Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Freycinet's Frog at the Royal National Park

Last Friday, I was driven out from Robertson by the cold wind.
It was genuinely an awful day to be inside or outside. On such days I sometimes try to escape to warmer climes - by the simple expedient of driving down Macquarie Pass, to the coastal plain below the Escarpment. The difference between 700 metres of altitude and 50 metres often makes a considerable difference in temperature, as it did on Friday. Although it was still windy, the weather was more than 7 degrees C which I was seeking to escape from.

I went to the heathlands of the Royal National Park. I was looking for Orchids, but found not one in flower. Very disappointing. But I stumbled upon this frog.

It sat still for me to photograph it, then it leapt at least a metre and a half. That surprised me. It seems more athletic than the frogs I normally find here. But they are mostly Tree Frogs. This one is not. It was in a patch of moist grasses and herbs and rush-like plants. We were in a slashed patch of "grassland" in what I would call wet heathland. Mick, in Queensland would probably call it "Wallum". This Frog also bears the name "Wallum Rocket Frog". That tells me something about its liking for this habitat.

You can read more about this Frog at the two basic Frog sites I usually refer to, and also Wikipedia.

Freycinet's Frog in the Royal National Park
Freycinet's Frog (a.k.a. Wallum Rocket Frog)
Freycinet's Frog - note the triangular mark on forehead.
The things I noticed in the field were the triangular shape of the entire head, and the orange stripes along the hind legs, and the coarse spots over the upper body.

Once again, I note the contribution of the amazing French biologists who toured with the early French explorers, (La Perouse and d'Entrecasteaux and Baudin and Freycinet (these latter explorers on the ships La Naturaliste and La Geographe. "Baudin and Freycinet managed to have their map of the Australian coastline published in 1811, three years before Flinders published his." (Wikipedia)
These French explorers were here for such a short time, yet they managed to record so very much of the unique and "novel" Australian flora and fauna.


Rohrerbot said...

Great shot. This little guy looks fast and powerful.

Wilma said...

That is a very pointy frog, Denis! A handsome, too.


mick said...

We have had very strong winds up here too but it's certainly not cold with them. The frog and its habitat are very interesting. From the distribution maps on the other sites you linked to it looks as if it should also be up here. Hmmm! Sorry! Just too many waders around right now for me to look for it :-)

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Wilma - yes I noticed its pointy nose first of all.
Hi Mick - well, it obviously earns its Queensland name "Wallum Rocket Frog" from being local in your heathland habitats.
Frankly, it jumped at the wrong time, and I saw the movement, otherwise I would never have seen it.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Rohrerbot
Yes it was a great leaper, better than my Tree Frogs, which are more climbers than jumpers (though they can jump). But this guy living in ponds and grass, likes to cover greater distances. Snakes would be major predators for it.

Boobook said...

I too am in awe of what the French scientists did. Astonishing body of work in often appalling conditions.

Denis Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Boobook.
Nice to have support from a fellow Naturalist to commemorate the efforts of those early French Naturalists. Look at the frogs and other creatures named after Peron and the plants named after Labillardiere