And the privilege of sleeping in a tent!
First field season is finally done. 5000 km and 12 national parks later I can now say that I have seen a small corner of the QLD and NSW rainforest. My surveys sites are spread across the remnants of the Gondwana rainforest, which one day used to cover (as the name says) the Gondwana.
Besides collecting eDNA samples from streams and listening for frogs, during this field season we also set temperature loggers to measure air and water temperature every two hours at each site.
These loggers will stay there until the end of all my surveys.
Although my plan was to find frogs, many other creatures were also out during the cold nights, including a koala walking to the stream to drink water when I was about to start the night survey. I wonder if I will find koala’s eDNA in my water samples!!
Speaking of cold nights, sleeping in a tent at so many national parks away from any technology distraction is really a privilege.
Although sometimes you go to sleep listening to dingos or feral pigs around, you are definitively waking up with the birds at 6 am, including some attacking your car.
I still don’t know if it was because they could see their reflection in the mirror or if I just chose a bad parking spot.
Another animal that wanted to destroy my car was a small mammal that found a warm place to sleep under the hood of the 4WD and decided to chew the injection wire (why not, right?).
Next morning I had to leave the field and drive in an emergency mode to the next service center, where the nicest mechanics were all curious about my frog research and eDNA sampling.
I also learned that those wires are strong enough to resist the engine heat, the car shaking, chemicals, or abrasions, but they are surprisingly not made for small marsupials or rodents strong teeth (and chewing wires is common in cars from people camping in cold places in the bush)!
Unfortunately, because of the lack of some strong storms, the “rain” forest was very dry in many areas and creeks from where I had to collect water had no drop left.
It was also sad to visit the lookouts to view a cloud of smoke instead of mountains.
The bushfires also caused the roads to be closed to one of the greatest creek on my list.
Now I am always checking the forecast to see if it is going to rain across QLD and NSW before my next field season starts.
Can’t wait to listen to this frog call again!
Thank you for the volunteers that joined me this time and I hope to see you next season.