As a sum-up and final ‘official’ field trip to Edgbaston Sasha and I scooted on over after teaching at Idalia National Park (near Blackall).
On this trip we were working on experimentally testing the tolerance of the snails from Edgbaston to a range of environmental stressors. Some of these species were already tested in summer so a second check up on whether they change over the cooler less harsh winter was also an interesting pursuit.
I miss Edgbaston every minute I am away so a chance to frolic around for a week and revisit places I miss as well as explore new edges of the reserve make me ever grateful for the chance to work on such an amazing piece of country.
A local artist in the Lake Dunn area (just north of Edgbaston) makes these amazing sculptures from recycled and discarded metals. This is an effigy of Edgbaston’s neighbour, ‘Chook’ Hay.
Catching the morning sun in the Mitchell grass.
The Brolgas, as usual, wandering around the plains.
‘Cujo’ took us on another fossil foraging trip through the creek lines in the north of Edgbaston and to no surprise we found plenty more! This fossil layer is the same from which Plesiosaurs are found – evidence of the huge Eromanga sea that used to flood the interior of Australia.
This beautiful mother and child were resting in this sand pile every morning when we went past. Red Kangaroos were in much higher abundance this trip. As the rest of the region dries up, Red’s are perfectly adapted to finding permanent water and tracking the storms that green up some parts of the west.
Like the Red Kangaroos, many nomadic birds abounded this trip as well. A flock of over 100 Galah came in every morning and afternoon to drink at the house bore.
Many people think that kangaroo may be a vital transport for spring snails – when they sleep in the springs snails get lodged in their wet fur and taken to far away places.
The Double-bar finches visited us early one morning when we camped out. Hopping around in the salt bush, this one seems to be eating saltbush.
My charming field companion Sasha Jooste
The tea trees in the late afternoon sun are always magical.
Double-bar finches, adorable.
Glyptophysa are the biggest and most obvious endemic snail at Edgbaston – they are at least 10 times the size of all the others.
Gabbia fontana, one of the endemic species I work on, has a distinctive little white cap and while operculum.
Toe-biters are one of the most amazing but scary occupants of the spring. They hide in the sediment and snap their prey with those scary pincers.
Lots and lots of small frogs. Still need to confirm what these are.
There are a lot of yabbies in the larger springs. You don’t often see them out of their burrows, we caught this one in the late afternoon sun.
Diving beetles also abound. I get lots of their larvae in my samples but he adults are speedy predators. They’re also adorable.
‘Fruit salad bush’ is one of my favourite plants. Its quite ephemeral and you don’t see it all the time. Its flowers smell exactly like fruit salad.
Since it was National Tree Appreciation week, I thought I would take a portrait of my favourite trees.
Lots and lots of birds this trip with some flowering Eromophila spotting the property. This honey-eater sang us sweetly into the sunset.
This Whistling Kite swooped right down in front of us whilst we were hunting around in the bushes.
Beautiful sunsets on the uplands.
Needless to say, there were A LOT of kangaroos. These mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroo.
A single flowering Eromophila in the spinifex scalds attracted a plethora of honey eaters and wood swallows. I’m not much of a ‘twitcher’ but I tried to catch a glimpse of them all whilst we sat there enjoying the chaos.
Prime endemic snail habitat at Big Spring at Edgbaston – these shallow soaks have constant clear clean water running through them and can have over 100 snails per meter.
Myriophyllum artesium is a spring endemic plant.
This little echidna crossed our path as we were heading home.
Edgbaston is a treasured place for many of us, signs of the amazing people I work with make me so happy.
The winds really picked up and after a week and a bit off in the bush already we needed to shelter our laundry somewhere safe.
Atyiid shrimps are quite abundant in the larger deeper springs. They busy themselves among the vegetation.
This Katydid is perfectly camouflaged in the grass.
Jardinella jesswiseae are one of the small Tateinae at Edgbaston. Their adorable long antennae wave around as they climb around the springs.
Gyraulus edgbastonensis is another endemic snail, its closest relative is the unnamed Glyptophysa but they are very different snails.
The Wedge-tailed Eagles of Edgbaston have got some pretty fierce reputations (we’ve seen them attack everything from Echidna to full-grown Kangaroo).
This particular Wallaroo is a regular siting on Edgbaston. He is often at the top dam and can be an intimidating site if you come upon him unawares.
Littoria rubella is a common frog in the outback but this guy was the first one we had seen on Edgbaston. Adding him to the ever growing list of frogs sighted on Edgbaston.
Last sunset on an amazing trip! Thanks Sasha for all your help!
This time of year ‘dingo’ are reproducing the uplands behind Edgbaston and come down to the springs to hunt and get water. These fresh prints were at the springs the morning after we heard them roaming around us on the scald at night.