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Film Diary / 26.04.2020

Although the Australia-wide corona virus lock-down is highly effective, it appears to be particularly so in Queensland. I am allowed my morning walk and visits to shops and even nearby friends. I don’t recall a more glorious or warmer Autumn in my 33 years in the country, with day after day of bright sunshine and deep blue skies. My walks continue to prove most productive at the garage. Today, and four days ago, I found moths which are new to my album. This morning’s  was among only a handful present, which always enhances the thrill of discovery. Both were very small, yet their marking caught my attention and made me wonder whether I had seen them before. Both belong to the family Nolidae and are similarly coloured, but differently patterned. Were it not for the pandemic, the marvellous expert on whom I rely for species identification, would be on an extensive overseas trip and I would have had to wait until his return to write up an already extensive haul. He and his wife got no further than Perth, where they languished for a week or so before finding a flight back to Brisbane.

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Film Diary / 12.04.2020

For several years I have regretted a decline in moth numbers at the garage, though last Winter this did not result in a decline in the number of new species I photographed. If anything, their number increased, which is fortunate indeed. This year, after two months of good rain since Christmas, the moths returned with a vengeance and subsequent good rain kept them coming. Even when that petered out and dry, sunny weather set in, the numbers have still been impressive – as good as they have ever been. Today I photographed an Australian moth which is the most widely distributed of any in my album. It occurs throughout the country, with populations in the centre, the outback, the ranges and the coast, because it feeds on over 100 plants and is regarded as a pest species on a number of crops. It has also invaded New Zealand. On April 7, I photographed a plume moth. The species is distributed in Africa, including Madagascar, and in east and south-east Asia, including Japan and New Guinea. In Australia it is found in Queensland. The moth seems to be a rarity.

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Book / 08.04.2020

Today, I posted another book to James Bennett, exactly a week after I fulfilled their previous order. Libraries are now closed because of the pandemic, but for James Bennett it seems like business as usual. True, an order takes time to work its way from the library to the library supplier. I am aware of a number of orders pending, but the suppliers never specify which library placed the order with them. Not only do I appreciate the sale of yet another book, I welcome the opportunity to exit the house and buy the packaging from the post office and return with the parcel for them to post.

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Other / 02.04.2020

Today I picked up my new glasses, after only having had my eyes tested on the Monday. Presumably the lens maker isn’t as busy as usual because of the pandemic. Talking of which, I was fortunate to have the cataract operations before elective surgery was halted, so that hospitals could focus on the pandemic. My eyes were tested exactly  four weeks after the second operation. The first was performed two weeks before the second. By the time of the test, my vision had recovered to how it had been before the operations. I had not felt colour-deprived with the cataracts, but after they were removed, the world was brighter and more vibrant. The main benefit post op, was that reading and writing without glasses were restored to how they had been before the cataracts took hold. However, my new distance lenses had the greatest impact of all because of the clarity of detail, which I had not known for years. It was revelatory.

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Other / 30.03.2020

During the weekend I completed a questionnaire about, inter alia, my project, why I came to Australia and a day in the life of Peter Kuttner, for a local filmmaker who contacted me via mutual friends. She graduated from film school a few years ago and is putting in a submission to a funding body charged with commissioning a short documentary about inspirational older Australians (not that I consider myself to be one). Is my age catching up with me? We will see what happens.

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Film Diary / 25.02.2020

I filmed the impatiens hawk moth caterpillar in March 1999. This morning, nearly 21 years later, I photographed the moth. It is found as various subspecies, from India through to China, Japan, the Philippines and Australia, where it occurs in every state and territory other than the Australian Capital Territory. The caterpillar attains a length of 7 cm and is more colourful and  spectacular than the moth. Wingspan of the moth is up to 8 cm. 

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Other / 21.02.2020

Ever since the removal of a large tree and adjoining vegetation from one side of the drive, I have bemoaned the absence of abundant moths at the garage, though other factors, such as the prolonged drought, have played a far greater part than the missing vegetation. Since Christmas, we have enjoyed frequent rain, which has revived gardens and trees and filled water courses and rainwater tanks. The drought was such that the grass didn’t grow and the stressed trees covered the ground, including the forest floor, with their shed leaves. But  moth numbers at the garage were slow to reflect the rainfall. Today, there were more than I recall ever having seen. Overwhelmingly, they were small, pale brown geometrids. Numbers flew off as I approached to take photos. The night had been warm and humid, as had previous nights with a good showing of moths, but nothing remotely like this.

 

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Book / 21.02.2020

The book sold well over Christmas. I promoted it in our local papers as ‘A unique and beautiful present from Tamborine Mountain’. The expected lull has been in part stemmed by sales to libraries in New South Wales. Most seem willing to order the book. I am currently working my way through councils in Sydney. My campaign had to be suspended because of the bush fires. Today I posted two parcels, one with two books for The Book House in Noosaville, the other, with five books for James Bennett in Sydney.

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Other / 05.02.2020

I am on the last day of a six day course of antibiotics to combat a mystery infection I picked up god knows when, god knows where.  Last Monday week I woke with a slight temperature which returned to normal the next day. The following morning, I felt a sharp pain on the shin bone of my left leg, but didn’t see anything untoward. Fortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment the day after. My GP confirmed that the leg was infected. There were small blood bursts below the skin and the leg was swollen. Last week’s pain had gone. I took the antibiotics but couldn’t see any change for 5 days. Because I am shortly due to have a cataract operation, I urgently wanted to see a doctor. My new appointment was for today at 11.30 am. The doctor confirmed that the infection had gone, but the swelling worried her so she sent me to have a scan for a blood clot in my lower left leg. For a few hours the implications were scary to contemplate, until the scan result proved to be clear. But some critter or vegetation had it in for me. The leg remains swollen…. Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 08.01.2020

The 75 mm of rain we had for a few days during Christmas, made all the difference to our night walk in Palm Grove. I didn’t film a thing on the preceding walk because the flora and fauna were so distressed by the prolonged dry weather. And the walk before that yielded very little. Thanks to the school holidays, Dan was a welcome crew member. Penny Aagaard, her cousin Jenny Peat and Jenny’s brother and his granddaughter completed the party. The creek near the entrance had probably been refreshed by the rain, but was still almost non-existent. It was all the more remarkable that Dan spotted a large crayfish a short distance from the track. I filmed it without the tripod. I also filmed a net-casting spider whose abdomen displayed large patches of green – a feature I had not seen before – a large click beetle and an antechinus, which was a first for the archive, now in its 22nd year. Both Dan and Penny attracted leeches. I was mercifully spared.