of reliability…) Anyway we did find what we wanted, on a very well worn path no more than 100m from the major road were a bunch of spotted tree frogs (Litoria spenceri) who have rarely been recorded, but we took it a step further with some video of one calling! Maybe for the first time ever?
We were very careful with how we went about things, with hygiene practices in place. Getting the frogs in situ as they were naturally was very important as disturbing them would have meant no recordings. Also we made sure our boots were sterile. However this is a place heavily used by fishermen and trail riders/walkers all of which may not be going to the lengths we did. So kick back and enjoy!

The first one was found sitting on a rock stream side. Seemed to be a sub adult as it was quite small.

This one was found sitting on this branch calling. Most males of this species call from behind debris.