Many of you would know we have had the lovely Jacky from the Australian National University working on her PhD since around August 2019. She has set up plots on properties across Hovells Creek, Canowindra, Mandurama, Gooloogong, Woodstock and Murringo. All to study the benefits of surface rock in landscapes and if you can improve habitat in agricultural land for reptiles. Surface rock is added to some sites, some sites are fenced from livestock, others set up within a grazing paddock and she has control sites as well.
Being lucky enough to tag along during some of the surveys I have learnt heaps and while the results all still need to be sorted through my view is that the surface rock is hugely important habitat within our landscapes. On the sites I visited we found 2 threatened Pink Tailed Worms Lizards and a gorgeous but cranky Rainbow Skink utilising the site that now had the surface rock added. Prior to adding the rock we found nothing in that site.
So, this could be something else you consider if looking to rehabilitate/revegetate an area on your farm. You could look for a site that already has surface rock included or if you have somewhere you know you can get some rock from (many of us have rock piles that have been picked up out of paddocks in the past) you could add a few into the area to further enhance the site.
I’ve attached a few photos from the surveys I have been on. I’ve also included a picture of Jacky in August 2019 in the midst of the drought. She has had to go through extremes for this research and I commend her for soldiering on. First drought, then COVID wouldn’t allow her to get out here from Canberra and now the last few weeks she has been surveying during this latest weather event. Trying to avoid getting bogged, dodging flooding rivers and still finding plenty of reptiles.