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Frogs, Frogs, Frogs!

Frogs - the masters of natural rhythm! This album presents a symphony of talented amphibians from around Australia.

Hear green tree frogs in tropical rainforest, choruses in celebration of summer rains, and polyrhythms eminating from bush waterholes at night. Singing frogs, whistling frogs, laughing and clicking frogs... they're all here and on the beat.

A soothing, hypnotic and fascinating album to delight the frog-ophile in you.

"This recording brings you a selection of frog choruses from around Australia. It features a collection of recordings, generally 2-5 minutes in duration each. Sometimes there may be only a single species calling, other times they present multi-species choruses.

"I've selected these recordings simply on aesthetics. Of all the frog choruses I've recorded, these are among the most engaging to my ear. I hope you'll find them enjoyable too."

This album was originally edited as a CD with discreet tracks:

1. (0.00) Pobblebonk Chorus
Recorded at Strangways, central Victoria

Eastern Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerilii), also known as Banjo Frogs because of their unique vocalisation, call from reeds in a bush waterhole. Also to be heard are the 'taps' of Striped Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes peronii) and the "weep...eep..eep..eep..eep" of Brown Tree Frogs (Litoria Ewingii). Two crinia species can be heard; signifera ("crick...crick...crick", as in track 17) and parasignifera (squelch-like 'wheeep'). The occasional 'grunt' is most likely a variant Pobblebonk vocalisation.

2. (6.21) Approaching Rainy Season
Recorded at Paluma National Park, north Queensland

This recording comes from tropical north Queensland, and was made in dense rainforest. It was also very humid, with the rainy season approaching. A White-lipped Green Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata) begins calling at 0.11. The chorus of frogs throughout is made of tiny Robust Whistling frogs (Sphenophryne robusta) (the chimming "chid-ip..chid-ip..chid-ip") and Common Nursery Frogs (Cophixalus ornatus) (isolated "Erp" calls). This recording was made in the complete darkness of evening, but these frogs would frequently be heard during the day too.

3. (10.30) Laughing Tree Frogs
Recorded near Jullatten, north Queensland

The Laughing Tree Frog, or Roth's Tree Frog (Litoria rothii) is the most prominent in this frog chorus from Julatten, in north Queensland. Its chuckling or cackling call is similar to that of Peron's Tree Frog, which is a more southerly distributed relative (and can be heard on Tracks 7 & 8). Also of note in this recording are several Cane Toads (Bufo marinus), giving a wooden, rapid-tapping, or purring sound. There are at least two other species to be heard, which I can't be sure of identifying, but are likely smaller froglets, and possibly Smooth Toadlets.

4. (13.50) Froglets and Toadlets
Recorded at Sundown National Park, SE. Queensland

Crinias are tiny and common froglets, found in various subspecies throughout Eastern Australia. This recording begins with a chorus of several Crinia parasignifera. Later they are joined by another common species, the Smooth Toadlet (Uperoleia laevigata).

5. (19.10) Striped Marsh Frogs (Northern race)
Recorded at Sundown National Park, SE. Queensland

The "whuck" call of the Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronii) sounds exactly like a tennnis ball being struck. At least the northern race does - listen to track 16 to hear the different call of the southern race. In the background are the crinias and toadlets as earlier, plus the rapid "uk-uk-uk" of a Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) (also ref Track 14)

6. (22.20) Burrowing Frogs
Recorded near Mount Kaputar, northern NSW

Two species of 'burrowing frog' can be heard here, firstly the 'castanette' calls of the Painted Burrowing Frog (Neobatrachus sudelli), joined later by the "unk, unk, unk..." of Ornate Burrowing Frogs (Limnodynastes ornatus) - incidentally, Limnodynastes means 'Lord of the Marshes'. There is also a Smooth Toadlet (Uperoleia laevigata) calling close by.

7. (26.00) After the Summer Rains 1
Recorded near Mount Kaputar, northern NSW

The next two tracks feature rich frogs choruses, with many species heard calling from adjacent water bodies after heavy rains. In this first track we hear: Ornate Burrowing Frogs (Limnodynastes ornatus) in the distance, the sheep-like 'moaning' of Warty Waterholding Frogs (Cyclorana verrucosa), the laughing cackle of Peron's Tree Frogs (Litoria peronii), the curious quacky calls of Green-thighed Frogs (Litoria brevipalmata, ref track 11 for clearer recording), Smooth Toadlets (Uperoleia laevigata), and every now and then the "Wok" of a Barking Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes fletcherii)

8. (29.00) After the Summer Rains 2
Recorded near Mount Kaputar, northern NSW

In this chorus are Green-thighed Frogs, Smooth Toadlets, the rapid "Uk-uk-uk" of a Spotted Marsh Frog, and another Peron's Tree Frog.

