Hiltaba shines as the rains come down

Shingle back lizard out after the rain | Image by Jo Harding

Shingle back lizard out after the rain | Image by Jo Harding

The desert can be harsh, hot and unforgiving, and in this climate the ecological currency is water. When water holes and creeks are dry and the sun beats down on the hot red dust, any source of water is an oasis of life. For the first few days of the Bush Blitz Hiltaba was just that.

Shingle back | Image by Jo Harding

Shingle back | Image by Jo Harding

From the early morning until the sun goes down every creature seeks out that elusive liquid gold – water. When the sun first peaks over the hills of Hiltaba the mulga parrots flock to the base camp water tank. In the middle of the day European Honey bees swarm around bores and wells causing havoc for the SA Museum scientists Remko Leijs and Rachel King who are searching for Stygofauna (ground water dwelling creatures). Hiltaba seemed to slumber under a dusty haze.

But today the clouds rolled in and Hiltaba awoke when liquid gold fell from the sky! In a few short hours Hiltaba came to life. Wombats sat atop their burrows, like emperors surveying their domain. Kangaroos loitered on the roads staring at us in indignation that we would dare to disturb their gathering before bounding off through the salt bush. Even the shrivelled mosses, that seemed to be clinging to life on sheltered rocks, unfurled beneath my feet.

Hiltaba has been sprinkled with gold and she shines!

Jo Harding, Bush Blitz Manager

 Bush Blitz is a biodiversity discovery program between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia which aims to document the plants and animals across Australia’s National Reserve System.

More Bush Blitz stories

Spider hunting at Skullbone Plains

Lichens and liverworts resurrected – just add water!

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