On Friday afternoon I began my search for toad activity in a roadside pool eight kilometres west of Saddle Creek Bridge . The obvious pool is on the northern side of the highway, two hundred metres west of the large Boab Tree whose branches extend out over the road. I found a set of large toad footprints (see photo) on the eastern end of the pool. They looked quite fresh and were probably left by a large forward roaming female toad. These random females can be a considerable distance ahead of the male colonising toads.
I then checked all culverts and roadside pools travelling east towards Saddle Ck with no more signs of toad activity found. It was now dark so I grabbed my spotlight and Checked upstream and downstream from Saddle Ck Bridge, for five hundred metres in both directions. The creek was flowing quite well but no toads were heard or seen in this area.
I continued checking all culverts and table drains further east along the highway for toad activity, but it wasn’t until four kilometres west of Amanbidji/Kildurk driveway where I picked up my first toad off the road. It was a male 120mm in length. From this point toad numbers increased. Googlie Waterholes were in this area and had expanded significantly from the recent wet season rains. This area will require regular busting over the coming weeks.
My next stop was just east of the West Baines Bridges opposite the very large dam on the southern side of highway. I could hear male toads calling in this area and this would also need busting. Toad numbers increased from Snake Ck floodplains and by the time I reached Lilly Ck another fifteen kilometres to the east, I had picked up nineteen toads in total. Only four of these were female. This area would also require busting, including Snake Ck turkeys nest, Riley’s Dam, the many roadside pools and gravel pits in this area.
Numbers of toads dropped off between Lilly Ck and the East Baines River , catching only six more toads along the highway, all being male. From the East Baines River to Big Horse Creek toads were few and far between and I only picked up nine toads in this area, two of which were female.
I went for a drive down the Gregory Tree track and found four toads, all male. I stopped and listened for calling males at three locations along the track and heard nothing.
From Big horse Ck to the Timber Ck Roadhouse toad numbers increased and I caught another seventeen, only three were female. This area needs busting over the next few weeks to try and keep breeding down to a minimum.
The next morning I continued east from Timber Ck to check for signs of recent breeding. I also checked the first two creeks on the beginning section of the Buchanan Hwy with no evidence of toads at either. Along the highway there was no obvious toad activity until Skull Ck Major, where the roadside pool on the eastern side of the bridge had small toad metamorphs at the western end.
The next location I found metamorphs was the large dam in the Brownies Ck area. Both skull Ck roadside area and Brownies large dam will need spraying as soon as possible. I counted fifteen road kill toads in this area so an evening bust would also be of major benefit.
Between Brownies Ck and Coolibah Turnoff there was no sign of breeding and I counted only six road kill toads. Not far after the Coolibah turnoff there are very large roadside pools on both sides of the highway before Lost Ck. Breeding had occurred here recently as there were thousands of toad tadpoles in these pools. In this area I counted another ten road kill toads. Tadpole removal needs to be carried out in this area along with some night time busting.
From Lost Ck to Victoria Bridge Roadhouse There was no evidence of breeding and I only counted three dead on the road. I spoke to two of the ladies working at the roadhouse and they reported that toads were building up in numbers again. This area is also going to require some attention from Kimberley Toad Busters over the wet season.
I then travelled back to Timber Ck and began searching for signs of breeding travelling west, back towards Kununurra. Roadside pools near the Timber Ck Airstrip had Thousands of tadpoles and needs urgent attention. Over the next Thirty five kilometres I Stopped seventeen times to check roadside pools and culverts and found no signs of recent breeding.
First pool with tadpoles was the gravel pit opposite the truck bay which is forty kilometres west of Timber Ck Roadhouse. There was less then a hundred tadpoles in one clump at the highway end of the pool. This was pleasing as this pool is at least a kilometre in Diameter, perfect toad habitat and very little breeding had occurred here.
No more evidence of breeding was noted until the gravel pits at Lilly Ck and in Lilly Ck itself as it was not flowing. This area requires attention over the coming weeks. Daylight was fast fading, so I decided to call it a day and steadily made my way back into Kununurra.
Report by Dave Woods
Trip Reports 12th and 13th January 2008
Dave Woods’s Trip: Googlie Holes, Amanbidji Track and West Baines Dam
On Saturday afternoon I took the Quad bike into the Googlie Holes area to locate and inspect the billabongs of water that lie between the highway and Saddle Ck as well as to undertake some general reconnaissance survey work in the larger area. I started at the waterhole closest to the highway that KTBs have been busting regularly for the last couple of months. No sign of breeding was found at the waterhole. My intention was to return later on that evening to check for the presence of mature toads
I then travelled in a south easterly direction running parallel with Saddle Ck and followed it downstream towards the West Baines River . I located six more semi-permanent billabongs in this area. I found no sign of Toad Tadpoles or Metamorphs in any of them. Each billabong was GPS’d and marked for on-going surveillance over the coming months.
