Logo

Film Diary / 08.02.2018

This morning, I filmed sulphur-crested cockatoos in the park opposite my flat, eating the nuts of the bunya pine, several of which grace the park. The cones, which can weigh as much as 10 kg, drop to earth in January and February. For the past two years no cones had fallen. This season there was a bumper crop. The birds are well equipped to get at the nuts, tearing at the thick outer covering with their powerful beaks, while keeping the cone steady with their equally powerful feet.

Logo

Film Diary / 03.01.2018

There were some familiar subjects presenting themselves at excellent angles for filming, two being a weevil and the hooded semi-slug (the fifth time I have filmed it and always in Palm Grove National Park). One new subject was a spider with a bright green patch on the back of its abdomen. I also filmed some tiny fungi whose stems seemed no thicker than a human hair.

Logo

Film Diary / 20.12.2017

Mark, Lumart, Jaap and I had our hands full with a wide variety of critters in MacDonald National Park.  I filmed a skink, a house centipede on a leaf, which stood out from its background far more than the previous specimens in my footage. I also filmed a moth, a juvenile carpet python in a tree, a pie dish beetle, a moulting cockroach and a male wasp belonging to a sub-family whose males are winged and carry around the females during mating. We found the most spectacular subject, new to all of us, on our way out – a batwing gum moth caterpillar. It is one of Australia’s biggest. I estimate it was more than 12 cm long and was nearly as thick as my thumb. At first it was still, but then began to move and gyrate.

Logo

Film Diary / 15.11.2017

We succeeded in getting a full night’s filming in MacDonald National Park at the third attempt. On the first occasion two weeks ago Jaap and Lumart were driven crazy by mosquitos and we had to abandon the walk. Last week was bitterly cold and windy. To-night was comparatively balmy, though we continue to experience below average daytime temperatures. I filmed a small, roosting bird on a low branch next to the path, some fascinating white fungi which poked above the earth like ghostly fingers and an owl chick resting on the ground. It would have been between two and three weeks old. Jaap, who is overseas, would not have been pleased to have missed it

Logo

Film Diary / 25.10.2017

The 2017-18 night filming season began with a walk in The Knoll. Jaap, Mark and Lumart were the crew. I filmed a very hairy caterpillar which I had previously filmed in Palm Grove; a large hunting beetle crawling on a tree near a huntsman spider; and for the second time, a flatworm with a yellow and brown stripe down its back.

Logo

Film Diary / 28.08.2017

It is a month ago to the day since I last filmed, having been engaged on a pet project, of which more in due course. This morning I filmed a broken strangler fig in MacDonald National Park whose trunk  mysteriously snapped off some thirty feet above the forest floor. The fig was old and vast, one of a pair standing side by side. The fallen trunk generated an immense clearing, bringing down lesser trees, including palms.

Logo

Film Diary / 04.06.2017

Looking back through the blog, I notice that I first filmed the Cotton Harlequin Bugs on the 8th of April. On the 17th I filmed a female with her newly laid eggs, discovering that she would stay and guard them until they hatch. On various subsequent visits there she was, a marvel of maternal constancy. This morning I filmed the nymphs scrabbling in a clump on the egg casings a day or so after emerging, with the by now rather wan-looking female, on an adjacent stem.

Logo

Film Diary, Other / 28.05.2017

Having just completed our 150th walk I thought it might be interesting to delve into the history of the walks and tally how many we did per season (broadly, October to May). In doing so I discovered I was one walk short in the total to this season’s end. We have actually completed 153. The 150th occurred a week earlier than the ‘official’ date. I didn’t start numbering the walks until a few seasons had passed. And then, I didn’t number every walk. The tally per season is:  ’07 –’08 = 5   ’08 – ’09 = 10   ’09 – ’10 = 13   ’10 –’11 = 26   ’11 – ’12 = 19   ’12 –’13 = 16   ’13 – ’14 = 13  ’14 –’15 = 16   ’15 – ’16 = 16   ’16 – ’17 = 19. You will notice that in the second season we doubled the number of walks of season one and in the fourth, we doubled the number of walks in season three.

I next tallied how many walks we had done in each of the national parks.  Joalah topped the list with 47, followed by The Knoll with 43, MacDonald with 31, Palm Grove 25, Witches… Read Complete Text

Logo

Film Diary / 17.05.2017

We toasted the 150th walk with a half bottle of champagne at the start of the 151st because Jaap, who spotlighted the very first walk, was able to accompany Mark, Lumart and me in Palm Grove on what may be this season’s last walk. The night was beautiful, the air still. I filmed a fungus and ants, a mayfly with 3 tail cerci (long filaments attached to the tip of the abdomen), a small stick insect on a leaf, a ‘new’ spider and two snails. We saw, but didn’t film, a nocturnal vignette. A large ant was wandering on an earth bank dotted with the burrows of several trapdoor spiders, until it came within range of a small spider lying in wait at the entrance to its burrow. In an instantaneous, single movement the spider seized the hapless ant and vanished into the depths with its prey. This triggered the door to snap shut on the carnage so that one could be excused for thinking it had never happened.

Logo

Film Diary, Other / 08.05.2017

This evening I received an email identifying a roosting bird I had recently filmed at night in rainforest. It was a new species for the archive. This, I had not expected. Finding a new species of bird to film is increasingly rare. Whereas the opposite appears to be true with moths. Encountering a juvenile Pacific Heron a few weeks ago, having long before filmed an adult, was exciting. But a new species beats that.