9. (31.00) Desert Tree Frogs
Recorded at Gunoo State Forest, near Dubbo NSW

Desert Tree Frogs (Littoria rubela) are heard here in the foreground, alongside faintly audible Painted Burrowing Frogs, with Ornate Burrowing Frogs in the far distance.

10. (33.00) Green-thighed Frogs
Recorded near Kempsey, central coastal NSW

This track begins with Smooth Toadlets (Uperoleia laevigata) and background Striped Marsh Frogs, but a single Green-thighed Frog (Litoria brevipalmata) is heard with its curious, buzzy 'washboard' call, soon joined by a few others. You can also heard a crinia signifera softly in the background.

11. (38.30) Dwarf Green Frogs
Recorded near Kempsey, central coastal NSW

The slow "Crrrrick..crik crik crik" calls of Dwarf Green Frogs (Litoria fallax) feature here, along with the ever-present Smooth Toadlets and a single Bleating Tree Frog (Litoria dentata).

12. (42.30) Northern Pobblebonks
Recorded at Blackdown Tableland National Park, SE Queensland

Once again, Smooth Toadlets, along with Dwarf Green Frogs, call from pools in a rocky creek line. The Northern Pobblebonk's (Limnodynastes terraereginae) call is somewhat quicker and less resonant than the Southern species.

13. (47.00) Bleating Tree Frogs
Recorded near Wollemi, central eastern NSW

This is a characteristic chorus of these extremely loud little critters calling from a small trackside pool.

14. (50.20) Spotted Marsh Frogs
Recorded near Hay, southern NSW

In contrast to the rapid "Uk-uk-uk" calls heard earlier from this species, here we have a slower rendition, porbably due to a lower ambient temperature at the time of recording.

15. (55.30) Tyler's Toadlets and Brown Tree Frog
Recorded on the upper Delegate River, NE Victoria

Tyler's Toadlets (Uperoleia tyleri) have a somewhat undistinguished 'squelch' call, but here they seem amplified by the surrounding forest in an atmospheric way. Also heard is the whistling call of a Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingii), and the occasional "crick, crick" of a Crinia signifera. A Boobook Owl can be heard in the background.

16. (60.20) Striped Marsh Frogs (Southern race)
Recorded at Kangaroo Ground, near Melbourne, Victoria

Judging by the call, you wuld think this a different species to the northern race we heard earlier, but no. Again, an incredably loud call up close, which is how I chose to record these fellows to capture their rhythms with the usual forest echo.

17. (64.40) The Common Brown Froglet
Recorded at the Bend of Isles, near Melbourne, Victoria

Crinia signifera, the most common frog sound heard in south-eastern Australia, here presented on its own in a recording made at a small bush waterhole with Bellbirds and a Superb Fairy-wren in the background.

18. (67.50) Lea's Frogs
Recorded near Albany, coastal south-west Western Australia

For the last two tracks we are in far south-western corner of Western Australia. These Lea's Frogs (Geocrinia leai) were calling from a brackish streamside in coastal country. You may also hear the last calls of Magpies in the background, as this was recorded just on dusk.

19. (71.10) Western Spotted Frogs
Recorded ner Mount Stirling National Park, WA

What a groovy call! ... the owl-like "wooping" of Western Spotted Frogs (Heleioporus albopunctatus), recorded in desert country near Mount Stirling National Park. In the chorus can also be heard Crinia pseudinsignifera with the high-pitched squelching calls, and Gunther's Toadlets (Cophixalus Ornatus) giving a low tapping "craak".

Individual frog species can be robust to environmental changes, or surprisingly susceptable. In Australia, we've lost several small rainforest frogs from tropical regions in recent decades. The source of the problem seems to have been fungal diseases, possibly exacerbated by a mixture of factors including introduced species, water pollution and climate change.

Unfortunately, this is a global phenomena, and simply protecting habitat is only part of the solution. For instance Costa Rica, a country celebrated for its conservation initiatives, has lost frog species in cloudforest due to the effects of climate change. So protecting the amenity of the habitat is just as crucial to the viability of these more sensitive amphibian species.

As challenging as this may be, in taking these more inclusive steps to protect frogs - by monitoring water quality or confronting climate change - we protect many other vulnerable species, both animal and plant.

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