I then made my way down to Police Hole tank on the Amanbidji Driveway. Black Fellow Ck was flowing well and had recently been pumping. From here I took the quad bike the rest of the way to Police Hole Yard, arriving just before dark. Police Hole Yard consists of a series of large Dams and two Turkeys Nests. The two Creeks in this area were holding large pools of water but not flowing. About half an hour after sunset I heard Male Toads beginning to call. I only found two males in this area and it appeared they had only recently arrived as they were yet to build up into large numbers.
I then drove back to the Hwy picking up another six toads three of which were female. All six toads were picked up in the last few kilometres before hitting the bitumen. I returned to the Googlie Holes area visited earlier that afternoon and found only ten toads all male.
The last stop for the night was at the West Baines Dam the male calling indicated the presence of a large population. I caught thirty three toads, all male. The West Baines Dam holds a large body of water and will require consistent toad busting over the wet season Part of the KTB wet season strategy for this dam is to send in fairly large groups of people every couple of weeks to eradicate any evidence of new breeding and to bust the area consistently for any large toads.
On the way home I had a quick look at the Bullo Driveway Turkeys Nest and found a few metamorphs. I eradicated them with the aid of my spray pack. KTBs will continue to monitor this turkey nest over the next couple of months.
Auvergne Scrapes and Auvergne Homestead Area: Report Summary
Team Leader: Del Collins and team members Sister Aggie, Sister Alisha and Anthony Scott Virtue.
Auvergne Station was the destination for toad busting for the evening however various waterholes and gravel scrapes were checked for signs of breeding along the way. Spraying was carried out at the scrapes near Lilly Ck on the northern side of Hwy. Only two out of the eleven pools had metamorphs. One clutch of eggs was removed from one of these pools. The scrapes on the southern side of highway were not checked and still requires busting and checking for metamorphs. KTBs will try and get a team into this area in the next week.
In the evening the team busted the homestead area and a total of one hundred and two toads were caught and six of these were female. Metamorphs were observed in the Homestead turkey nest and these were sprayed by Anthony the following morning.
13th and 14th January 2008
John Cugley and Donna Cavlovic
Objective of the trip was to survey Stony Creek , Peter Creek and Packsaddle Creek. To spray metamorphose at Bullo River Homestead
We meet up with Franz from Bullo River at Auvergne Station at 0900 and had a chat about our objectives. We took off and made our way through the gap in the Pinkerton Range at Stony Creek. We flew over the areas that we want to look at, and commented on how dry the country was. All the creeks just had a few pools of water in them. A swamp area near Packsaddle Creek was dry. After a fly around we put down at the two pools of water in Stony Creek and found no signs of toads. At the pool closest to the Victoria River there were lots of little rocket frogs.
From here we put down at a stock camp on Peter Creek which is situated were salt and fresh water meet. The helicopter left us at this point and we made our way upstream for 1.8km checking for signs of toads in the several small pools of water in the creek. We did not come across any. As it was very hot and there were very limited swimming spots we made a dinner camp next to the only pool we had come across were could take a dip. Over lunch we reassessed the situation and decide to rest up here till the cooler part of the afternoon. While we waited I put my napping skills to the test while Donna tested her skills in carving boab nuts. From this location we decided to make our way over to Packsaddle Creek for look and to make camp.
On our way over to Packsaddle Creek a dingo passed within 150 metres of us, not shy at all. The walk was nice with great views and easy walking except for the weather. We got to Packsaddle creek and spent sometime looking for a place to camp up for the night. Whilst looking both of us got stung by something as we were walking into the creek. After some walking up and down the creek we found our spot and made camp. After dinner we went for a walk and found 4 male toads. Once again the creek was mainly just several small water holes.
In the morning we went looking for more toads in this area and we came across a lot of metaphors. From here we head out to the swamp to await the arrival of the helicopter. The helicopter transported our smelly bodies to Bullo River were spent sometime spraying the creek near the homestead to kill the metaphors in that area. There are lots more areas that need to be done around the homestead as it is toad heaven there. Lots of water, grass lights and bugs.
We were treated to a very nice lunch and were taken back to Auvergne Station, from were we made our way back to Kununurra.
I have got some thoughts from this weekend to share.
I visited this area in February 2007 and the difference in the country is amazing. Last year the grass was head high which made walking difficult, this year it was lucky to be shin high.
