Skip to content

Some like it HOT

Published 01 Mar 2022 by Gail Holt (volunteer)

My husband Rex and I recently did 3 weeks caretaking over Christmas/New Year at Eurardy Reserve in WA’s mid-west region. It had been 5 years since we had last been to Eurardy, and we were both impressed with how much work the new Reserve Manager, Sam Fischer, has already done around the property. We also checked out the extensive reveg areas that have been a huge and ambitious program of works at Eurardy over the last couple of years.

We knew it would be hot at this time of year but were unprepared for the heatwave we had during our stay.

It was 45º the day we arrived, 45º the day we left, and lurching between 40º and 50º every day of our stay except for 3 days towards the end that were only in the balmy low 30s. Whew!

Our daily routine began with a weather check, and logging in to the Field Safety System. On almost every day of our stay the fire weather warning for our area was either ‘catastrophic’ or ‘extreme’, which limited movement on the property and what outdoor tasks we could tackle. 

Just to be sure, on most mornings I used to go out very early and check the sky in all directions for any signs of smoke, check wind direction, and have a good old sniff to see if I could smell any smoke on the wind as well. No harm in being vigilant!

We quickly settled into a work schedule that began very early in the morning to take advantage of the coolest part of the day. We also became creative with the resources we had on hand - for example the chooks needed a bit of TLC in this heat, they were looking pretty heat-stressed, so I started storing their drinking water in large containers in the cool air-conditioned solar power battery room near their shed, and used this cool water to fill their chook house drinking bucket.

Rex rolled his eyes a bit but I also did a mid-day run to put ice blocks (and sometimes some slices of cucumber!) into the chook's drinking water. You may laugh, but I did keep getting eggs even in the extreme heat which was pretty amazing!

One day I was surprised to find a bird in the chook house which I thought was a Bush Stone Curlew - it must have come in for water and/or food. It stayed all afternoon but flew out in the evening when I put the chooks to bed. The next morning at 4am I heard its eerie, mournful call echoing in the distance. I’ve never actually seen a Curlew before, and as I managed to get a photo I sent it off to our ecologist Ben Parkhurst to ID. He confirmed that indeed it was a Curlew and also told us that they are not common around Eurardy.

The extreme heat brought a lot of birds in to the water troughs. It also killed some budgies that simply fell out of the tree dead, so I set up an extra water bath in our yard for the smaller birds, on the ground in the shade under the tree.

I was rewarded by seeing loads of birds come in to have a bath and drink, including Pied Butcher Birds, beautiful Blue Breasted Fairy-wrens (or Variegated Fairy-wrens, not sure), budgies, honeyeaters, Magpie Larks, and I even saw the local Brown Goshawk just standing in the middle of the bath! 

The outside tall water trough was constantly in use by the regulars - tall Emus, Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Mulga Parrots, Ringnecks, Galahs, Crested Pigeons, honeyeaters, goshawks, Zebra Finches and Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes.

During our stay we took the opportunity to drive up to Hamelin Reserve to have lunch with Reserve Managers Ken and Michelle Judd. It was great to catch up with them, hear all their news and plans, and see all the fantastic work they continue to do on reserve.

The extreme heat limited the hours that we could effectively work each day - after about 11am it was just too hot to work outside, even in the shade.  The catastrophic and extreme fire weather warnings also limited the type of work we could undertake, but despite this we were happy to have completed the main jobs listed on the worksheet, and the chooks all survived! 

Sam and his partner Stella arrived back from a well-deserved holiday and it was lovely to finally meet them and chat in person. Then it was exit handover and back home.

A Bush Stone Curlew was an uncommon visitor. A Bush Stone Curlew was an uncommon visitor.
Emus drinking from the 'tall trough' at Eurardy. Emus drinking from the 'tall trough' at Eurardy.
A flock of Emus gathered near a water trough. A flock of Emus gathered near a water trough.
The letterbox is a retired fridge but it wasn't much help in the heat. The letterbox is a retired fridge but it wasn't much help in the heat.
This Brown Goshawk came to stand in the bird bath. This Brown Goshawk came to stand in the bird bath.
Setting up a wire tree guard. We did most of our work in the mornings before the heat of the day set in. Setting up a wire tree guard. We did most of our work in the mornings before the heat of the day set in.

Stories from Eurardy

An everlasting flower in sandy soil.

31/10/2023 31/10/2023

The trials and tribulations of mid-west wildflowers

Our team at Eurardy, in mid-north Western Australia, Nanda Country, are leading an innovative project to demonstrate how we restore the iconic understory of annual wildflowers. This pilot project ‘Re-wilding the mid-west: Bringing wildflowers back to country’ is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government's State NRM Program.

Read More
Seedlings for revegetation work.

16/08/2023 16/08/2023

An update on Eurardy's 1 million tree project

On Eurardy Reserve, Nanda Country, Western Australia, a project began four years ago to plant one million trees and shrubs. In 2019 we partnered with Carbon Positive Australia, a WA-based charity, to create the largest revegetation project in Bush Heritage's history.

Read More

BLOG 11/11/2022

Recycling provides new homes for native animals

Tenaya Duncan, Conservation and Wildlife Biology PhD student at Murdoch University, is using salvaged pallets, fence posts and corrugated iron in a unique way – as homes for native wildlife on our reserves!

Read More

BLOG 12/10/2022

Southern Sandhill Frog calls recorded for the first time at Eurardy!

