Tharninharru (Hello)! 

Last week saw another successful on-Country trip within the Fortescue Marsh Eastern Extension area on Roy Hill Station for the Nyiyaparli Ranger Team, collaborating with staff from Roy Hill, DBCA and Botanist Vicki Long in efforts towards protecting and looking after Yurlu! 

The week included a heap of learning and bush tucker delights! Our ranger team learned how to identify bilby burrows, diggings and scats (poo!), and gained an understanding of the foraging behaviours of these big eared, and unfortunately endangered marsupials, as well as the plant species that attract them. We learnt that there are two types of Acacia plants that Bilbies like to dig at the roots of for tasty grubs. These Bilby sign learnings were part of learning how to conduct 2ha sign plot surveys with the help of Dan and Tash from DBCA, to record tracks from all types of native and non-native animal species. The team also installed some camera traps in these survey locations to hopefully catch on camera some bilbies and other animals that like to come out at night.

Another arid animal species that was a priority for this trip was the mysterious Night Parrot, a critically endangered bird species, with the team installing a song meter, to fingers crossed, record its call.

The rangers also returned to the vegetation survey transect set up near 14-mile stockyard late last year to collect some more plant data with the help of Botanist Vicki Long. It was great to see the change in plant cover after the recent rains with more native grasses and herbs popping up. The team set up two additional transects on the trip as well which they will continue to monitor as projects aimed at reducing disturbance in these areas are implemented.  Noel also carried out a multi-spectral drone survey in the same spot as last year and after analysis we were able to see a distinct difference between plant cover last year and this year after the rains.

The rangers then met with weed experts to discuss the ID characteristics and control methods for Parkinsonia, a Weed of National Significance that has been found along the Upper Fortescue River and can clog up waterways. The ranger team’s ID skills were quickly put to the test when we thought we spotted Parkinsonia seedlings near 14-mile waterhole. Fortunately, it wasn’t Parkinsonia. We were able to ID it as a very similar looking native plant with some help from Vicki, but the learnings will us know what we should be looking out for in future.  

The team were also shown around the Roy Hill seed store and were able to match specie samples collected in the field with those in store. With the help of Vicki and Vee (from the Roy Hill Rehab team) the ranger team are developing a list of locally found species to hopefully be used in a seeding project in the eastern extension area.

Well done to Jason Anthony Snr, Jason Anthony Jnr, Jayleen Anthony, Jasmine Anthony, Carol-Anne Tucker, Lauren Tucker, Carol-Lee Tucker, Beverley Tucker, Roderick Parker, Sherry Parker and Noel Taylor for your efforts throughout week.  Thanks also to new Ranger Field Coordinator, Sophia, who joined us out on Country in her first week in the role. And as always, huge thanks to Ranger Manager Melissa Pepper for all her work.

Big thanks also to Harriet Davie, Roy Hill Biologist, for all your efforts both before the trip in preparation and out in the field. A lot goes into trips like these, and we appreciate your help in making this project happen. Thanks also to Vicki, Vee and Ben for your assistance across the week, as well as Dan, Tash and Damon from DBCA for joining us.

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