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Film Diary / 05.09.2016

For the first time since June I took some photos with my PANCAM and two months later than I would have liked, inaugurated the PANCAM 2016 B folder of my image library. The subject was close ups of the flowers of Zieria collina, a shrub which only grows on the mountain and is listed as vulnerable. Spring officially started on the 1st of September. The zieria bushes are bursting with flowers. I also filmed the flowers and am confident that the close ups are an improvement on those of the SD footage, though they won’t match the PANCAM’s.

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Film Diary / 07.08.2016

This post is included not so much because of what I filmed but because I filmed – for the first time since my return, indeed since June 10. The location was the same, the lagoon in the sports complex, now empty of water. The subject was a small bottle brush tree, with many buds and a single, red flower. Filming again was a therapeutic blowing away of the remaining cobwebs of jet lag. It has taken longer than usual to get back to my normal sleep pattern.

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Film Diary, Other / 13.05.2016

I was thrilled and touched to receive a hand-written letter from David Attenborough thanking me for the photos of the Log Cabin Case Moth and the letter about finding it that I sent him. He wrote that he had never seen the dewlling of a Log Cabin Case Moth before and that he found it fascinating.

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Film Diary / 04.05.2016

Our 132nd night filming walk was at The Knoll. Fortunately it has been easier to muster a crew in 2016, thanks to Robyn and Jaap and the reliability of two recent recruits, Michael and Lumart. Although we are approaching the end of the season, the weather was mild, resulting in a rich haul of subjects, some not previously encountered. I filmed a native cockroach whose appearance reminded me of an over-sized wood louse. Next was a spider tending her egg sac. Thereafter a moth I don’t think I have previously filmed or photographed and the partly emerged chrysalis of a Swift Moth protruding from the compacted earth of the path, near its edge, a subject I had never even previously seen. Apparently disturbed by being filmed and photographed, the chrysalis withdrew into the ground with only its tip protruding and an antennae twitching.This season we have seen a more than doubling of our roosting bird record to tonight’s eight. As long as the weather stays mild, we shall endeavour to keep filming at night.

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Film Diary / 16.04.2016

This post is an anomaly because it is about a sequence of photographs, rather than about video footage. The subject was one of the most amazing I have encountered during the nearly 18 years I have devoted to my artwork. On my morning walk an intriguing structure on a picket fence caught my eye. It was beautifully formed of twigs, tapered from an irregular base and approximately 10 millimetres high. I asked a couple of women passers by what they thought it might be. One of them removed it from the picket to reveal a tiny caterpillar ensconced in a silk-lined bag, which I immediately recognised as a case moth larva. She placed it on a nearby fence post. I consequently took photos of the structure tilted back by my thumb with the caterpillar partly emerged from its hiding place. When I got home I googled case moth images and found one which was appropriately titled Log Cabin Case Moth. It resembled the one I had photographed without matching its structure.  I returned to the fence post in the afternoon and took many more photos of the ‘log cabin’. Two of the photos are on the last page of… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 30.03.2016

Night filming in The Knoll with Mark, Jaap and Dan was the first time I have used the camera since before handing it over for repair at the beginning of the month. We saw three roosting birds, which is more than on any other walk. I filmed a net-casting spider in a tree, above head height, the same as the first of three species I have filmed but this time gaining a clearer view of spider and net. Jaap photographed a leech which had been on Dan’s boot and some glowing fungi which Mark had found, very different to the green-glowing species we regularly see. These were much bigger with a pale white glow, the fungus in the foreground was on earth below a large, fallen trunk from which numerous other fungi were sprouting. Meanwhile, Mark, Dan and I walked on. Dan pointed out the web of Hadronyche formidabilis, the Northern Tree Funnelweb and arguably the planet’s deadliest spider, on a tree next to the track. Mark tickled the trip lines and eventually lured the spider to twice emerge from one of its funnels, events I caught on camera. On the way out I filmed beautiful red fruit in… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 24.02.2016

Our 125th night walk was on 10 February, but with little to film. We created the 3 ‘Rainforest at Night’ hour long DVDs after the first 53 walks. The following week there was nothing to film. Tonight, in MacDonald National Park, I filmed a splendid Stick Insect on a tree stump next to the path. It had a robust but not particularly long body and banded legs. Next I filmed a small frog, probably a Cascade Tree Frog, on a palm leaf. I manged to capture the glint in its eye. Finally I filmed some mating stick insects. The male looked to be no more than a nymph which possibly made the female a nymphomaniac.

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Film Diary / 03.02.2016

This evening I filmed in Palm Grove with Robyn, Michael and Jaap. Recent rain livened up the leeches. I was complaining that my companions were more concerned to remove leeches from their persons than find subjects for me to film. Palm Grove is notorious for leeches and we all had to pull them off legs, boots and clothing. But there was one highlight for me to film, namely five Mountain Semi-slugs (the species discovered on the mountain in 1998 and only known to exist there) on a single young palm next to the path. Not only did I film multiple specimens (two actually) for the first time in four sightings, I also filmed them in motion for the first time.

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Film Diary / 13.01.2016

We have been night filming four weeks out of a possible five. Last week it rained in the rainforest, but we were almost done and I could protect the camera. This evening in Palm Grove was the warmest of the season. I was accompanied by Mark, Dan and Michael. Just outside the entrance I filmed my second Goliath Stick Insect years after filming my first. It was in a tree a few metres overhead. Just inside the park I filmed a rodent called-up by Mark. Next was a large caterpillar and then a pair of amorous skinks. My filming culminated in a sight none of us had ever seen –  trapdoor spiders whose burrows, above head height, were in a sapling next to the path, instead of in the earth. I also started on my 100th tape.

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Film Diary / 30.12.2015

Tonight was our 120th walk, almost 8 years to the day since our first and a terrific way to finish 2015, the previous week having been rained off. Mark joined Michael,  Jaap and me in MacDonald National Park on a beautiful night, the slopes sheltered from the wind which was blowing in the car park. I filmed a Shiny-leaf Stinging Tree new to me, a spider which was probably a Brown Huntsman but looked different, a definitely different species of skink, a dead bandicoot infested with flies and maggots, a moulting cicada nymph and what looked like an unusual snail on a leaf. Rather an impressive haul.