Coming to Eurardy & the Western Rangelands

about  Eurardy Reserve  
on 10 Aug 2015 
Splendid Fairy-wren. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>These stunning birds can be seen all over Eurardy, Splendid Fairy-wren. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
These stunning birds can be seen all over Eurardy,
Tree Dtella. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>One of the geckos common around the homestead buildings. Tree Dtella. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
One of the geckos common around the homestead buildings.
Perentie. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Australia's largest lizard and third largest in the world. Perentie. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
Australia's largest lizard and third largest in the world.
Stromatolite sunset. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>The stromatolites at Hamelin pool make an excellent setting to watch the sun go down. Stromatolite sunset. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
The stromatolites at Hamelin pool make an excellent setting to watch the sun go down.
Rain! Rain transforms the homestead yard into one big puddle, Photo by Ben Parkhurst<br/> Rain! Rain transforms the homestead yard into one big puddle, Photo by Ben Parkhurst
Stick-nest Rat nest. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>All that is left of the locally extinct Stick-nest Rat, a nest preserved from the weather in a cave. Stick-nest Rat nest. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
All that is left of the locally extinct Stick-nest Rat, a nest preserved from the weather in a cave.
Wheatbelt Frog. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Frogs have emerged to breed and can be heard throughout the night, Wheatbelt Frog. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
Frogs have emerged to breed and can be heard throughout the night,
White-necked Heron. Photo by Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Waterbirds such as these have become a common feature at Eurardy. White-necked Heron. Photo by Ben Parkhurst.
Waterbirds such as these have become a common feature at Eurardy.

After moving to Eurardy Reserve to work as an ecologist on the Bush Heritage reserves in the Western Rangelands, my wife and I have been settling in and making it our new home. We’ve spent our time getting to know the landscape and its spectacular array of wildlife and plants. From the stunning Red-tailed Black Cockatoos that welcome you home as you drive through the gate to the gorgeous Splendid Fairy Wrens as you wander near the homestead and the Black-breasted Buzzards that circle overhead as you drive along the sandy tracks of the reserve.  As well as some of the reptiles that share the areas around the homestead with us.

Coming to the Western Australian rangelands I was expecting to arrive at a fairly arid part of the world. Instead my first few months have been full of rain! After receiving well over our annual average rainfall since the beginning of the year, Eurardy is dotted with small lakes. Water birds such as Swans, White-necked Herons, Black-winged Stilts and Darters are now common in the inundated areas and there has even been a Pelican spotted on the lake near the driveway.  At night the frogs chorus outside the bedroom window. The Mallee has started to show some colour as the wildflowers put in an early appearance for what is bound to be a spectacular season over the coming months!

 I’ve already had the opportunity to meet some of the locals and volunteers. It was great to have Len and Val Warren, long term volunteers, visit for sand pad monitoring and to hear about some of their experiences at Eurardy. Now I’m looking forward to a busy spring season and the opportunity to meet more volunteers and contributors with surveys scheduled for Eurardy, Charles Darwin and Hamelin Reserves.

I’ve also been able to experience some special places including my first visits to Charles Darwin and Hamelin. On my first visit to the newly acquired Hamelin Reserve I saw my first Perentie, Australia’s biggest lizard, while surveying water points for weeds. Another highlight was watching the sun set over the stromatolites, the oldest form of life on earth! While on my first visit to Charles Darwin Reserve I was lucky enough to encounter a Malleefowl on my second day and felt privileged and sad to see the preserved nest of extinct Stick-nest Rats tucked into a cave in one of the breakaways.

It’s been an exciting and busy first few months getting to know the reserve, the region and so many great people and I’m thoroughly looking forward to living and working here. Thanks so much to everyone who has welcomed me on board and to Bush Heritage for giving me this fantastic opportunity.

Tree Dtella. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>One of the geckos common around the homestead buildings. Tree Dtella. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
One of the geckos common around the homestead buildings.
Perentie. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Australia's largest lizard and third largest in the world. Perentie. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
Australia's largest lizard and third largest in the world.
Stromatolite sunset. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>The stromatolites at Hamelin pool make an excellent setting to watch the sun go down. Stromatolite sunset. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
The stromatolites at Hamelin pool make an excellent setting to watch the sun go down.
Rain! Rain transforms the homestead yard into one big puddle, Photo by Ben Parkhurst<br/> Rain! Rain transforms the homestead yard into one big puddle, Photo by Ben Parkhurst
Stick-nest Rat nest. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>All that is left of the locally extinct Stick-nest Rat, a nest preserved from the weather in a cave. Stick-nest Rat nest. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
All that is left of the locally extinct Stick-nest Rat, a nest preserved from the weather in a cave.
Wheatbelt Frog. Photo Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Frogs have emerged to breed and can be heard throughout the night, Wheatbelt Frog. Photo Ben Parkhurst.
Frogs have emerged to breed and can be heard throughout the night,
White-necked Heron. Photo by Ben Parkhurst.<br/>Waterbirds such as these have become a common feature at Eurardy. White-necked Heron. Photo by Ben Parkhurst.
Waterbirds such as these have become a common feature at Eurardy.
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