Once again thanks to Bullo River Station for there help and hospitality
Notes and Comments from trip report 21 st February 2007
It was a very productive trip, but it has also raised a few questions as well.
A few questions I would like to raise about other aspects of the trip are
Report on Bullo Station 01-02-08
Hi Dave and Lee
119 cane toads were caught and destroyed at Bullo this week (two nights one person), with 94.1% being males (2 SAM, 109 MAM, 1 LAM, total males 112); of the remaining 5.9 % of females, 50% were gravid (1 MAF and 6 LAF, total females 7). Three female toads were collected and left at the freezer at Newry Station for KTB. A couple of small juvenile toads (just >40mm) were found on the road between the first billabong and the homestead.
Most of the toads were located in the area of the
The Phantom Toad Buster
The Phantom Toad Buster
Hope you didn’t get drowned last night after I saw you.
The attached file will open in Mapsource (Garmin program) and shows all toads seen last night on the
The Phantom Toad Buster
The Phantom Toad Buster
3 TEAMS DAVE WOODS X2 T H CROSSING RECCY
ARLENE FOLEY X7 TH CROSSING
BOB WAINWRIGHT SCRAPES, MARKS TANK ,HAYES YARDS AND MENZIES TANK
AND RONNIE, NORMA AND NANETTE AND GARY MITCHELL from Perth
LEFT SATURDAY 9 AM, CHECKED THE GRAVEL PITS ON VIC HWY THEN HEADED TO MARKS DAM CHECKED FOR EGGS AND TADPOLES, THEN ON TO HAYES YARDS AND BORE THEN ON TO MENZIES TANK. MADE CAMP HERE IN BORE YARD AWAY FROM THE CATTLE TROUGHS, A LOT OF CATTLE IN AREA.
HARD NIGHT, STORM CAME IN NOT TO BAD, NOT A LOT OF ADULT TOADS WERE A BIT LATE ALREADY LAID AND GONE , MILLIONS OF TOADLETS , SPRAYED WITH DETTOL BUT NOT MUCH POSITIVE RESPONSE A LITTLE TO OLD I THINK, THIS WILL BE A MAIN AREA IN A FORTNIGHT OR SO.
A LOT OF SNAKES IN THIS AREA SO NEED TO BE CAUTIOUS AROUND 10 WERE SPOTTED, BREEDING SEASON IS ON, 1 BIG KING BROWN HERE, NOT A GOOD CAMP IF KIDS WITH US, AND 1 DEAD SNAKE.
FOLLOWING MORNING CHECKED HAYES TANK AND SEVERAL ADULT TOADS WERE FOUND, THIS WILL NEED TO BE CLEANED NEXT WEEKEND. NEED TO WATCH WEATHER AS ROAD WAS WET ON THE WAY OUT.
TOTAL TOADS CAUGHT 86
DAVE WOODS AND HIS CREW DID NOT MAKE IT OUT AS HE GOT CROOK
ARLENE AND HER CREW HEADED OUT TO MARKS DAM BUT GOT CAUGHT IN THE STORM AND RETURNED TO KNX.
NRM DOCO MATT RIEMER
5 FILM CREW
15 KIDS VOLUNTEERS
DROVE OUT TO KING BILLABONG TO FILM DOCO, LEE LEADING THIS GROUP, CAME IN FROM STATION.
HEAVY RAIN AND STORMS MADE IT A HARD NIGHT AND WE DECIDED TO MAKE DINNER AT ROADSIDE STOP UNTIL STORMS PASSED TO SEE WHAT IT WOULD DO WEATHER WISE, HAD BBQ, RAIN STOPPED SO FILMED THERE BUSTED AT KING BILLABONG , VERY WET ALL WENT WELL MARYANNES MOB DID WELL AND THEY RECORDED HER GROUP SINGING THERE SONG OF TOADS, KIDS HAD A BALL IN THE MUD , FILMING WENT WELL A BIT OF A SHOCK FOR THE CANBERRA MOB BUT ALL GOOD.HEADED HOME 12.30 AM LONG NIGHT.
460 TOADS CAUGHT AND SEXED AND DISECTED FOR THE CAMERA SARAH DID THIS, FILM CREW PLEASED WITH THE RESULTS.
3 RD NOVEMBER CATCH REPORT
WENDY CARTER LUKE PARKER QUEENIE + 6 KIDS
TIMBER CREEK AREA AROUND ROAD HOUSE, BUSTED ALL AREAS, STAYED AT CAMP GROUND
BUSTED 117 TOADS
TEAM 2 DAVE WOODS ARLENE FOLEY
Total 11 caught