Mountains, monsoons and mosquitoes: highlights from amphibian biologist Dr Jodi Rowley's diary of her recent field trip to Central Vietnam.

After our daily routine and afternoon meal, we headed through the forest to lower elevations and then up a narrow, steep-sided stream. It was thundering loudly but only spitting with rain at first, however it swiftly began pouring. The rain was so hard that it was hard to see far in front of your face, and the stream was opaque with mud so that you couldn’t tell how deep it was anywhere- you just had to guess, sometimes failing into a deep pool by surprise. The stream banks weren’t much better- slushy, slippery, red clay.

Although frogs are generally active and easy to find in light rain, that’s not the case in really heavy rain- frogs generally jump away from the stream or otherwise hide during monsoonal downpours such as this. We reached the top of the stream nearly empty handed (although with a couple of really stunning “golden” frogs found before the downpour), with no frogs in sight, and with the rain heavier than ever. We turned around and trudged slowly back to camp.

Golden Frog

I’m determined to climb one of the surrounding mountains tomorrow night and make up for this relatively unsuccessful, soggy night.