Skip to content

Patter Patter Boolcoomatta

Graeme Finlayson (Ecologist)
Published 26 Oct 2020 by Graeme Finlayson (Ecologist)

The words of poet CJ Dennis finally came to fruition after two-and-a-half years of relentless dry weather and dust out at Boolcoomatta, with nearly 100mm of rain falling in the last few weeks. It’s easy to appreciate the saying “just add water” after an event like this!

What were dry, dusty plains are now a vibrant green, covered in fast-growing annual vegetation and what we really want to see, the occasional grass seed head.

The bird life has sprung into top gear, with the metallic song of Brown Songlarks, bright splashes of red and yellow with energetic Crimson and Orange Chats, electric green and yellow Budgerigars strutting their stuff across the skies, the toy trumpet sounds of Zebra Finches ring out at any water and the penetrating screeches of Galahs, Corellas, and Cockatiels all echoing the excitement of what the rain has delivered.

There are already signs of breeding, clumsy young Emu chicks dashing alongside their father’s heel, a fluffy Wedge-tailed Eagle peers longingly over the edge of a strategically placed nest and Inland Dotteral chicks scatter around the plains when hit with the spotlight beam. 

There's something special about a decent rainfall in this part of the world, particularly after the last two years. It’s what it does to all our senses. At first there’s that unique smell of petrichor, that settling of dust and freshness to the air.

The change of colour is a real sight and makes you realise what an amazingly resilient landscape this is... just how does this seedbank stay dormant and survive for so long? Then the splash of colours as daisies, Swainson Peas, numerous flowering eremophilas and wattles are thrown into life, sending out a myriad of colours on to what was up until now a rather drab canvas.

The sounds that have been absent for so long. First the frogs, in that small window of opportunity to find a mate and make sure they continue as a species through that next unknown dry period.

Insects, the hum, the buzz, the annoying mosquito screech. Followed closely by the feeding frenzy by microbats and geckoes that dart across the windows in search of what has been a rare tasty morsal.

Walking across the plains, there’s also the sound of popping as you step on Pop Saltbush that has proliferated and thrown out succulent fruiting bodies that explode on impact.

During the day it’s hard to find a place without bird song, the morning chorus around the homestead, and the further you venture, the more species have found their song. These smells, sights and sounds all make this place so special after rain. There’s a renewed level of excitement, moods swing and it makes you realise just how extraordinary this place is.

The stark contrast in the Boolcoomatta homestead area pre- and post-rain.

The stark contrast in the Boolcoomatta homestead area pre- and post-rain.

 

Budgerigars. Budgerigars.
Eagle Rock watering hole. Eagle Rock watering hole.
The Homestead Dam provides a welcome relief to the warmer weather. The Homestead Dam provides a welcome relief to the warmer weather.
Inland Dotterals. Inland Dotterals.
Pop Saltbush – reminds me of childhood games with popping packaging plastic! Pop Saltbush – reminds me of childhood games with popping packaging plastic!
Swainson Peas litter the plains with vibrant colour. Swainson Peas litter the plains with vibrant colour.

Stories from Boolcoomatta

Bush Broadcast: Live from Boolcoomatta. Photo by Wayne Lawler

14/09/2023

Webinar: Live from Boolcoomatta

Join field staff and researchers working in South Australia's arid rangelands, as they chat about protecting this unique landscape and the Plains Wanderer.

Read More

BLOG 02/06/2023

Reduce, reuse, recycle this World Environment Day

For people living in cities and towns, rubbish removal is one of the many conveniences of life that we take for granted. We pop waste in our various bins and then wheel the bins out onto the road for the council trucks to pick up. But what about those who live remotely?

Read More
Plains Wanderer. Photo Andrea Tschirner.

