Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mororo Toadbust - Friday 25/02/11

My goodness me - it has taken me 2 hours to load all of the toad busting data from Woombah, Townsend and now this one. How great it is to have coordinators in three other areas - thank you!

Well, I went out last Friday night and was met by the Warregah Warriors (Bevan's rent-a-crowd), the Townsend Tigersnakes (Jo and Mel) and many others! We welcomed two new members from Woombah, Darrin and Kaitlin, though Kaitlin was not up for touching a toad just yet.

Kaitlin's spirit is willing, but the hands just won't do it! Lucky Dad is keen.
After sending a sick Kath home, we went down McCondle Island Rd in two teams. My team raced to the end of the road and through the gate to assess whether cane toads had spread up through into Chatsworth SCA or further. The good news was there were no toads at all past the half moon wetland. This is very exciting as hopefully we are keeping them out of Mangrove Creek.

The bad news was that there were 20 males at least sitting in the half moon wetland calling that we could not reach. I need to return with my waders (Mel offered her husband's jetski!) and pluck them off. We found another similar wetland on the way back (now called Kaitlin's wetland) that requires the waders and/or jetski.
Some large toads from the Mororo area.
Bevan, Rob, Simone and Sharon D swept along the road from the grid and collected a massive 119 toads. Our crew only bagged 36 but I was beaming from the results at the end of the road. I picked up toads further along last year so I'm hoping we are seeing a small win there. Time will tell. We need these little rays of sunshine! All up 155 toads and a good night. Cheers, Sharon.

Report from the Townsend Tigersnakes - 26/02/11

Townsend Tigersnakes 25th and 26th Feb

The Townsend Tigersnakes have had a BIG weekend!

We popped out to Brooms Head on Friday night and scooped up 109 toads in 35mins at the Bowling Club!! Awesome.

Saturday night we needed to get our quota for the DNA study so we hit Townsend. What a great night, Mel and Jared started at Townsend and scored 47 toads in less than an hour! That seemed like a teaser so Torsten and I joined them and we went out to Red Cliff for a drive thru. We stayed on the roads the whole time and they were just everywhere, we ended up getting 201 toads on a full circuit of Red Cliff.

It was a bumper weekend for us with 357 toads caught all up! Yay!

Now its time to have a rest so we can do it all again next week.


Jo, Mel, Jared and Torsten.

Mel and Jared compare toads. Photo: Jo Vestergaard.
These large cane toads were found in the Townsend area Feb 2011. Photo: Jo Vestergaard.

Townsend Tiger Snakes launch assault

Jo and Mel are proving to be a force to be reckoned with and I think there would be many toads quaking in their little amphibian flippers in the Townsend area. These girls attended and helped out at the Yamba Roundup Sunday 20th Feb (oh the humidity!) and then dropped into Carrs Drive on the way home for a little more toadin'!! 13 toads picked up there. They then went out wednesday 23/02 and picked up 8 toads in the Townsend area,  Toads - you have been warned. The Townsend Tigersnakes are out of the bag.

New CIA member Mel's son ready for action at the Yamba Roundup.

Woombah toads get hammered by Woombah Wildcats!

Bob and his team of secret CIA operatives have been hitting Woombah hard. They have been out twice last week and bagged a huge 110 cane toads in 2 nights - well done Wildcats!! Here are a few toad photos that Bob has sent thru.

Cane toads harvested at Woombah, Feb 2011. Photo: Bob Ahern

Cane toad from the Woombah area. Photo: Bob Ahern

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mini Myna Meeting - 16/02/11

Our Myna group had a mini myna meeting last Wednesday, which really helped to kick things off. Laura has agreed to be the Myna Trap Coordinator (hooray!) and has spent days calling people who had council traps and setting up the new system and new traps.

Frederick is going to be the Myna Data Collector, Pam has been developing some notes for public trappers and Pop has produced a magnificent trap. Gina, Kevin, Scott and myself were also there, so thank you to all the myna people who came along to get this rolling. We are still developing our "systems of operations" but I am confident we will get there. I am so appreciative of everyone picthing in and taking on roles. Thank you.

And it looks like Laura may have negotiated a deal with Acmena to make new traps for us. We are in urgent need of myna traps so this will work nicely. Cheers, Sharon.

CVCIA Toad Tally surpassess 2,000

The CIA Landcare volunteers have now picked up over 2,000 cane toads this season (ie. since July 2010). Well done team. February has been a huge month for us all. Sharon.

Toadbust 12 - Warregah Island - 18/02/11

The new "Warregah Warriors" went out last Friday night while I stayed at home and had a glass of wine on the lounge with my husband - ahhh. To tell the truth, the Rugby was on so I did some work while TMUHITW ("The Most Understanding Husband In The World" as everyone else calls him) wondered what I was doing at home on a Friday night! The glass of wine part was true...

Anyway, back to the Warregah Warriors - Ant, Bevan, Rob, Beth, Sharon R and Bernie went out with local landholder and toad hater Graham again and bagged a massive 86 cane toads. Ant reports catching another 4 large female toads and some access issues again - deep water and thick vegetation in some areas.

