How do I stay safe while FrogSpotting?
Counting frogs at night might seem a risky business but there are a few things you can do to make it a safe and fun experience for FrogSpotters of all ages.
- Always do your field work with somebody else and especially avoid working alone at night.
- Wear flat, sturdy footwear or gumboots, a long sleeved shirt and long pants. If you have one, wear a high visibility shirt.
- Dress according to the weather conditions. Take extra clothing for changes in the weather.
- During daylight hours protect yourself from the sun (hat, long-sleeve shirt and sunscreen).
- Please protect yourself from insects but IF YOU HAVE APPLIED INSECT REPELLENT DON’T TOUCH OR HANDLE FROGS.
- Let somebody know where you are going, what you are doing and what time you will be expected home.
- Carry a mobile phone with you and stay within mobile phone range wherever possible. Make sure you have relevant emergency numbers.
- Always keep an up-to-date first aid kit in the car with you.
- Take care of yourself and do not take unnecessary risks.
- Carry water with you.
- Avoid high risk weather conditions, such as potential flood events and extreme fire danger days.
- Limit your recording sites to areas within public land unless you have permission to survey on private land.
- Take a map of the area you are going to.
- When working at night carry a torch.
- Beware of snakes in long grass and near waterways and stomp to scare snakes away.
- Should snake bite occur seek medical attention immediately.
- Emergencies should be immediately reported to the authorities (police, fire, ambulance etc.) on 000.
How do I survey frogs?
By assisting with frog monitoring you can help us understand the health and distribution of our local frog species. Contributing is easy. Just go to a water body of your choice during the early evening, login to your FrogSpotter app and record the frogs calling for 3-5 minutes.
This five minute call recording time for all surveys allows us to have the most accurate estimate of the numbers and types of frogs at any specific place and time. Even if you hear no frogs calling it is still very important to make the recording for 5 minutes. If no frogs are calling, simply record "No" Frogs Calling’ in the 'Add Frogs' section of the FrogSpotter survey. Recording the absence of frogs is as useful as their presence because it gives us information on where frogs are not breeding and thus where conditions are not suitable at a particular point in time.
Details about the site, such as location, habitat type and quality, are also recorded with the FrogSpotter app.
Do some planning before your survey. Look at the weather forecast to see if the weather is likely to be calm and dry on the day you would like to survey. The optimum time to record frog calls is on a warm, still night just after or before it rains. Avoid heavy rain and breezes stronger than 20 km/h. Frogs are less likely to call in these conditions and capturing good quality recordings can be difficult. Try to avoid temperatures below 12°C. Even if the weather conditions look good during the day, check the Bureau of Meteorology website before heading out to see if the weather may change. http://www.bom.gov.au/sa/
Visit your selected site during the daytime so you can familiarise yourself with the terrain and to find the best place to take your recording before heading out at night. Please also take a photo of the site during the day with your FrogSpotter app so we can see how habitat condition affects the numbers and types of frogs calling. If you sight any frogs at your survey site, please take a photo with your FrogSpotter app to contribute additional information about the frogs that are there. Frogs can be hard to see but if you do see one, a photograph will help us identify a frog that may not be calling during a survey.
Please remember to take a torch with you when you go to collect your survey data. Turn the torch off as soon as you are settled and ready to start your survey. The frogs at your site will probably go quiet when the light is on and if you are moving around or making noise. So it is best if you sit or stand still for about five minutes before recording. Please don’t talk or whisper during the recording. Once the chorus of frogs starts up again, take your five minute recording.
Try and take your recording a few metres away from the waterway or wetland, as frogs that are very close can cause distortion to the recording and can make it difficult to hear other species or individuals. Most frogs will be calling from the water or vegetation near the water’s edge. Also try to find a location that doesn’t have loud background noises such as traffic or wind rustling through vegetation. If there is traffic nearby that could impact on the recording, put your back to the traffic and the recorder in front of you to block as much unwanted noise as possible.
With reference to the frog call resources provided in the FrogSpotter app, record all of the species you hear calling. Try to estimate how many frogs of each species are calling according to FrogSpotter’s abundance categories.
After you have completed your five minute recording, play it back to ensure that the recording is clear and without background noises that make it hard to verify the species calling. If the recording is not very good, you can delete it and take another one.
You don’t have to know the species of frogs that are calling during a survey. After you upload your surveys to “FrogSpotter Central” we will send them to a panel of experts for identification. This ensures a high level of quality control for species sightings. After the species and abundances in your recording have been verified, we will send you a brief report on which species of frogs you thought were present, which were actually calling and how many there were.
You will be able to see your survey data on the FrogWatch SA website as soon as you upload your survey session. Initially the frogs that you report were present during your survey will appear as unverified species at your survey site. You can also download survey data from the FrogWatch SA website for more detailed analysis. Species records from FrogWatch SA will be regularly forwarded to the Biological Database of South Australia and to the Atlas of Living Australia to ensure they are widely accessible. These databases are used to make decisions about the status of native animal populations including threatened species nominations.
We can learn much more about local frog populations if FrogSpotters 'adopt a site' that they regularly return to and collect frog survey data from. Most frog species breed in late winter and spring, but other species have quite different breeding periods. If you make recordings each month, or seasonally, it is a great way to experience how the environment changes through the year and how your frogs respond to those changes. It is also a very important contribution you can make to our understanding of how our local frog populations change over time.
What to submit while FrogSpotting?
The FrogSpotter app has been designed to make it very simple to submit all the information we need. You will be required to complete all necessary fields before the app will allow you to submit survey - this includes whether frogs are calling or not and environmental conditions.
You will also have the option of attaching photographs of the site habitat and any frogs that you see. Please ensure that the photographs that you submit do not include people and that they are appropriate to a wide audience. Also ensure that the audio recording does not contain any offensive language.
FrogWatch SA reserves to right to remove any survey that we consider inappropriate. We may also choose to block members that have submitted inappropriate material.