BUSHTRACKS 17/10/2022

Songs of the plains

Despite their surprising choice of habitat, acoustic records of the critically endangered Plains Wanderer are on the rise at Boolcoomatta Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 24/08/2022

Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies bounce back to Boolcoomatta

Several Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies have been caught on camera at the Saddle on Boolcoomatta Reserve. They appear to be new residents as numbers increase in the Olary Ranges.

Read More
Plains-wanderer.

09/08/2022 09/08/2022

Plains-wanderer party: could this endangered species be on the rise in South Australia?

Could this endangered species be on the rise in South Australia? National conservation not-for-profit Bush Heritage Australia has recorded eleven critically endangered Plains-wanderers on its Boolcoomatta Reserve, Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali Country in South Australia during the most recent survey.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 25/03/2022

Kate Fitzherbert's happy place

Sitting with my sun-warmed back against the base of Dome Rock and gazing out over the vast plains of Boolcoomatta into the rays of the setting sun, is my happy place.

Read More

BLOG 22/03/2022

Soil conservation is critical on Boolcoomatta

Hydrological rehabilitation is a focus of our work at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We recently completed works at Wiperaminga Hills to stop water and soil moving off the property quickly, and hold it longer so it's available for fauna and flora.

Read More

BLOG 14/12/2021

When the floods came

October 2021 has delivered a significant rain event at Boolcoomatta Station Reserve. My family and I moved up to Boolcoomatta Station Reserve on Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali Country in mid-October 2021, to take up the role of managing this amazing property. 

Read More

BLOG 30/11/2021

Another Plains-wanderer sighted at Boolcoomatta

It’s small, brown and has a habit of flattening itself to the ground to avoid detection. Finding a Plains-wanderer is no easy feat.

Read More

BLOG 12/11/2021

The devastating impact of rabbits

The Conversation recently published an article about the devastating impact that rabbits have had and continue to exert on Australia plants, wildlife and landscapes.

Read More

BLOG 09/11/2021

Starting them young!

This year’s fauna monitoring at Boolcoomatta, also termed Critter Camp, was another success with a great bunch of volunteers gathering to peer inside traps for a week.

Read More

BLOG 11/06/2021

Monitoring vegetation cover remotely

I'm completing my PhD with the Spatial Sciences Group in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Adelaide in collaboration with Bush Heritage Australia. My research will be conducted at Bush Heritage’s Bon Bon and Boolcoomatta reserves in South Australian.

Read More

BLOG 02/02/2021

When the drought breaks

In Spring last year, drenching rains across South Australia ended a two-year drought for our Boolcoomatta Reserve, Adnyamathanha and Wilyakali country. The moisture transformed the arid landscape from brown to Irish green almost overnight.

Read More
Dome Rock on Boolcoomatta Reserve. Photo Craig Allen.

BUSHTRACKS 21/01/2021

A package from the bush

One of the questions we asked in the study was ‘are the wallabies, Euros and goats competing for the same food source? And we found a significant overlap in their diets.

Read More

BLOG 07/01/2021

A Boolcoomatta bush Christmas

After settling in for a three week stay as caretakers, we couldn’t wait to get out in the field at Boolcoomatta Reserve to see what had changed since the welcome spring rains had arrived. 

Read More

BLOG 18/12/2020

Birds boom at Boolcoomatta!

Earlier this month, Boolcoomatta Reserve staff had the pleasure of hosting five members of Birds South Australia to undertake bird surveys across the reserve. The dedicated volunteers came from all corners of the state to help. Several significant rainfall events in the lead up to the surveys broke a three-year dry spell, which meant that the team was greeted by a landscape in boom! The reserve had been transformed into a carpet of lush shrubs, wetlands and flowering eremophila. Needless to say, excitement levels were high as we divided up into teams, picked up datasheets and binoculars and set forth to the monitoring sites.

Read More

BLOG 17/12/2020

The impact of kangaroos on termites

I am a PhD student at the University of New South Wales investigating the indirect top-down effects of the absence of dingoes on ecosystems. One of my study sites includes Boolcoomatta Reserve west of Broken Hill in South Australia. One aspect I am particularly interested in is the impact of a release in predation pressure from dingoes on kangaroos.

