24 June 2012 – exploring Cape Point
After the success of yesterday’s frogging and the weather even predicted to be worse for today, we decided that we would target another local frog species for our challenge, Sand Rain Frog. We decided that Cape Point would be a reasonable option for them and made our way through there this morning at a leisurely rate arriving at the gate at 09h30. Fortunately, with frogs, there is no need to be up at the crack of dawn to find them which can become a little cumbersome in the middle of a Cape winter…:)
Being out in the field looking for critters is always so much more fun when you can share it with friends and today was no different. Pretty soon, we had met up with Cliff and Suretha Dorse, Barrie and Roselle Rose and Mike Buckham who would be joining us on our little quest. It was Mike’s first time in the field with us looking for frogs and reptiles (we had spent time birding together before) and so he was in for a bit of a baptism of fire!
Our first stop was at Bordjiesrif where it was raining lightly when we arrived. There were a handful of Sand Rain Frogs calling, but they were not yet vocal in numbers, possibly due to the fact that it was still early on in the rainy period or it might have just been too cold. Nevertheless, we bombed out on trying to find one here despite extensive searching, but our consolation prizes included a single Clicking Stream Frog and a handful of virtually frozen Knox’s Desert Lizards.
We then made our way down to Olifantsbos and found another site where there were a few Sand Rain Frogs calling. But, once again, we were faced with the same problems here and over the course of a couple of hours, we bummed out on finding any. With the few that were calling, the minute one got anywhere vaguely near to where they were calling from, they would shut up. Then a long wait would ensue to see if they would start calling again, but always ended up in disappointment as they remained quiet. Several other species were also calling in the general area like Clicking and Banded Stream Frogs, Flat Caco and Cape Peninsula Moss Frogs, but they were all in incredibly thick and virtually impenetrable vegetation and we didn’t waste too much time trying to look for them.
A lot of rock turning in the area produced quite a few Black Girdled Lizards, an endemic to the Cape. Most of these gorgeous black lizards were pretty cold and were happy to just sit still for photos, but unfortunately, the bit of rain that had fallen had made the sand quite wet and most of them were covered in the wet sand grains which were now sticking to them. The are also produced a couple of Cape Sand Toads and a single rather feisty Herald Snake which really showed off well for us.
Roselle had fortunately had the forethought to prepare a delicious picnic lunch for us and, after giving up on the frogs, we sat on the side of the road enjoying our lunch and coffee in the company of some Bonteboks. We then made another visit to Bordjiesrif, but the frogs were even quieter now, so we headed over to the Circular Drive. Here, there were a few Cape Mountain Rain Frogs calling, but once again, despite some intensive searching, we walked away empty-handed – just a few more Black Girdled Lizards and a couple of Marbled Leaf-toed Geckos were all we could find. Eventually, it was time to part ways and make our way back home. Unfortunately, no additions to our challenge list today, but still great to be out in the field today and to share it with some of our closest friends.