Merry Xmas to all...

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To all our members, supporters and volunteers,

Thank you all for another fantastic year. Your help throughout 2013 whether it be at the Reserve, at an event or just by reading our newsletter is invaluable and we thank you one and all.

Arid Recovery could not achieve what it does without your support and we hope that we will see and hear from each and every one of you in 2014.

I would like to say a very special thanks to all AR staff for their amazing efforts this year. For those of you who have not been keeping up to date with our bettong project the AR staff, through the great organisational efforts of Cat Lynch, have achieved a super human feat of moving over 1500 bettongs – a record number unheard of previously by anyone, anywhere! So to Cat, Anni, Craig, Tina, Hayley & Vanessa who have worked throughout the year to make AR what it is I say thanks.

A special mention should also go to AR’s part-timers, Marty Kittle & Katherine Moseby. Marty, who is now in his 10th year of checking the AR fence, continues to be a great support to myself and all AR staff with his knowledge and easy going ways. Katherine, now as AR’s research scientist, has recently started on an amazing new project that will see AR research & the Reserve go onto bigger and better things over the coming years.

Have a safe and happy festive season and as a special treat our fabulous volunteer Alix Palmer has written an AR Xmas carol. We hope you enjoy.

Kylie Piper
General Manager
Arid Recovery


12 days of AR Xmas



Flora fun

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Arid Recovery is not just about the animals. In fact, if it wasn’t for our plants we wouldn’t have our cute bettongs and all the other animals. For this reason, it’s vital that we monitor the health of the vegetation inside the Reserve.

Flora monitoring at Arid Recovery was established right from the start, in 1997, with a range of techniques used to enable us to collect long-term data on vegetation condition, cover and species diversity inside and outside the Reserve. Now, with over 15 years of data, it gives us a great opportunity to begin analysing this data to see if we can determine trends in relation to the effects of our introduced and reintroduced herbivores, and to determine the strongest indicator species for monitoring grazing by herbivores to help trigger management actions when overgrazing occurs.

Recent analysis of this data showed that, while we have an excellent dataset, there are modifications to our monitoring that we can employ in order to get even more out of the data we collect. Over the past few months, Arid Recovery’s Ecologist, Cat Lynch, has been working with our Research Scientist and Craig Baulderstone, who previously worked at South Australia’s Pastoral Board, to further develop Arid Recovery’s flora monitoring program.

It was determined that a number of small quadrats should be set up at each of our sites to provide data on cover of flora species; data which was generally not being picked up through other methods. Craig was recently kind enough to visit Arid Recovery for a week to assist Cat with setting up the new quadrats and collecting data. With his two kids, Mick and Tom, in tow, Craig very enthusiastically trudged the dunes and swales in very hot weather to measure all the saltbush, blue bush, ruby saltbush and other weird and wonderful flora that makes Arid Recovery and the arid zone so unique.

The monitoring event was very successful, with a range of data collected that will assist us with determining the effect that our reintroduced herbivores (i.e. bettongs and stick-nest rats) have on vegetation inside the reserve, as well as the effect that introduced herbivores (i.e. rabbits) have on vegetation outside the Reserve.

We thank Craig very much for volunteering his time to assist Arid Recovery with our flora monitoring program.

 

Craig Baulderstone working on the vegetation quadrat

 

Roxby Downs Chirstmas Cavalcade

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Christmas is fast approaching, and what better way to join the Christmas cheer than attending the Roxby Downs Christmas Pageant! On Saturday evening the Roxby Downs community left the cool comfort of their air-conditioned houses and lined the main street in the scorching sun eager to catch a glimpse of Santa as the procession went past.

Arid Recovery entered a float into the pageant, teaming up again with local school St Barbara’s Parish to present ‘Alice in Arid Lands’ with the students wearing their school musical costumes based on the classic adventure story Alice in Wonderland. The children were dressed as different characters from the story, and were led by none other than Macca the Bilby, who had left his burrow early to ensure that he didn’t miss out on any of the fun!

Macca was certainly a highlight for children and adults alike, with the streets coming alive with shrieks of laughter as Macca wiggled his tail and blew kisses to the crowd. Macca even managed to do a few dance moves on the back of Rhino, entertaining the crowd and surprising the Arid Recovery staff that hadn’t seen Macca Bilby that active in a long time.

As the parade finished, Macca returned back to his friends at the Arid Recovery Reserve whilst the rest of us kicked back on the grass at Richardson Place and enjoyed the festivities.

