WITH KROOMBIT TOPS MISSING out on the early wet season rain recorded in other parts of the state, conditions during the December 2020 Kroombit Frogsearch were only marginally better/wetter than the previous December Kroombit Frogsearch. In 2019, QFS volunteers assisting with frog surveys had to contend with catastrophic fire conditions (see Frogsheet Autumn 2020). Undeterred by the dry conditions, a team of 7 QFS volunteers travelled to Kroombit Tops in early December 2020 to survey sites within Kroombit Tops National Park for the Kroombit tinker frog (Taudactylus pleione; critically endangered), the Kroombit treefrog (Litoria kroombitensis; critically endangered) and the tusked frog (Adelotus brevis; vulnerable).

December Kroombit Frogsearch crew outside the barracks at Kroombit Tops National Park. Credit: Daniel McCawley

Much like in December 2019, surface water was scarce at many sites, and opportunities for breeding were thus largely limited to a small number of spring-fed seepages and streams with more permanent water. With frog activity depressed due to the dry conditions, the Kroombit tinker frog and Kroombit treefrog were only encountered in low numbers at a handful of sites. Numbers of other resident frog species (including the tusked frog) were also low.

With conditions dry and frogs scarce, QFS volunteers focused their attention on deploying automated acoustic recorders. Thanks to their outstanding efforts, around 50 recorders were successfully deployed. They will capture frog calls every evening/night through to the next Kroombit Frogsearch, scheduled for late March/early April 2021.
The calls captured by these automated recorders will be used to assess the current abundance and distribution of the Kroombit tinker frog, Kroombit treefrog and tusked frog across Kroombit Tops National Park.

QFS Kroombit Frogsearch volunteer Ollie Scully deploying one of the acoustic recording devices set up at Kroombit Tops National Park to capture calls of the critically endangered Kroombit tinker frog. Credit: Daniel McCawley

Sound recordings from these devices will be downloaded during the next Kroombit Frogsearch, and QFS will then be looking for volunteers to assist with the analysis of these recordings.

The biannual Kroombit Frogsearch is part of QFS’s Kroombit Threatened Frogs Project – a project funded by a Community Sustainability Action (CSA) grant awarded to QFS by the Queensland State Government in late 2019. In addition to surveys and monitoring of threatened frogs at Kroombit Tops, CSA grant money is being used to fund construction of a pig-proof fence to exclude feral pigs from areas of Kroombit tinker frog breeding habitat. QFS is planning to undertake an excursion to Kroombit Tops to erect this fence in late winter of 2021.

If you would like to join us on this trip or assist with future monitoring surveys at Kroombit Tops, contact QFS Event and Initiatives Coordinator, Jono Hooper, at events_intiatives [at] qldfrogs.asn.au.

Ed Meyer QFS Kroombit Threatened Frogs Project Coordinator