- Last updated:
- 28 Feb 2021
Article and images by Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee
Get your frogging gear ready for FIND A FROG IN FEBRUARY’s fifth birthday!
Delivered by Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee
It’s February again, which means it’s time to don your head-torches and gumboots and grab your camera to find some frogs this February!
When are frogs happiest at their business of living and breeding?
When the weather is wet and warm. That’s why the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee (MRCCC) chose February for our citizen science project ‘Find a Frog’ - because February usually heralds the tail end of our wet season, when conditions are prime for most frogs to be out and about! While many of Australia’s frog species have evolved to survive a dry climate through utilising still and sometimes even temporary water bodies (such as puddles and soaks) for breeding, water is essential for egg laying and the metamorphosis of tadpoles to young frogs (known as metamorphs).
This summer, we’ve had the warm but the storm activity lately has been patchy. Some had falls in late October but the main downpours were in mid-December to break another long dry spell in some areas. It’s a bit like the 2019 lead-up but not so harsh, so we hope that the storms continue and are a good prelude to a wet February.
Why Find a Frog in February?
It’s important to survey areas for frogs during summer regardless of the rainfall as the prolonged dry can affect their persistence even if it does rain late in their typical breeding season. The risk of early cooling may reduce egg and tadpole vigour and young frogs may not have enough time to become robust for winter.
One third of frogs worldwide and one quarter in our local region are threatened with extinction. If we don’t know where they are, we can’t manage our land and water to ensure their ongoing survival.
Frogs are very sensitive to all components of our environment. This is due to their incredible ability to transfer gases and liquid through their skin, which unfortunately means that any unfavourable substances in the air or water can end up in their body. This is why frog data is such a useful indicator of ecosystem health.
Any and all information on the whereabouts of our frog species is important to help us understand what’s happening to frog populations so we can look after them, and the environment around them.
Find a Frog in February
2020 was the best year yet for the MRCCC’s annual Citizen Science program – ‘Find a Frog in February’ - with over 7,000 records submitted (!!) thanks to our fabulous froggers of the Mary, Burrum and Noosa River catchments, and coastal communities from Burrum Heads to Peregian!
For the first time, we also recorded a notable increase in the number of species observed, with 30 species spotted, up from the previous years’ counts of 22 and 23 species. To see which frogs have been spotted where and when, you can now view an interactive map on the MRCCC’s website.
February 2021 is FFF’s 5th birthday and we’re hoping for another cracker year! This year, we’re continuing to focus on having people monitor a site year after year, and to report on the type of habitat used by the frogs they find. We have enlisted four local schools and three bushcare groups to help us with this task. We are also looking for new and repeat froggers to join the cause.
How to get involved
Frogging is easy – get your torch and phone/camera, put on your shoes and venture outside at night to your nearest or favourite creek, dam or swamp. Listen for calls and record them. Hold your torch at eye level so you can catch their eye shine. Watch for movement and sitting frogs and photograph them. Send your photos in to us with the date, location and your contact details. Read the directions and supporting information on the website, access the data sheet, attend workshops provided, ask us for help – we’re here to help you help our frogs.
If you can find the time to venture out for a short time at night to search for and record our frogs, we can spend the time to process your records, make assessments of the information and collectively help to make a difference to managing our wondrous support system; the natural environment.
You can also join us at one of our evening workshops and surveys to enter the fascinating world of frogs and hone your skills:
- 10 February – Poona Community Hall from 5:30pm
- 16 February – Mary Cairncross Reserve from 3pm
- 25 February – Noosa District Landcare, Pomona from 5pm
Call the MRCCC for more information and to register your interest.
See the MRCCC website for an old-fashioned data sheet and all the information you need to get involved in research that helps planners and researchers understand and protect our frogs.
Join the Find a Frog in February group on Facebook for Frog of the Day videos, quizzes and join the discussions with other fervent FROGGERS.
Explore FROGGING AROUND FrogID KEY that helps you identify the frogs you encounter.
Download the Australian Museum's FrogID app onto your smart phone and join the ‘Find a Frog in February-MRCCC’ group – another way to send in your recordings of frog calls.
Whatever way you choose to submit your frog records, all data collected from the study area will go to the Queensland WildNet database for safekeeping and future access.
For more information, head to http://mrccc.org.au/frog-in-february/.
This program is generously supported by councils of the study area – Sunshine Coast Council, Noosa Council, and Fraser Coast Regional Council. We and the frogs are immensely grateful.