Arid Recovery would like to say a big thank you to the students of St Barbs for decorating the float beautifully in tinsel and beads, and for taking part in the pageant during the evening.  

 

Museum Madness

Pretty Digital - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The South Australian Museum carefully wrapped specimens and put exhibits in boxes as they headed on the road for the last of their ‘Out of the Glass Case’ roadshow for the year 2013. Roxby Downs was the final destination for the travelling roadshow, and how lucky we were to have these special visitors.

Bringing with them a range of staff with expert knowledge on all areas including birds, spiders, fossils, and geology, the Roxby Downs community was treated to a night of discovery and wonder as the Area School library doors opened to the public for a Twilight Event. Arid Recovery was fortunate to be invited to participate in the Twilight Event, which enabled community members to see educational displays and participate in hands-on learning in a fun environment.

A regular at expos and events, Arid Recovery’s skins and skulls display proved again to be a hit, with many bidding scientists amazed at how light weight an emu’s skull is and how small a cat’s head must be! Visitors to the stall also had the opportunity to touch a range of furs, and distinguished between native and introduced animals by looking at the patterns and colourations on the animal’s coat.

The Arid Recovery office pet, Bruce the juvenile bearded dragon also came along for the evening. Bruce was extremely popular with the children, and his presence made every small child want to share their story about how they saw a lizard in their backyard in Roxby!


Local kids examine the skins and skulls display 

“Opportunities like the Community Twilight Event don’t come by Roxby Downs very often. It was fantastic to see so many members of the local community embracing the evening and bringing the kids down to learn something new and exciting,” explained Anni Walsh, Education and Community Officer. “Visiting these educational displays encourages children to use their imagination, and open their eyes to appreciate the natural wonders of our world.”

Highlights of the evening included blowing into the conical shell ‘trumpet’, witnessing fossils found in the Flinders Ranges region billions of years ago, seeing the egg castings of baby trap door spiders, touching a 10 foot python and of course the 'emu news' puppet show!

If you want to find out more about educational opportunities at Arid Recovery email education@aridrecovery.org.au

A field guide at the end of your finger tips

Kylie Piper - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A field guide at the end of your finger tips

Arid Recovery - Saturday, July 12, 2014

This year the South Australian Museum has developed a new app the Field Guide to South Australian FaunaThe app offers audiences a way to discover some of the beautiful animals of our state in just a touch of a screen rather than a pile of field books.

 The app can be used in urban, bush and coastal environments giving locals and tourists access to accurate information on a range of species. From their high resolution pictures to current distribution and quirky sound effects it can all be found on this amazing app, with 800 species of South Australian wildlife just in the palm of your hand.

The concept is based on Museum Victoria’s very successful app Field Guide to Victorian Fauna, released in 2011. In 2014 Museums across the country have followed suite with their own field guide apps, including Australian, Queensland and Western Australian Museums.

SA Museums Senior Researcher in Herpetology, Dr Mark Hutchinson, says “This is aimed at people interested in the natural world around them but who are still relative beginners. Conservation of animal’s diversity depends on enough people caring about it and we would hope this app helps in that aim”

Some Arid Recovery locals you can learn about on the app.

Brown Falcon

The Brown Falcon can commonly be seen in and around the Arid Recovery Reserve hovering over prey or sitting on the top of the floppy top fence. It is an expert hunter, by flying overhead and pouncing, occasionally hovering before they attack. They eat small rodents and insects.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse

The Spinifex Hopping mouse also known as a spinner to some AR staff is sometimes seen on the AR nocturnal tour. They live in groups that construct deep burrows systems under the ground for shelter during the day. Breeding can occur year round and a high survival rate in good seasons leads to a boom and bust type population.

Central Netted Dragon

The Central Netted Dragon is a smooth-skinned dragon, with a short-face and founded-looking head. This species in sometimes caught in pit-fall traps during ARs Annual Trapping in February. A great species to watch be released as they love to perch on dead wood or sand pile, they are true posers.

For more information please visit the South Australian Museum website here.

The app is currently available for free on Android and Apple devices and is compatible with smart phones or tablet varieties.

How can i get involved?

Kylie Piper - Thursday, August 07, 2014
Citizen science is a research method growing in popularity across the globe. It allows people of all ages and backgrounds to become involved in the world of science.

School groups visiting the reserve will radio track collared bettongs and find out where they are hiding.

