Frogging in the Conondales

Today K-ris and I went frogging at Conondale national park in the Conondale Ranges.

We stayed at the Kenilworth Field Research Station. We got out there in the late afternoon (after finding a recently hit eastern water dragon [Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii] on the road) and headed straight up to the study site in Conondale national park. There’s been a fair amount of rain in that region recently, so Boloumba creek was flowing nicely and the dirt roads were muddy. There’s was a large “Road Closed” sign at the start of the road up to the site, but we figured they’d left a vehicle-sized gap next to the sign for a reason. On the way up to the site we narrowly missed hitting a coastal carpet snake (Morelia spilota mcdowelli) that was stretched out along the road. We took a couple of pics and then ushered it off the road.

Carpet snake
A coastal carpet snake (Morelia spilota mcdowelli) on the road

The site was pretty much deserted. No platypods. No snakes. But worst of all (for K-ris), no frogs. It’s getting late in the season, so K-ris didn’t have high hopes. We poked around the creek a bit, but we only managed to find a resting azure kingfisher (Alcedo azurea) perched on an overhanging branch.

Azure kingfisher
Azure kingfisher (Alcedo azurea)

We gave up at about 9:30 PM (normally we’d finish after midnight) and drove to a few other creek crossings to see if there was any anuran activity. We found a few great barred frogs (Mixophyes fasciolatus) on the road and some cascade tree frogs (Litoria pearsoniana) around the creeks, but that was it. Driving back down towards the campground we spotted a small mushroom in the middle of the road. It stopped dead in its tracks, probably blinded by the car’s headlights.

Greater barred frog
Greater barred frog (Mixophyes fasciolatus)

Cascade treefrog
Cascade tree frog (Litoria pearsoniana)

I got out of the car, took some pics, and then moved the little tyke off the road.

Fungi caught in headlights
Fungi caught in headlights

We headed to the little shack that K-ris normally camps at, and I was glad we were staying at the research station instead of the shack. Although, the shack did have a duo of southern spotted velvet geckoes (Oedura tryoni), so what it lacked in craftmanship and safety it made up for in reptile life.

Southern spotted velvet gecko
Southern spotted velvet gecko (Oedura tryoni)

We then checked out a few of the toilet blocks at the campground and found a few more velvet geckos. The large shower block had a gigantic velvet gecko and a lone microbat.

Insectivorous bat
A microbat in a shower block

Given the paucity of frogs on this trip, K-ris probably won’t go back out until the start of next season (around September).

About Stewart Macdonald

I'm a wildlife ecologist living and working in Queensland, Australia. I spend most of my time in the bush finding and photographing wildlife.
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