Bunjil Rocks BioBlitz – A weekend of flora, fauna and fun!

The weather may have been wet and windy, but that didn’t stop everyone having fun and learning more about the rich biodiversity and conservation value of Bunjil Rocks during last weekend’s BioBlitz.

 

What is a BioBlitz? A BioBlitz is a 24-hour event involving rapid collection of data about the biological diversity of a particular site; enabling scientists and other experts to identify as many plant and animal species as can be found in this limited time frame.

 

Over the long weekend, the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) joined up with partners Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group (YYCMG) and Moore Catchment Council (MCC) to host the inaugural Midwest BioBlitz at Bunjil Rocks

More than 60 professional biologists and capable amateurs attended the event with people travelling from Geraldton, Northampton, Perth, Northam and Dowerin.

After an introduction from organisers Jessica Stingemore, Lizzie King and Rachel Walmsley, the BioBlitz was kicked off by local Badimaya man Ashley Bell who, accompanied by his nephew Angus on didgeridoo, performed a fitting Welcome to Country – encouraging everyone to explore the local area, while also caring for the Country that has provided us with so much.

MCC’s Community Landcare Coordinator Rachel Walmsley said participants were then split into groups with an ‘eco-guru’ team leader and spent the afternoon exploring and surveying the bush.

“Gurus on-hand were Midwest flora expert Jenny Borger, bird enthusiast Phil Lewis, local landcare lover Paulina Wittwer, bat crazy and nest cam specialist Joe Tonga and all-round eco guru and fauna trapping expert Nic Dunlop,” she said.

Team leaders exploring flora on the granite outcrops only had to walkabout 50 metres before being able to identify over 120 species of plants, indicating the incredible diversity found on granite outcrops. Other highlights included the young (and young at heart) BioBlitzers catching tadpoles in the water holes, spotting a Barn Owl accidently flushed from its day roosts, spying a Western Spiny-tailed Skink having a doze in a fallen tree trunk and trapping (and releasing) not one, not two, but 10 birds in the mist nests.

What else did we see: Gunther’s Toadlet, Rainbow Darkling Beetle, Tiger Centipede, Mulga Parrot, White-browed Babbler, Red-capped Robin, Western Yellow Robin, Nightjar, Gwarder, Little Eagle, Bobtail Lizard, Mulga Ant, Malleefowl mound, Wreath Flower, Fringe Lily and many more!

After the pack up and yet another delicious meal it was time to sadly say goodbye to friends both old and new. With talk of a 2018 Midwest BioBlitz in the works, we hope to see everyone all again soon.

NACC’s Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said the BioBlitz was a fantastic way to connect people with nature, and also a brilliant way to showcase the region and the local community.

“One of my highlights from the event was increasing the local and broader community’s interest in and awareness of the area’s biological richness, while enhancing the community’s skills and capacity for engaging in biodiversity conservation activities.”

Some participants asked why Bunjil Rocks? The site features a number of large granite outcrops surrounded by native bushland – all protected as a nature reserve. The granite outcrops contain several natural water holes and pools which retain water for much of the year. In spring, the surrounding bushland comes alive with wildflowers – including a number of spectacular orchid species. As a result of this BioBlitz, NACC will provide the Shire of Perenjori (and local community) with a report summarising results from the survey, including prioritised management recommendations for the community to consider. In addition, the nearby town of Latham has outstanding facilitates that provided a great headquarters for the event (including hot showers).

This event was proudly supported by National Landcare Programme, Gunduwa Regional Conservation Association, Shire of Perenjori, Conservation Council WA, Moora Citrus, Westways Wildflowers, Kochii Oil, Moore Park Olive Oil, Manavi Eggs, Spineless Wonder, Scinapse and Earth Stewardship.

* We are currently collating the species list and photos, so stayed tuned to NACC Notes for more information and event highlights.

 

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1 comment

Great stuff to all concerned!!

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