Earlier in the year, the ABG finally made its way to Brisbane in order to record calls from our target species, the eastern sedge frog (Litoria fallax). This research project requires obtaining recordings from different populations across the full distribution of the species, which includes Queensland, New South Wales, and more recently Victoria. Brisbane was one of the last sites we needed to sample, but unfortunately, Queensland did not make it easy for us. At first glance, our accommodation seemed perfectly located, with a creek running behind and plenty of reeds in the area, which is the perfect habitat for L. fallax. However, despite all our searching efforts, most of the amphibian population in the vicinity seemed to be composed of cane toads. This invasive species is very effective at displacing native frogs, so we decided to search further away from the city. Our luck did not improve much after this decision was made, as this was the moment the weather took a turn for the worse. We had 48 hours of continuous and extremely heavy rain, which under normal conditions is very good for frogs. Unfortunately, it also makes it impossible to deploy electronic equipment in the field, such as audio recorders and video cameras.
By the time the rain stopped, we had almost run out of time, so we tried to make the most of this small window. The eastern sedge frog is a relatively common species, and often occurs in high densities. The problem is that they usually only call during or after rain, so it is not enough to simply find them. If you want to record their calls you have to find them at the right time. Taking advantage of the humid conditions, we spent the last couples of nights driving around the outskirts of Brisbane, visiting as many parks and wetlands as we could. As expected, under the right conditions, and at some very specific locations, the frogs were out in force. We were able to reach our target number of recordings, and in the process, we also spotted a few of the other local amphibian species (eg. dainty green tree frog, Litoria gracilenta and the ornate burrowing frog, Platyplectrum ornatum). Overall, it was a rushed but very successful excursion.