Read More

BLOG 26/10/2020

Patter Patter Boolcoomatta

The words of CJ Dennis finally came to fruition after two-and-a-half years of relentless dry weather and dust out at Boolcoomatta, with nearly 100mm of rain falling in the last few weeks. It’s easy to appreciate the saying “just add water” after an event like this! What were dry, dusty plains are now a vibrant green, covered in fast-growing annual vegetation and what we really want to see, the occasional grass seed head.

Read More

BLOG 01/09/2020

Yellow-throated Miner trapping

In early August, research staff from South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water visited Boolcoomatta to conduct some Yellow-throated Miner trapping, as part of a project to investigate the genetics of its closely related cousin the Black-eared Miner, which is one of Australia’s rarest birds.

Read More

BLOG 06/08/2020

Dispatch from a volunteer

With Covid restrictions in South Australia relaxed a little, my husband Tony and I were lucky enough to spend three weeks in July volunteering at Boolcoomatta Reserve. We knew that there had been very little rain there over the past year and the magnificent River Red Gums were looking thirsty, as you would expect. What we didn’t expect was to see the profusion of wildflowers blooming in the gilgais out on the plains and in crevices on the rocky slopes. These bright little flowers bobbing in the breeze really brightened our time on the reserve. 

Read More

BLOG 23/07/2020

Gilgai country

Gilgais act as a source for the capture of water after rainfall events. Even during these dry times, the response in vegetation after a small amount of rain is most prominent around these gilgais. They provide micro-relief patches that catch seeds, leaf material, and are also the depressions that make shelter possible for the numerous little critters that inhabit the area.

Read More

BLOG 06/05/2020

Living & volunteering on Boolcoomatta

G’day! My name is Andrea, at the moment I am one of the few lucky volunteers who still gets to go to work on a Bush Heritage reserve, so I thought I’d take you along with me for a week.

Read More

BLOG 17/04/2020

Blissfully batty over bat calls

Bats have been getting a bad rap lately, but we think the critters are pretty amazing. The little (mostly) nocturnal mammals play a big role in biodiversity and can help us to understand more about the country.  

Read More

BLOG 16/04/2020

Purplewood Acacia monitoring

Purplewood trees provide habitat for species such as fairy-wrens and chirruping wedgebills and are a host for other important plants such as mistletoe. The ‘Purplewood Project’ was established to map and document the populations of Purplewood throughout Boolcoomatta Reserve.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 13/04/2020

My happy place (Kurt Tschirner)

This Red Gum is massive and many centuries old. It’s easy to imagine kids over hundreds of years past playing on and around it (as my daughters do now).

Read More

BLOG 04/10/2019

Weeds working bee at Boolcoomatta

In the second week of September 2019 I took the long road across the Barrier Highway and out to South Australia for 12 days of African Boxthorn control on Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 13/06/2019

From city to the country

Maureen and Richard Oborn had donated to us for many years, connected financially and via stories in our newsletters. But their engagement went to another level after visiting our Boolcoomatta Reserve in South Australia, and seeing how donor funds are put to use.

Read More

BLOG 10/05/2019

Bouncing bundle of joy at Boolcoomatta

On Friday 26th April, much to the delight of dedicated long-term volunteers, Tony and Meredith Geyer, a female Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby with a large joey was photographed on Eagle Rock just prior to sunset.

Read More

BLOG 15/04/2019

The next generation

From native apricots to wattle species to saltbush galore - plants at our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve are flowering and seeding, despite a dry season.

Read More

BLOG 18/06/2018

Hemlines & what they tell us

By hemlines I'm referring to the foliage crowns of bushes and trees that feral herbivores like to munch on. A quick assessment of the height of a browse line and its severity provides real-time information about the impact of feral herbivores and the need for appropriate management.

