Caretaking at Bon Bon

Guest bloggers
Published 24 Dec 2019 
by Jane  
about  Bon Bon Station Reserve  
Blue Bonnets<br/> Blue Bonnets
Welcome to Bon-Bon Station Reserve<br/> Welcome to Bon-Bon Station Reserve
Fence removal enables Emus to move freely.<br/> Fence removal enables Emus to move freely.
Fence removal<br/> Fence removal
Fence removal<br/> Fence removal
Ronnie off-loading wire rolls taken up during fence removal<br/> Ronnie off-loading wire rolls taken up during fence removal
Fence removal enables Kangaroos to move freely.<br/> Fence removal enables Kangaroos to move freely.
A local Bobtail Skink<br/> A local Bobtail Skink
Western Myall Acacia<br/> Western Myall Acacia
Sand pad monitoring with Reserve Manager, Clint Taylor<br/> Sand pad monitoring with Reserve Manager, Clint Taylor
Jane and Ronnie working hard<br/> Jane and Ronnie working hard
The Coober Pedy bookstore was well worth a visit<br/> The Coober Pedy bookstore was well worth a visit
Beautiful breakaway country on the Reserve<br/> Beautiful breakaway country on the Reserve
What species of volunteer is this?!<br/> What species of volunteer is this?!
Bourkes Parrot<br/> Bourkes Parrot
Crested Pigeons!<br/> Crested Pigeons!
Crested Pigeon<br/> Crested Pigeon
Mulga Parrots<br/> Mulga Parrots
Splendid Fairy Wren<br/> Splendid Fairy Wren

Many great blogs have been written about Bon Bon Station Reserve since it was acquired by Bush Heritage Australia just over a decade ago, and these were a great source of information for me before volunteering there for the first time. This was Ronnie’s fourth visit to work on Bon Bon and with his experience and my enthusiasm we undertook the role of caretakers during the last month of winter.

With only 25 mm of rain recorded at the homestead for the year, conditions were dry, though over a few mornings dew hung on the vegetation and a little rain fell – just enough to encourage some early spring growth and flowering on the Eremophila bushes.

Though the days were warm, the nights were still cool and only a few lizard species were seen. The clear and warm conditions, however, were near-perfect for us to work our way through the job list Clint and Kate had left for us.

Particularly satisfying was the task of removing wire stock fences which impede the movement of kangaroos and emus. Our objective was to finish dismantling approximately 5km of fencing along Tea Tree Track through to Hidden Lake … and we made it!

To my surprise I found removing the ring-lock and plain wire variously fun, meditative and challenging, as I discovered no two lengths of old wire are the same, with each seeming to have a life and mind of its own! It seemed to me the range of pings and squeaks produced as we wrangled the metal into manageable rolls drew birds in for a closer look at the source of the strange sounds.

We either saw or heard fairy wrens, whitefaces, wedgebills and honeyeaters in particular. I kept my binoculars strung around me and saw many new species for the first time. Commonly seen were Black-faced Woodswallows, Southern Whitefaces, Mulga, Bourke’s and Blue Bonnet parrots, while Crested Bellbirds and Chiming Wedgebills were heard.

In addition to the birdlife were the very beautiful Western Myall Acacia trees. These can be centuries old and over time the huge boughs can reach out and down to the ground before curving back up again.

Other activities we were involved with included fox baiting and sand-pad monitoring over a 75km loop, and the recovery of a collar-tracked fox that had travelled 140km from Bon Bon to a station further north.

During our stay Field Officer Janet Walton also showed us how erosion can spread either side of dirt roads and tracks due to the development of windrow formations, which alter surface water flows over the landscape. Rehabilitation work includes packing eroded areas (gully heads) with branches to trap sediments and seeds to ultimately re-establish vegetation.

A section of the old Stuart Highway runs through Bon Bon as the unsealed road once used to connect various stations. Earthworks to remove windrows and create ‘whoa boys’ (earth humps) across the road has reduced water funnelling down the road ruts, instead redirecting flows out over the landscape.

The book ‘Kingoonya, A Way of Life’ by Robert J. Munro kept in the Overseer’s Cottage provided an historical account and photographs of the area including Bon Bon Station since European settlement. During our stay we travelled to the south-west corner of the reserve to check the boundary fence and incorporated a visit to what remains of the nearby settlement of Kingoonya.

We also headed north to Coober Pedy for supplies and came away with yet more from the Underground Bookshop which is well-worth a visit.

I really look forward to returning again over the years as the seasons and the efforts of Bush Heritage brings changes to the diverse landscape, vegetation and wildlife of beautiful Bon Bon Station Reserve.

Welcome to Bon-Bon Station Reserve<br/> Welcome to Bon-Bon Station Reserve
Fence removal enables Emus to move freely.<br/> Fence removal enables Emus to move freely.
Fence removal<br/> Fence removal
Fence removal<br/> Fence removal
Ronnie off-loading wire rolls taken up during fence removal<br/> Ronnie off-loading wire rolls taken up during fence removal
Fence removal enables Kangaroos to move freely.<br/> Fence removal enables Kangaroos to move freely.
A local Bobtail Skink<br/> A local Bobtail Skink
Western Myall Acacia<br/> Western Myall Acacia
Sand pad monitoring with Reserve Manager, Clint Taylor<br/> Sand pad monitoring with Reserve Manager, Clint Taylor
Jane and Ronnie working hard<br/> Jane and Ronnie working hard
The Coober Pedy bookstore was well worth a visit<br/> The Coober Pedy bookstore was well worth a visit
Beautiful breakaway country on the Reserve<br/> Beautiful breakaway country on the Reserve
What species of volunteer is this?!<br/> What species of volunteer is this?!
Bourkes Parrot<br/> Bourkes Parrot
Crested Pigeons!<br/> Crested Pigeons!
Crested Pigeon<br/> Crested Pigeon
Mulga Parrots<br/> Mulga Parrots
Splendid Fairy Wren<br/> Splendid Fairy Wren