Well done guys! Cheers, Sharon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Toadbust 11 - 12/02/11 - Woombah report

Now we are talking! 3 teams out in 3 different areas in one weekend. I'm sleeping a little better this week ;).
Bob sent in this report:

"We had Marie, Brian and myself plus two landholders on the chase, which worked out quite well, with plenty of excitement at the number of catches. We only missed about 5-6 toads, which was pretty good. The numbers collected for the night, which was around three properties off Island View Rd and dam area ... 110 toads in 2 hrs. We may have a night during the week and/or next Saturday night to try and catch up on Garretts Lane area and Goodwood Island area, see how the weather goes?? and chasers, till next time it 'RRRibitt from Toad Haul alias BOB".

Toad Haul! How did I not think of that?! Great work Woombah crew. So toadbusters, if you are looking for something to do next weekend you could go to Warregah Island Friday night, Woombah Saturday night or Yamba Roundup Sunday night. Or you could do all three!! Cheers, Sharon.

Toadbust 10 - Lake Arragan - 12/02/11

Jo headed out to Lake Arragan with new member Mel Saturday night and bagged a whopping 118 toads! They saw 2 dingoes and a white-crowned snake. What else would you do on a Saturday night?! Way to go girls!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Toadbust 9 - 11/02/11 - Warregah Island

Tonight was the night to hand over Warregah Island to Bevan, Rob and Ant. We had 10 recruits, which was a great roll up. Laura and Kevin came along to check out what a toadbust involves, after spending hours that day fixing dodgy myna traps, mind you! What wonderful CIA Landcare volunteers you guys are, thank you. I'm not sure if they will come back after facing Kath's Drain of Terror, which claimed another victim, Simone (karma baby).

Graham, one of the local landowners, reported how the toads had exploded on the island since the rains. Graham does a great deal of his own control and welcomed the assistance of our crew. He took Ant, Sharon D, Colby and Bethany on a tour of the western side of the island and Ant came back shaking his head saying "there are a lot of toads out there".
Colby and Bethany, Junior CIA Landcare members are concerned that we do not have enough volunteers to tackle the toads. (I actually told them to look like their teacher had just told them they had 3 assignments due tomorrow!)
When I pulled up to meet Graham, he was waiting for us on his verandah and watched as I pulled up and ran over his favourite big green tree frog (which screamed). Luckily, the fellow deserved an Oscar and was found safe and sound under the grid. I had just frightened the green out of him. Phew!

We bagged 132 toads all up, which pushes our CIA toads picked up number to 1,735 toads! Not bad considering we had a slow start to the season with all the rains, floods and general fantastic toad breeding conditions going on. But the toads we got were big - only 10 juveniles bagged and we saw a few patches of tadpoles. We bagged 17 females that were at least 3 years old and over 30 male toads that were 2 years and older.

Funniest moment of the night was Simone working out how the toads kept getting out of her net - she had a hole in it! Best moment of the night was Bevan and Ant saying they want to go back next friday night to hit it again. My eyes welled up with tears - she's all yours boys - go for it!!

Spotted-tailed Quoll

I found this guy yesterday on Rogans Bridge Road near Copmanhurst. Roadkill Spotted-tailed Quoll - mainland Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial and threatened in NSW (vulnerable). These guys are most at risk from cane toad invasion. Poor critter - he ended up in the freezer at NPWS so the museum can use him for research if needed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Toadbust 8 - 5/02/11 - Townsend

Well, the planets finally aligned and Jo V and I were able to go out on the same night at Townsend, such a critical area of cane toad expansion. We bagged 51 cane toads, including some large 3 yo males and females, but more importantly, it was an excellent reconnaisance mission for us both to set Jo up to run her own toadbusts and also to meet new landholders and discover new areas where the cane toads might be breeding in that bush area between the cemetery and Gardiners Rd.

Jo V inspects a large male cane toad found in the Townsend area.
The biggest win of the night was the motorcross bike crew having a race day planned for Sunday, thus there were many willing cane toad busters that night who were camped Saturday night. The thousands of tyres surrounding the (awesomely fun-looking!) bike track are providing excellent daytime hides for the cane toads but on a good note, we did not find any evidence of toads using the water hole at the bike track (lots of noisy Peron's Tree Frogs though).

We then headed to George's place and bagged the other half of our toads. Grossest moment of the night was Jo finding a heap of cane toads gathered on top of an old roo carcass, feasting on the bugs. Eeewww.

Both being snake people, we were most disappointed to not see any snakes because boy, was it humid! We both said we reckon we lost 5 kgs that night! Thanks Jo. Go forth in Townsend and kick some toad butt.

Cheers, Sharon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Toadbust 7 - Woombah - 29/1/11

Well done Woombah guys! Bob led a mighty crew of 6 volunteers out at Woombah last Saturday night and caught an impressive 48 toads. Some new volunteers as well. And the last word is from Bob... ribbit!