Angela Sanders and I spent three long days this week exploring Monjebup Creek Reserve with contract botanist Libby Sandiford and volunteer Lynda Strahan.
With funding from our great supporters here at South Coast Natural Resource Management we were able to bring the survey forward into June. Which was perfect timing as it turned out. The weather was glorious, but perhaps most importantly, the roo ticks that can make life difficult through the warmer months were nowhere to be seen!
Monjebup Creek is a stunning addition to our portfolio of Fitz-Stirling reserves. We were reminded yet again of the extraordinarily fine grain of the landscape of our global biodiversity hotspot here in the south-west.
You move over very short distances across distinct and sudden boundaries from one vegetation system to another. A nightmare to map, but a delight to traverse. If you find yourself in a particularly scratchy and/or impenetrable system, you know that somewhere just a short distance ahead you'll emerge into something that's easier going.
Winter has most of the reptiles very quiet, but we stumbled across seven Malleefowl mounds, saw echidna diggings everywhere and spotted one in its lair in a breakaway.
We also came across tammar wallaby tracks in a salt pan and elsewhere, spotted flocks of hoary-headed grebes, a pelican, and a black-fronted plover on the creek. And we were entertained by the song of purple-gaped and tawny-crowned honeyeaters, western whipbirds, white-fronted chats, scrub and western yellow robins among many others.
Of particular interest were the scratchings of painted buttonquail everywhere in the dense stands of moort (Euclayptus platypus) - literally every square metre of litter was turned over across hectares of country.
How lucky are we to be looking after such abundant and beautiful places!