Tourists on sunset and nocturnal tours will help identify individual bettongs by coloured tags and record how cheeky they really are or which other bettongs they get along with.

AR volunteers will locate burrows and monitor individual bettong behaviours. These are just some of the options on how you might become involved in the bettong project.

Information on the bettong project will be available online at the Arid Recovery website, with updates through Facebook. A page dedicated to the bettong behaviour study will include updates on the progress and current findings from our citizen scientists.

For more information on how you can become involved contact the Arid Recovery office on 08 8671 8282 or email Hannah on volunteer@aridrecovery.org.au.

Trapping draws to a close

Kylie Piper - Thursday, August 07, 2014

Today was the last early morning for staff and volunteers, with high hopes for a few exciting critters caught in traps. As teams checked their pit fall and Elliot traps they packed up traps, pulled up drift netting and secured pit fall lids.

A handy new contraption whipped up by our mainteneance officer Craig, came in very handy when rolling up the drift netting. Rather than wrestling with prickly netting, trying to wrangle it into a tight enough ball to secure it with a band, the drift net roller helps to keep the netting tight. And there is no pricking of fingers! After removing as much sand as possible from the pits, the lids were securely pushed on, making sure nothing but a human with a pelican pick could pull it off when the trap site is used again in two years time.

The last day saw a few new interesting animals added to the list of creatures captured during 2013 trapping. A Bolams Mouse (Pseudomys bolami) was captured this morning, the first Bolams mouse all week. Last night saw the geckoes a little more active too, with several Central Knob-tailed geckoes (Nephrurus levis) found in pit fall traps this morning. Their cute bulging eyes and delicate feet make them a favourite with all the volunteers and staff. Another first for the week was the Broad- banded sand swimmer (Eremiascinus richardsonii), a large and healthy specimen.

 

Volunteer Natasha checking out a gecko captured in a pit fall trap.

Probably the highlight for the day though was finding a Western Barred Bandicoot, which had somehow managed to wedge itself into an Elliott trap. He was brought back into the lab, and processed there which invovled weighing, measurements and microchipping on the back of his neck. Not usually captured during the week of annual trapping, this little critter was a bonus for staff and volunteers involved.

Now it is off for a well earned nap this afternoon before releasing the last group of animals captured. Then it is a night off to share a few of the stories from the week and one last meal together. For more photos from the week check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AridRecovery

A field guide at the end of your finger tips

Kylie Piper - Thursday, August 07, 2014

A field guide at the end of your finger tips

Arid Recovery - Saturday, July 12, 2014

This year the South Australian Museum has developed a new app the Field Guide to South Australian FaunaThe app offers audiences a way to discover some of the beautiful animals of our state in just a touch of a screen rather than a pile of field books.

 The app can be used in urban, bush and coastal environments giving locals and tourists access to accurate information on a range of species. From their high resolution pictures to current distribution and quirky sound effects it can all be found on this amazing app, with 800 species of South Australian wildlife just in the palm of your hand.

The concept is based on Museum Victoria’s very successful app Field Guide to Victorian Fauna, released in 2011. In 2014 Museums across the country have followed suite with their own field guide apps, including Australian, Queensland and Western Australian Museums.

SA Museums Senior Researcher in Herpetology, Dr Mark Hutchinson, says “This is aimed at people interested in the natural world around them but who are still relative beginners. Conservation of animal’s diversity depends on enough people caring about it and we would hope this app helps in that aim”

Some Arid Recovery locals you can learn about on the app.

Brown Falcon

The Brown Falcon can commonly be seen in and around the Arid Recovery Reserve hovering over prey or sitting on the top of the floppy top fence. It is an expert hunter, by flying overhead and pouncing, occasionally hovering before they attack. They eat small rodents and insects.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse

The Spinifex Hopping mouse also known as a spinner to some AR staff is sometimes seen on the AR nocturnal tour. They live in groups that construct deep burrows systems under the ground for shelter during the day. Breeding can occur year round and a high survival rate in good seasons leads to a boom and bust type population.

Central Netted Dragon

The Central Netted Dragon is a smooth-skinned dragon, with a short-face and founded-looking head. This species in sometimes caught in pit-fall traps during ARs Annual Trapping in February. A great species to watch be released as they love to perch on dead wood or sand pile, they are true posers.

For more information please visit the South Australian Museum website here.

The app is currently available for free on Android and Apple devices and is compatible with smart phones or tablet varieties.

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