“I think we can do some more vegetation photos before we head in.’
These were my words to Dan Sprod of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy at 5pm, as we finished what was to be our last site for the day. We had spent the previous eight hours walking along roads collecting scats, or walking through bushland, up and down steep hills and gullies searching for photo sites where vegetation surveys are periodically conducted. It had been a great day seeing many areas of the properties where the Bush Blitz was being conducted.
‘I have a few more sites near the Serpentine Riverlet’, says Dan.
We got to the location via road and stopped on top of the hill looking down to the valley below. It was beautiful - the winding river, the valley extending in both directions.
The hillside was steep, dropping sharply from the road to the river below.
We can’t possibly get down there. Can we?
The hill is called ‘Ice Cream Van Hill’, as an ice cream van plunged down from the road and was never recovered. Dan led the way and we made our way down, carefully avoiding wombat holes and loose rocks amongst the grass. One rock was dislodged and it plummeted down the hill to the river below. This is not a place to lose your footing.
Before long we were down at the stream. It was beautiful. The vista up and down the valley was magnificent. The plants and insects at our feet were plentiful and detailed. We headed up the valley and up the hillside towards the monitoring site. The bush was now thick and climbing was a challenge.
A little bit further and there they were - the three monitoring poles.
The photos were taken. A job well done!
Just two more sites to go!
What a great way to spend the day.
Andrew Tennent, Bush Blitz II
Andrew is one of eight BHP Billiton volunteers taking part in the Bush Blitz survey in Tasmania’s central highlands. Bush Blitz is an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities and Earthwatch Australia that is helping fill the gaps in our knowledge of biodiversity within Australia’s national system of conservation reserves.