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Film Diary / 22.02.2017

This evening we concluded our night filming walk in The Knoll National Park, begun last week, when there were so many interesting subjects (two moths, two spiders, a butterfly and a beetle) that we barely got past the second bend in the path.

The big attraction at The Knoll is Hadronyche formidabilis, which resides in a tree next to the creek close to the furthest point of our walk. This spider has the most potent arachnid venom on the planet.  By tickling the trip lines with a twig, Mark causes the spider to leave its web thinking it is about to pounce on prey instead of the end of vegetable matter. This was the fourth occasion I have filmed the spider and this time I set myself up to get frame-filling close ups. The spider gave a bravura performance, leaving its web several times and hanging on to the twig in full view. On one take, its grip was so powerful that when it retreated into its web carrying the twig with it, Mark had to wait quite a while before it let go. For the record, this is post 450.

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Film Diary / 01.02.2017

Tonight  was my first night filming foray with the new camera. We are approaching our 150th walk. A little while back we felt that we might run out of subjects to film only to find that we encountered one fresh nocturnal highlight after another. This evening was no exception. Mark, Jaap, Lumart and I were in Joalah National Park. Mark tickled the trip lines of a trapdoor spider lurking beneath its slightly ajar door. It pounced on the stick before withdrawing to its previous position. I also filmed a Golden-crowned Snake maneuvering on a fallen tree lodged against the bank of the pool below Curtis Falls, a Gordian Worm swimming in the pool and a Pie-dish Beetle scurrying  around some small rocks.

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Film Diary / 20.01.2017

After breakfast, I filmed three of the four moths I had photographed at the garage on my morning walk; the fourth having flown away. Filming moths at the garage has become an all too rare pleasure. It is nearly a year since the previous occasion which in turn was the first since June 2015. One of the moths was a new species for my website. It was a fitting way to inaugurate my new camera.

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Film Diary / 28.12.2016

This morning I took the Canon into Palm Grove National Park to film the aerial roots of a Bangalow Palm, the fallen Moreton Bay Fig tree, volcanic rocks on the slope above the school path and a male harvestman on a rock where I once filmed six in close proximity. The greatest benefit of a fully functioning camera was accurate focus from wide to zoom. The sunlight created strong contrast which I tried to overcome by adjusting the exposure, but the controls are not as handy as on the Sony and will take some getting used to.

This evening two guests made for an extra large party on our night walk in The Knoll. The old crew of Mark and Dan only lacked Jaap’s presence to be fully reunited. This was the first opportunity to try out the Canon at night. Because it has a better sensor than the Sony, the focused beam of the spotlight resulted in over-exposure, particularly on wide shots. Resorting to a version of manual exposure improved the image quality without getting the exposure right. I filmed a great barred frog, a female poinciana longicorn beetle depositing her eggs in a tree, two resting… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 14.12.2016

Mark has retired from teaching and joined Lumart and me on the 138th night filming walk. We paid a return visit to MacDonald National Park, having failed to complete the circuit in mid-November. There was plenty to see, for instance skinks, a variety of snails, spiders and cockroaches, fungi, Giant Stinging Trees, and some beautiful ascending and descending vines. Even after so many walks I always find compelling subjects to film; this time an Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly, a katydid instar, a moth, a Greengrocer Cicada completing its moult and a Short-beaked Echidna up against a tree before it slowly waddled off into the black.

PS  I photographed a second moth on the 11th which I recognised as probably the same species as one I had filmed a few years ago. Only my expert had got the species wrong and had to consult a colleague who specialises in the Lymantriidae family. An email awaited me after tonight’s walk which contained the specialist’s verdict.

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Film Diary / 11.12.2016

One of the moths I photographed on December 5, was new to me. The following day I got the best close up of a moth I first filmed with my SD camera and later, at night in rainforest in HD. On December 7 I saw and phtographed for the first time, a moth described as one of the most common in Australia. And today, I photographed another new moth. What a difference a fully lit garage has made in such a brief time.

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Film Diary / 26.10.2016

On checking out Jaap’s sighting of a pair of Whip Birds near the pond in the Land Care Depot the other day, I caught sight of a peewee, as the Magpie Lark is known in Queensland, feeding on the ground. I have never filmed this bird, though I have seen it over the years when I didn’t have my camera with me. I returned a day later, but found it too difficult to film the bird. Yesterday, I made a start, with some distant shots and improved the record this morning. However, on returning this afternoon I noticed a nest in a gum tree which the adult birds had frequented. There were two almost fully fledged chicks in the nest, which the adults visited regularly; the visits lasting from a few seconds to half a minute or more.

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Film Diary / 12.10.2016

We started the new night filming season in The Knoll with walk 134. Jaap and Lumart were the crew. Although the night was cooler than we would have liked, we were expectant of some night life because the weather last week was warm. I can’t readily recall a more felicitous season opening. I filmed a weevil, a moulting spider, a moth, a damselfly, a mayfly and, wonder of wonders, the dwelling of a log cabin case moth larva – the last three on a stand of young palms. The dwelling had seven layers and lacked the extensions of the one I photographed in April this year, which had eleven layers. I never expected to see its like again, yet barely six months later one turns up at night in our beloved rainforest. We saw female and male harvestmen, some very large spider burrows, several moths, a semi-slug, two leaf-tailed geckos, some beautiful fungi and two huge giant water spiders.

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Film Diary / 07.10.2016

For the second time this week I stopped to film three Masked Lapwing chicks on my way to the bower (see the post for 23 September). They were foraging in a small, unfenced orchard in my street. I had seen the parents for some time on a vacant block on the other side of the park in front of my home. The chicks were older than the ones I filmed in SD, which were being nestled by their mother. The chicks I filmed this week were very quick on their legs. Today I was able to get closer to them.

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Film Diary / 23.09.2016

In five attempts since September 12 and after many hours of waiting and with a few near misses, I at last shot about 4 ½ minutes of footage of a female with a male Satin Bowerbird in its bower, located in a  secluded garden. By near misses I mean occasions when the female was close but not close enough, calling volubly but remaining out of sight and this morning, hopping onto a branch overlooking the bower but then flying away before returning, touching down and remaining. This afternoon I watched the footage, which turned out well.