Frog Spotting at Herdsman Lake

8 July 2022

Forty members and visitors gathered outside the Herdsman Lake Discovery Centre, feeling optimistic and ready to look for frogs around the lake’s edges. As it was still quite light, our leader and frog expert, Paul Doughty, spent a few moments describing some of the common frogs of the Perth region, and we made use of the Frog ID app to hear a couple of calls.

As the sun got low, we headed west along the limestone trail that flanks the lake. The frogs had not emerged yet, so the first part of our walk was spent looking at and talking about some of the other animals. Some frog predators, the Nankeen Night-Herons (Nycticorax caledonicus), were still in their day-time roosts, hidden amongst the paperbark trees.

Many Orb-weaver Spider webs were found amongst the branches and a few Fishing Spiders (left) by the water’s edge. As it started to get dark, we spotted Wolf Spiders from their eye-shine in our torchlights before realising that they’d been seen, they quickly retreated down to their burrows hidden amongst the grass.

As we turned to head back towards the discovery centre, we heard a few Slender Tree Frogs (Litoria adelaidensis) calling amongst the reeds out in the lake. Soon we had our first frog sighting of the evening, a Motorbike Frog (formerly Litoria moorei, soon to be reclassified), not at the water’s edge but amongst some leaf litter 30m away. As we gathered around for a closer look, another was soon seen hopping about beneath a tree.

As we continued, the calls “I found a frog!” were heard a few more times. By the time we had returned to the Discovery Centre, the count was, as faithfully reported by one of our young frog spotters, four Motorbike Frogs and two Slender Tree Frogs. The group then walked a loop of the Olive Seymour boardwalk loop without any further sightings. There hadn’t been much rain in the week leading up to our walk, which had reduced the enthusiasm of the frogs to be active, but that just made the sightings that we did feel even more special. Thanks to everyone who joined us, especially Paul, for being our expert leader and answering the many questions of the curious young naturalists.

Steve Lofthouse

All images by Steve Lofthouse