Film Diary / 29.12.2008

When I woke up on 29 December, I drew back my bedroom curtain, opened the sliding door onto the balcony and went back to bed to listen to the 7.45 news, as is my wont. As I lay there I saw what looked like a huge tangle of spider web caught in the morning sunlight beneath the seat of a garden chair. Then I saw it was green and wondered how vegetation had somehow been blown behind the chair. When I got up and took a closer look, the sphere of bits of branch from the tree outside my balcony, looked vaguely familiar. I had filmed a similar but larger structure before, in a tree, but devoid of any greenery. Still uncertain, I prodded the sphere and met with resistance. This was indeed a ring-tailed possum’s dray. Unfortunately, some of the vegetation fell off. This enabled me later to film a bit of tail, which poked through the resultant hole. The next day the dray was somewhat dishevelled, due to the possum’s going and coming, and I was able to film other bits of possum. A neighbour to whom I showed the dray pointed out that there were… Read Complete Text


Film Diary / 08.12.2008

In the park opposite my dwelling, I filmed two parent and two young tawny frogmouths (an owl-like bird), huddled close together on a low branch in a pile of fallen vegetation caused by a freak storm three weeks ago. The frogmouths are nocturnal, but were sleeping in a completely exposed position. Both Currawong and Magpie, quite large diurnal birds, let them be. The camera angle could not have been better and I was eventually able to get quite close. In the afternoon they had partly changed their position. The siblings remained where they had been in the morning but the parents were on a low branch in another part of the pile, near a power pole. They were all a bit more active by now and I was able to get some close ups of preening and of their wide-open eyes.



Film Diary / 02.12.2008

Jaap had told me about some lace monitors or goannas he had seen on a number of occasions around Panorama Point overlooking Tamborine Gorge. In the afternoon I drove to the end of the sealed road below the Point, got out of the car and took in the scene. I didn’t see any goannas, but was intrigued by some black birds in the trees near the track. I set up my camera to film them before I realised they were a pair of glossy black cockatoos, a species I had not filmed before. The under side of the male’s tail is a vivid red. The female has yellow marking on her head, reminiscent of that of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, but a more golden tone and a red and yellow barred tail. The location was not ideal for afternoon filming. Fortunately the birds hung around for a long time feeding on pine cones and I was able to get some good footage. I returned to the spot a number of times without seeing the birds or goannas, but I caught sight of a small plant with blue berries nearby which I filmed. Its identity baffled a naturalist to… Read Complete Text


Other / 28.11.2008

Following a visit to my place in October by Jo Ritale, Manager, Original Materials Heritage Collections, I wrote her a letter confirming my intention to donate, in due course, the unedited DVCAM tapes and associated papers of my archive to the State Library. I also mentioned my intention to put the tapes onto a hard-drive for access on DVDs. Jo replied by letter just before she left to take up a post in Melbourne, acknowledging my donation and providing contact details for her successor. Exchange of letters 14th and 28th of November


Other / 21.11.2008

Today I filmed a second interview with Darryl Jones. In the rush to complete the Beauty Series DVD before my overseas trip, I clean forgot to mention the first interview I had filmed with him on the 3rd of July. The second interview was needed so that Darryl could talk about global warming and its effects on the local biodiversity. He also spoke about Tamborine Mountain as a place where the southern and northern limits of species overlap and about the age of the Mountain’s rainforest. For the first interview I asked Darryl to talk about some of the basic science of biodiversity, touching on species grouping and identification and key relationships between species. Then I wanted to hear about the distinctive features of the biodiversity of South East Queensland and its vulnerability, ditto for Tamborine Mountain. Finally Darryl spoke about a pet subject of his, harking back more than 20 years to his research into scrub turkeys conducted on the Mountain. The males construct mounds containing up to 4 tons of material in which the females deposit eggs. The young hatch and emerge from deep inside the mound and are left to fend for themselves. Their… Read Complete Text


Other / 20.11.2008

Quite out of the blue I received an email from Art Vogel, the Curator of the Leiden Botanical Garden, whom I met briefly on my visit there in late August.  Constance, the information officer at the Garden, had forwarded him an email I had sent her. He is very keen on cycads and has an impressive display of them, including specimens from South East Queensland. One of the Mountain’s small national parks mainly comprises a grove of palm-like Lepidozamia peroffskyana. Art wrote about a cycad hunting visit to Australia in 2003 and of his recent travels in Mexico where he was impressed by some huge cacti. I attached a couple of frames of the Mountain’s very own huge cactus, a Cereus jamacaru, to the email I sent him. The cactus is a native ofBrazil, resembles a tree and grows to 9m or 30’ tall. Its trunk is 45cm or 18” in diameter, so this is as good a specimen as one is ever likely to find. Exchange of emails 20th and 26th of November



Film Diary / 08.11.2008

From time to time Jenny Peat, secretary of the Progress Association, phones to tell me about something film-worthy in her garden. This time I had the opportunity to film the quite rare Fletcher’s frog, which she is encouraging to breed. Although I was running out of tape I managed to get some good footage of a female.



The Brisbane Line / 03.11.2008

Received an email from the editor, Martin Leet, with the link to my article.


I opposed the war in Iraq because I was lied to about the reasons for waging it. Bush, Blair and Howard peddled the tale that Saddam Hussein was a danger to the people of their respective countries. This was palpable nonsense. On the contrary, I consider the war-mongering Bush to be a far greater danger to the world than the late Saddam, whose scope to extend his murderous actions beyond Iraq’s borders had been severely curtailed by the no-fly zone maintained by the US and Britain since the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Having opposed the war, I had to accept the fact that I was willing to consign the people of Iraq to their fate at the hands of the planet’s most monstrous tyrant and that did not sit well with me.

Early in the 21st century and after many decades of growth of mature liberal democracy, the world has no mechanism for getting rid of tyrants, other than relying on their victims to rise up and overthrow them. This is… Read Complete Text


Other / 27.10.2008

Stans (Constance) van der Veen emailed me pictures of the giant Arum lily, which was supposed to have flowered on the night of my visit in August. Except that they were a day out in their calculations. In any case because I had to get back to Amsterdam I could not have stayed for the duration of what wasn’t the flowering. These plants are famed for their size and the rarity of their flowering and are notorious for the foul odour they emit when in bloom. Stans’ backpack retained the odour a month after the event.


Film Diary / 20.09.2008

After a break of three months I resumed filming and the first subject which caught my eye was a white flower. On my daily walk I noticed more and more white flowers and so for more than a month I mainly filmed plants with white flowers. Some flowers had entirely white petals, some started off with white petals which later turned blue or pink and some had bits of colour at the base of their petals. As I viewed the tapes towards the end of my white flower spree, I tallied the different plants and came up with more than 50, though I went on to film a few more afterwards. The filming occurred from late September to early November