I thought I'd post some of the pictures from a week-long site survey to the east of Laverton in the northern goldfields, which I just returned from. The very windy and dry cool conditions in this arid area at the time, made it hard to see many birds and other animals, but we did manage to find some interesting sites and fauna.
Some of the survey area has these wonderful breakaways. Great homes and shelters for many of the local animals, especially during the unbearable hot summer temperatures.
It was sad to see the remains of Pebble-mound Mouse nests at most of the rock outcrops and breakaways. The way you spot them, is to look for large collections of same sized stones. These mice were probably members of what is now called the Pilbara Pebble-mound Mouse (Pseudomys chapmani), which is only found in a small area far to the northwest in the Pilbara region of WA.
No one knows for certain why they became extinct in over most of these arid areas, but it was probably due to introduced rabbits, cats and foxes.
A picture from the web of a Pilbara Pebble-mound Mouse working hard to drag large pebbles to build it's rock-protected nest.
The other two rodents of which you can find old nests at outcrops, and which also became extinct in these areas, are the Lesser and Greater Stick-nest Rat. These nests were made of small sticks, often cemented with a black tar-looking substance.
One of the fantastic geckos we found in the survey areas, a Goldfields Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus assimilis). Many Spiny-tailed Geckos look similar, but this one can be told apart by the wavy lines of spines (instead of straight) on it's back.