I’m constantly amazed and delighted by the variety of wildlife with which we share our home. If I tried to name all the types of birds, for instance, that come by our garden (let alone the rest of the property), I’m sure that I could fill a page easily and still miss some out.
I love listening to the bird calls, starting with the kookaburras in the early morning, right through to our boobook owls well into the night – although I was a little less enamoured of a male common koel that spent last spring singing most of his way through a full octave then stopping, leaving me waiting for the last note, before repeating his call incessantly – all night! It took a couple of sleepless nights before I got used to that call and slept through his noisy courting.
On the other hand, I never tire of the song of our magpies, nor the cheeky chirping of the blue wrens or silvereyes.
Another sound I love is the chorus of frog calls that serenade us through the evenings during spring and summer. One of my favourite memories of our first year here at Seventy Seven Acres was the night we decided to go up to the little dam (probably better called the reed pond) by torchlight to see what we could find. All through the reeds were little clumps of frog spawn, while adult frogs clambered up the thin stalks or nuzzled into the soft dirt beside the water. Wherever we walked, silence would fall, but the calls from all around the rest of the dam echoed back and forth, a bit like a tennis match. I was particularly struck by the sound the pobblebonk frogs made – it really does sound like “pobble-bonk”!
Just recently we’ve had a few frogs come visiting us, like a little brown tree frog that moved into the breezeway where we had just installed a couple of Dicksonia Antarctica plants and were watering them every evening with a fine haze of dam water for a couple of hours to help them settle in.
An even smaller tree frog came a-hunting on our bathroom window a couple of nights ago, too. It was fascinating to see him from underneath, as he reached up onto the glass, chasing minute insects. Alas, he was gone before I could fetch a camera, but he provided a few moments of enthralling entertainment before he slunk off into the darkness.
I suspect we won’t be seeing – or hearing – too many more this season, as our evenings are starting to cool down, and our mornings are definitely feeling a little chilly. I don’t know a lot about frogs – despite a childhood obsession with tadpoling – but I think they sleep the winter away, tucked up cosy somewhere until the growing warmth of spring wakes them up and gets them on the move.
Hmm. Something else I’ll have to learn about. I wonder if there is a handy, pocket sized field guide for the frogs of our region…