Over the past few years I have been poking round Victoria slowly finding new tetrapods (birds, mammals, frogs and reptiles) through a combination of research, time in the field and word of mouth. I had a few days planned wildlife watching in NE Victoria so I decided to have a bit of a try for the Booroolong Frog – an endangered species which is only known from a couple of sites in Victoria and more extensively in New South Wales. Conscious of the effect of things like chytrid I was prepared to go and have a look and listen during the day to recce the site but had no interest in disturbing the frogs. I arrived at the site mid afternoon and immediately thought there must be some sort of mistake! The creek ran through cow paddocks with the electric fences running right across the creek. Cows (and a bull) stood there looking at me while shitting in the creek! There was perhaps 30 meters of creek between these fences and that had clearly been used for some 4wd practice recently with tyre marks and pools of oil residue. Hardly the site for an endangered, sensitive frog??!!
Knowing that other closely related “Rocky River” type frogs are often active during the day I went for a quick poke around and almost immediately had a small frog leap from the rocks into the creek. It swam strongly against the current and sat on the edge providing the opportunity for a couple of quick mobile phone pics. A Booroolong Frog! That was easy! Looking at the disgraceful state of the site I was unlikely to be any threat at all. Walking around both sides of the small area I saw several more each exhibiting the same behaviour of leaping straight into the water and swimming strongly against the current. A local farmer pulled up and we had a chat – he indicated they used to be very common but the recent fires had knocked them about. I did initially have thoughts of coming back after dark to spotlight them but the site was so degraded and depressing and I had seen the frog I decided against it and headed back to Chiltern for the evening.
On one hand the state of the site was very disturbing and the fact that cattle are effectively been run across the creek its entire length on grazing freehold would seem less than ideal. But the frogs are clearly persisting and based on my limited experience in the small part of the creek I could access perhaps doing well here despite the challenges.