While most people wouldn’t want to hear squelchy farts while they relax with a glass of wine, Sam was thrilled. He suspected that it could be the sound of a Southern Sandhill Frog (Arenophryne xiphorhyncha).

Read More

BLOG 01/06/2022

Bat monitoring in revegetation

An extensive revegetation project has been underway for the three years at Eurardy Reserve (mid-west WA). We want to know if bats are present in this new planting. Our volunteer assignment was primarily to set everything up to start recording bat activity over the coming months (and maybe years).

Read More

BLOG 06/01/2022

Restoration improves biodiversity & soil

Vegetation clearing for new agricultural land continues to cause environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and increased carbon emissions. But there are also large swathes of land no longer used for agriculture with potential to be remediated.

Read More

BLOG 28/09/2021

Playing the restoration long game

Scientific research into ecological restoration has traditionally focused on plants and animals. But what about what’s in the soil?

Read More

BLOG 13/07/2021

Quoll patrol 🐾

When it rains, it pours! We recently discovered four Western Quolls (Dasyurus geoffroii) on monitoring cameras at two of our midwest Western Australian reserves over the space of two weeks.

Read More
ichard McLellan is monitoring Sandalwood at Hamelin Reserve. Photo Shayne Thomson.

BUSHTRACKS 18/06/2021

The Great Sandalwood Transect

Across a 1500km arc from the Gibson Desert to Shark Bay, researcher Richard McLellan is uncovering the ecological and cultural value of sandalwood.

Read More

BLOG 28/05/2021

Ecosystem restoration focus of $500,000 Volkswagen donation

The funding will be directed to our on-ground conservation work in three states.

Read More

BLOG 10/05/2021

Chuditch cam!

A Western Quoll has been picked up on monitoring cameras at Eurardy Reserve on Nhanda country in WA for the very first time.

Read More

BLOG 31/10/2019

Birds and burrs at Eurardy Reserve

Volunteer Jan describes her time at Eurardy Reserve this spring. From tackling the double gees and cape weed, to hearing a juvenile Pied Butcher Bird learning its song, read on for a week in the life of a Bush Heritage Australia volunteer.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 17/09/2019

The one million tree project

As Bush Heritage ecologist Ben Parkhurst, his wife Tina Schroeder and their 10-month-old son Liam look on, the first of over 36,000 native seedlings are planted in the loamy, moist soil as part of the first phase of an ambitious project that will eventually see over 1350 hectares of cleared land on Eurardy restored.

Read More

BLOG 01/07/2019

Swept away by Santalaceae

Ecologist Georgina Gould-Hardwick writes about her time spent submersing herself into Santalaceae science at our Eurardy and Charles Darwin Reserves.

Read More

BLOG 25/03/2019

Mad for Malleefowl

There are around 30 known Malleefowl mounds dotted across Eurardy Reserve's 30,000 hectares, but no active mounds recorded in the past decade - until now.

Read More

BLOG 07/09/2018

Eurardy orchids

What pops into your head when you think of orchids? Large tropical ornamental house plants? Did you know that there are a wide range of orchids native to Australia? Even here at Eurardy Reserve, in this semi-arid country we have recorded more than 25 species. As it's threatened species week we're going to highlight 3 that call Eurardy home.

Read More

BLOG 16/08/2018

Frogs galore (and mice) at Eurardy

With small animal monitoring currently happening at Eurardy Reserve in cooler weather than previous years, we've seen a shift in the species we might normally expect to catch.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 27/03/2018

Eye in the sky

On Charles Darwin and Eurardy reserves in Western Australia, the innovative use of a remote sensing technology is marking the start of a new era in Malleefowl monitoring.

Read More

BLOG 22/09/2017

Lots of life in the Eurardy surveys

Never one to let a chance go by (well, not if I can help it), I recently took a few days of annual leave from my 'day job' to volunteer for this year's Ecological Outcomes Monitoring surveys on Eurardy Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 04/09/2017

National monitoring at Eurardy Reserve

When Australia's national environmental monitoring agency, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), expanded their WA AusPlots network, Bush Heritage ecologists seized the opportunity to include Eurardy Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 19/02/2017

Restoring York gum woodlands

When my husband, Ben, and I decided to make the move to Eurardy Reserve in WA I was in the middle of searching for a research topic so I could start a PhD. I've landed on a project investigating the recovery of York Gum Woodlands in the mid-west.

Read More

BLOG 22/07/2016

Restoration & revegetation planning

Eurardy Reserve is a special place, with some 700 plant species on the reserve, including a number of threatened, priority-listed and locally endemic species. However there are also cleared patches, a legacy of Eurardy's agricultural history, that have seen little to no natural regeneration for decades. This week we took the first steps towards restoring those patches back to the biodiverse areas they once were.

Read More

BLOG 10/08/2015

Moving to the Western Rangelands

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.

Read More

BLOG 08/12/2014

Burrowing bees

Spring has run its course in the mid-west of Western Australia. Flowers have bloomed and bees have played their role as pollinators. Find out more about some fascinating burrowing bees spotted at Eurardy and Charles Darwin Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 16/06/2014

Trapdoor spiders

Last weekend at Eurardy Reserve (WA) ecologist Vanessa Westcott was working with the Citizen Science volunteers when they spotted the home of a trapdoor spider. The twigs and leaf litter radiating out from the burrow are fastened with web to the rim of the hole. They're used as 'trip lines' so insects walking by can be detected!

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