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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.

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Film Diary / 09.05.2018

On my morning walk I happened to glance towards the garden with the cotton shrubs and noticed the bolls dotting the vegetation with their white fluff. I crossed the road to take a closer look and was regaled with a profusion of harlequin bugs clustering on leaves, on unopened bolls, crawling on stems, which totally eclipsed anything I saw and filmed last year. The bugs were early to late instars, with countless males replacing the lone specimens on the shrubs I saw previously. There may have been a greater number of adult females  than before, but because of the profusion of instars it was difficult to tell.

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Film Diary / 28.04.2018

This evening we filmed in a new location, 696 Main Western Road. In addition to Mark, Lumart and Jaap, the party included Karen, a skilled photographer and the owners of the property, Cobie and Kate. They have planted extensive areas of native vegetation to compliment some of the splendid, mature trees which adorn the 3 ½ acre grounds. Mark found several moths for me to film, a juvenile red triangle slug (among several fully grown specimens) and the pièce de résistance, a Robust Velvet Gecko. This is a beautiful creature with a broad, dark grey stripe from its eyes to the tip of its tail, covered in whitish,  lichen crypsis (mimicking) patches. It was attached to the outside of a window at a good angle for filming. The gecko is nearly as big as its leaf-tailed namesake. It is aptly named with its plump body, limbs and tail.

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Film Diary / 20.04.2018

Peter Hendry and his wife left on a 3 ½ month overseas trip 6 weeks ago. This means that I have to upload new moth images to my album with a record of their file number, so that in due course I can attach them to emails to send to Peter. This is by way of a back story for today’s moths at the garage. Moths enjoy vegetation, so the removal of a large tree and various shrubs from one side of the drive a year or more ago has affected their numbers at the garage. Moths enjoy rain even more, which they did last night, resulting in a greater number than I have seen for months. I photographed three of them; one was a species new to me, but I won’t find out what it is until July, alas.

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Film Diary / 28.03.2018

This evening, Mark, Lumart and I were at The Knoll. Lumart has a torch which emits ultra violet light. The most striking effect is achieved on the mottled scorpion, which lights up in spectacular fashion. After recent rain, there were large numbers of scorpions around and I filmed a lone specimen which was static for a long period and then moved off. I also filmed a mating couple, pincers clasping pincers. The pair were on a root. The male pulled the female off the root, relocating just below it. I also filmed a plant shoot with just two leaves, whose venation responded to the ultra violet.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.