We were walking under a mosaic of sky, across a prominent granite outcrop pocked with pools of sky-reflecting rainwater and tufty mosses and gnarly tea trees (Melaleuca sp.). The silvered vault was split by curtains of rain blasting in and gusting away across the paddocks, feathering the trees. Another typical day filled with cloudbursts! We were on our weekly family trek exploring our land, which lately has brought us here to monitor the lifecycle saga of our indigenous frogs, amid the superabundance of water.
The boys darted up ahead to try to dam the flow above the waterfall. My tadpole catcher stalked tadpoles. At every step hundreds darted into the shelter of submerged mosses. A raft of frogspawn clung to a few spikes. Miraculous that a frog will grow out of these miniature beads of nutrient jelly! Thousands of eggs anticipating thousands of tadpoles, so many already visible across this wet expanse of rock. The tadpole hunter discovered a section of frogpoles, which is what we call them at the stage when they have both legs and tail. They are so tiny and so perfectly formed. They whirled off into the refuge of the mossy green.
Frogs are bioindicator species, thriving only in suitably clean habitats, and their abundance here is further testimony to the purity of this place. Our water is so clean, we “drink from our roof”. Where else can you drink unfiltered rainwater, knowing that it is untouched by any pollution including radioactivity? This very water will course underground providing sustenance to our non-irrigated vines. And frogs have established themselves in the vineyard as well. You can hear them chirumping away, in joyful counterpoint to the Indian Ocean’s thunder.