Read More

BLOG 15/10/2017

Volunteers vs weeds at Boolcoomatta

In September we had an amazing group of 11 volunteers make the long trek to our Boolcoomatta Station Reserve to help with vital weed management. The group were focused on our long-term management strategy to control the African Boxthorn and Pepper Trees in the beautiful Oonatra Creek system.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 04/10/2017

Close encounters

Spend enough time amongst Boolcoomatta Station Reserve’s sweeping native grasslands, and you could be lucky enough to encounter a Plains-wanderer.

Read More

BLOG 27/06/2017

Volunteers help combat cats

Keith Gooley and Peter Caulder are Bush Heritage volunteers with expertise in electronics and a passion for conservation. Keith and Peter are using these skills to help us address one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife on Boolcoomatta Reserve - feral cats.

Read More

BLOG 27/04/2017

Mapping cats at Boolcoomatta

Hi! I'm Emily and I'm a science intern here at Boolcoomatta Reserve in the arid rangelands of South Australia. My primary focus over the next two months is to collect data on the distribution of feral cats here.

Read More

BLOG 08/08/2016

Soil conservation at Boolcoomatta

Soil conservation is one of the ongoing challenges we have on all our reserves, some more than others. There's been much modification of the land over the past 200 years, with new animals roaming across the land, eating things and changing the soil structure and composition. This is the case at Boolcoomatta Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 29/03/2016

10-Year Anniversary of Boolcoomatta

Ten years ago on the 27th March 2006, Bush Heritage Australia became the custodians of Boolcoomatta Station, now Boolcoomatta Station Reserve. On Sunday (ten years to the day) we hosted a gathering to mark the occasion.

Read More

BLOG 18/01/2016

Layers of the land

Many thousands of generations walked over this land before we arrived to now share the responsibility of caretaking it for future generations. We work collaboratively now to find the necessary balance of production, preservation and use for recreation and inspiration.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

John’s lasting legacy at Boolcoomatta

It was an emotional moment for Meredith Geyer and her family as they arrived at South Australia's Boolcoomatta Reserve and entered the renovated shearers' quarters. Fixed to the wall beside the fireplace is a stained timber board acknowledging the generous donors and benefactors who have helped to fund Bush Heritage's work at Boolcoomatta. Meredith's father, John Weightman, who passed away two years ago, is the latest name to be included on the plaque.

Read More

BLOG 22/07/2015

Where there's a Will there's a way

On a recent bequest supporter trip to Boolcoomatta, Reserve Manager and tour guide extraordinaire, Glen Norris was leading a convoy of four cars when he stopped and radioed this eerie observation back to those following: "We are being watched".

Read More

BLOG 09/07/2015

Nantawarrina 'warndu mai'

The Adnyamathanha people are the Traditional Owners of the lands extending from the far north Flinders Ranges in South Australia to Boolcoomatta Station Reserve near Broken Hill. In 1998 the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), which covers 58,000 hectares of their land, was the first indigenous protected area to be declared in the country.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 20/03/2015

New feral monitoring data

A new long-term monitoring program using remote infra-red cameras on both Boolcoomatta and our Bon Bon Reserve will help protect vulnerable natives such as the plains wanderer from feral foxes and cats.

Read More

BLOG 16/02/2015

Using your grey matter on Boolcoomatta

Drive one hour west of Broken Hill. Drive past the backdrop of Mad Max II, past feral goats and frantic emus. Drive down a dirt track, cross three cattle grids and you'll reach Bush Heritage's Boolcoomatta Station Reserve.

Read More

Plains-wanderer sighting at Boolcoomatta

They're small, well-camouflaged and there's estimated to be less than 1000 remaining in the wild. So imagine our surprise when last week our Arid Rangelands ecologist Graeme Finlayson spotted not one, not two, but THREE critically endangered Plains-wanderer birds while driving around our Boolcoomatta Reserve!

Read More
Loading...
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}