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Film Diary / 15.05.2019

The entry refers to a moth, Maxates centrophylla, I photographed this morning. I thought that It is the first full-on new green moth I have encountered in years, but I had forgotten about one I photographed at the same location at the end of October 2018, Clytophylla artia. It was a richer green, shaped more like a plant hopper than a moth and was very small. Today’s moth is pale green, with spread wings. Its shape and markings looked subtly different, which prompted me to photograph it. Going through my Moths album, I counted 28 green or predominantly green moths. I haven’t filmed anything since the end of February, being otherwise engaged.

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Film Diary / 05.02.2019

This morning I filmed one of 11 moths which I have seen at the garage awaiting identification by Peter Hendry, since he left for a 2 ½ month cruise just after Christmas. The moth closely resembles a species in my album except that it is a transparent pastel green and not white. Hopefully there will be more on the list by the time Peter is back.

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Film Diary / 02.01.2019

What better way to start 2019 than with a night filming walk in Joalah National Park. Dan (thanks to school holidays) joined Mark, Robyn, Karen and me on a warm night. We saw several leaf-tailed geckos, a pie dish beetle, plenty of garden orb spiders, a male harvestman, a couple of semi-slugs and a dwarf crowned snake. I filmed a species of dragonfly which I don’t recall having seen before, a greengrocer cicada nymph moulting into adulthood and just about the biggest giant water spider ever. I wish all an excellent 2019.

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Film Diary, Other / 19.12.2018

Exactly twenty years ago, I wrote the first entry in my Film Diary. It was about filming the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. The project’s duration didn’t figure in my thoughts at the time. One thing I could not have predicted was that the 20th anniversary coincided with a scheduled night walk. Before we set out, we – Hugh, Jaap, Mark, Robyn, Lumart, Karen and me – raised a glass of Veuve Clicquot to the health of the project, which I want to keep going as long as I can, and exchanged heartfelt words and thoughts.

At Lumart’s suggestion, after a long absence and two weather delays, we were at Witches Falls National Park. Paradoxically, recent walks have been both shorter and longer than ever. Shorter in distance covered, longer in time filming. This may have been the shortest yet. The track into the park comprises a level path which extends more than a kilometre before the descent to the shelf land which is its core. It was 10 o’clock when we turned back towards the car park and we were a fair distance from the first steps downhill. Even then, we found two frogs I had never… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 14.11.2018

Our walk in Palm Grove, nearly proved fruitless for me. By the time I had set up to film a black-spotted semi-slug on the shell of a giant panda snail, the semi-slug had vanished. However, Lumart had shone his uv torch on lichens on a rough-hewn stone wall on either side of steps leading to the picnic area portending spectacular images. There are many rocks in the park, so I anticipated achieving good things filming lichens on them. But the results were poor. The lichens on the wall had been exposed to sunlight, those in the park were shielded by the understory and canopy.

On one side of the steps some of the lichens resembled larva flows and magma, others emitted a brilliant yellow light. On the other side of the steps, the lichens looked like rock paintings of a kind never achieved on earth, one with three bright white/green circles forming a triangle on a crimson ground. PS I went back to the wall next day and filmed the lichens in daylight. They looked very dull in comparison.

 

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Film Diary / 09.11.2018

There have been some hot days, plenty of rain in October, but overall, Spring has been cool. I have photographed on 18 days with my PANCAM since July 1, (mostly moths, but also birds, a lacewing, a spider and the smallest stick insect nymph I have seen), compared with 11 days for the entire second half of 2017. Today, I filmed European honey bees drinking at a birdbath in a friend’s garden. I had never seen this activity and hadn’t given the matter any thought, but I was entranced by what I saw. The bees spent plenty of time drinking and relaxing. The plants which attract blue-banded bees aren’t in flower. I can’t wait to find out if I will be able to film them drinking.

 

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Film Diary / 24.10.2018

Tonight, at The Knoll, we completed the first night filming walk of the new season, which started late because of unusually cold weather and recent rain. It was great to see Robyn again, after a long absence while she waited for a hip replacement operation, from which she has thankfully made a good recovery. Mark, Jaap Lumart and Karen completed the crew.

We saw plenty of creatures including a metre long brown tree snake, plenty of spiders, a couple of snails, a small and emaciated leaf-tail gecko, two great-barred frogs, black-spotted semi-slugs, a crane fly, caterpillars, millipedes, glow worms, and male and female harvestman. I filmed a new, smallish beetle. I also got a few okay seconds of the eel which lives in Sandy Creek, now full after a week of heavy rain. On the way back from dropping off Jaap, I swerved to avoid a large carpet python about to cross the road.

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Film Diary / 17.10.2018

Apparently, they have been there for a few days, but I only noticed them when I drove past at lunch time today – an adult tawny frogmouth and chick, perched on a wood chip pile in the park opposite my apartment block. The pile is all that remains of the tree which contained the nest, from which they had been summarily evicted, because council workers cut the tree down last week. In an attempt to make amends, the council has surrounded the pile with ‘do not disturb’ signs. They are due to remain in place until the chick is able to fly, which is reckoned to be in about two weeks’ time.

Although they resemble owls, tawny frogmouths are not raptors, lacking talons, and a beak capable of ripping flesh apart. They catch their insect prey on the wing. The birds occur throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania. Use the images and videos search to see what they look like.

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Film Diary / 26.06.2018

Dragon head fits the bright green caterpillar I found on this morning’s walk. I have never seen its like, with four menacing horns growing from its head. But it is smooth-skinned and harmless. Tailed emperor, Charaxes sempronius, is the name of the butterfly it becomes. The butterfly has a wingspan of up to 11 cm. It occurs throughout Australia other than Tasmania, though mainly in tropical and subtropical regions.

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Film Diary / 18.06.2018

That is how emails from Chris Burwell of the Queensland Museum, who has long been my mainstay on insect identification, are now titled. Chris doesn’t just provide an attribution when possible, he adds snippets of fascinating information. Today’s arrival was a gem. Without Lumart’s sophisticated uv torch, we would never have seen the shield bug on the forest floor, one night in April this year. I filmed it under the spotlight as well as under uv. It was a female Peltocopta crassiventris which is unique in transporting her hatchlings under the concave underside of her abdomen. This feat qualifies the species for inclusion in a CSIRO list of five of Australia’s most amazing examples of animal behaviour.