Today I received confirmation that my website had been moved to a new plan as advised by Ben, to accommodate the greatly increased content resulting from his work.
For the second night shoot in succession, I filmed a butterfly resting with wings spread. Normally we see moths at night. We were in Joalah and encountered an unconscionable number of leeches in spite of fairly dry weather. Recent rain had not even muddied the ground. It was as if the leeches still thought they were enjoying the good, flooding season of recent years. This meant that my helpers Dan and Jason, whose young eyes are better able to discover potential subjects than mine or Mark’s, were more taken up with picking off leeches than spotting creatures, though I did film a Leaf-tailed Gecko completely minus tail.
We started our night filming last season on 29 September. The shoot was notable because I filmed Red Triangle Slugs for the only time. Tonight, we started the new season in Joalah an incredible 6 weeks later than last year. Besides my trip to Longreach and the cool weather, the unavailability of one or other of the crew, compounded this season’s rocky start. Tonight’s haul was a female Harvestman, an earth worm, a skink, an eel, and, a male Trapdoor Spider, not lurking in its burrow, but, unusually, on the prowl.
Prince Charles and Camilla visited Longreach today on their trip to Australia and New Zealand marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and popped into the Qantas Founders Museum. Nicole sent an email confirming that she and Simon met them and that she was thrilled and honoured to be chosen to present Prince Charles with a newly published biography of one of the Qantas founders. Bravo Nicole.
Today Ben came to my place to give me a tutorial in operating the website. I am confident that he has created a quick, operator-friendly set-up as far as the gallery and blog are concerned. We didn’t have time to try out generating XML for EOL. In any case I was hard-pressed to absorb all the information on creating gallery pages and blog entries.
My camera’s 20x optical zoom is invaluable for revealing the appearance of a given subject. It works best if I am 90 cm or a metre away. But, some subjects, like the small and tiny moths I filmed on the garage today, can benefit from bringing the camera as close as possible to them. One of its features is the button which allows a zoom at a pre-set slow or fast speed, but which can also be pressed to give very gradual increments of proximity. I was able to get much better close ups of the moths this way than by being on full zoom.
For the first time I failed to film any subject on our fist night shoot of the season. Mark, Dan and I were in the Knoll NP. The shoot was already delayed because of a cool Spring and further delayed because I was in Longreach for the first half of October. But the generally cool nights persisted. Returning from Steve’s the night before, the external temperature read-out in my car was C13° and it was 14° before we started our walk tonight. The only times, twice from memory, when I failed to film on a night shoot was on the last walk of the season. Tonight we saw a rodent which didn’t hang around to be filmed, a Ring-tail Possum which was too far away, a small moth buffeted by the wind, a Brown Huntsman spider and in the car park just before leaving, we heard an unfamiliar sound and Dan shone his powerful torch on a Squirrel Glider climbing high up on the trunk of a Flooded gum tree and jumping onto branches in the canopy with incredible speed and agility. I was content just to have seen this glider for the first time ever.
A week after Simon agreed the dates for me to visit him and Nicole in Longreach, I set off on the 1250km drive and fell in love with the outback all over again. My stay coincided with the last days of the tourism season, so all the local attractions were open. The Qantas Founders Museum is a fun place to visit and for that reason seems like a really good workplace. It was lovely at last being with Simon and Nicole for an extended period and seeing how much they were enjoying their married life in Longreach.
Unlike my first foray into the interior on a road trip with Simon 25 years ago, when I was new in the country, the ranges had good grass cover instead of being baked. On the journey I delighted in seeing Queensland Bottle Trees, some of wondrous girth, growing in paddocks or lining the streets of towns. Other than a number in Blackall, a faint echo of the magnificent avenues in Charleville, I did not notice them north of Auguthella. It was only well after Mitchell, where I broke my journey, that I saw my first wild emu in many years…. Read Complete Text
Today I attended the private view at Boonah Regional Art Gallery of an exhibition of Jan Drynan’s paintings, an artist I have long admired. In addition to Jan’s main subject of landscape painting, the exhibition included paintings and prints of the anti Coal Seam Gas protest by farmers and environmentalists at a drilling site near her property. On the spur of the moment I decided to buy the painting I liked most of all, a superb Scenic Rim landscape.