And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coobina - Wildlife and Stygofauna

Such a busy time of year conducting fauna surveys for the mining industry, Coobina last week, Woodie Woodie this week and Port Headland next week. Will it last, seeing the government has recently announced a huge increase in mining taxes? Up to 40%, so miners aren't very happy and may cut back on projects.

Here are some pictures from the Coobina site survey east of Newman.

The survey site was a beautiful area, but birding was hard at this time of year, especially after a long hot and dry summer. The most exciting sight was a flock of 6 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes at the mine area.

A nice area to the north of the survey site.

This area was the home of a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles. You can see the nest at the base of a tree on the right hand side of the picture.

The gorge area in the early morning.

A lot of trees in the local area had the scars from aborigines making shields. Some were recent ones made with metal axes, such as this one, and some were very old. This poor tree had 3 taken from it, resulting in it's death from ring-barking.

Collecting stygofauna from bore-holes was also the aim of this visit. There were 10 bores to sample with most being 80 metres deep and at most of them you need 8 samples (for small bore-holes - 14 samples). That's a lot of rope to be dropped and pulled up by hand. That's at least about six and half kilometres of rope to be pulled!

The stygofauna is caught in fine mesh funnels with a collection tube at the bottom.
If you want to know about the interesting animals called stygofauna, see this site.

Some of the wonderful patterns in the clay.

Shame it's just a holding pond for waste from the Chromite milling plant.

Even here at the holding pond life finds a way to live, with a beautiful Solanum species growing on the edge.


Penny said...

Love the photos, the country looks very paintable.
Mike the headless chicken, I think I would have finished it off, have seen them run around after the head is cut off but personally I prefer to wring (break) their necks, not as gory and seems a lot quicker.
BUT after a long life of killing things I/we really dont like having to do it any more.

Delwyn said...

Hi Richard

I have been catching up on your posts from your survey trips. I must thank you for the wonderful views of WA and the diversity of wildlife that you show us. I talked with a little bearded dragon this afternoon in the National Park and took his photo, such beautiful camouflage...

thank you for your comment on my post today. I tried to reply but you have no response email listed.
I am back to NZ tomorrow so will catch up with your trips in a little while. I love your blog, thanks Richard.

Happy days

Stu said...

Just spent a while reading the last few entries. Interesting stuff and a world away from what I'm used to seeing.

The only landscape I've seen similar to this was near Mareeba in FNQ but it didn't look quite so alien and semi-arid.......

Simon Blane said...

That is the hard way to do it. Ever heard of a rod and reel?

Kristin Barker said...

This image is stunning, a real visual koan. I have taken the liberty of sharing on our blog at but please let me know if I should remove. Thank you!

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