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Film Diary / 30.12.2014

Last week, with Mark back spotlighting because it is school holiday time, I copped the first leech of the current season, where else but in Palm Grove. I filmed an Eastern Small-eyed Snake on the move, a female scale insect, larger than the one I filmed in 2010 and round not elongated, plus a new lacewing. Tonight we returned to Joalah with an outsize party of nine consisting of 7 crew members and two guests of Jaap’s. For the same reason that Mark was spotlighting, Dan was back carrying the tripod and using his young eyes and his zoological  training to great effect. The night was hot and humid and after yet more rain the ground was soft. Jaap spotted another of the round scale insects, smaller than last week’s. We saw so many creatures – eels, a catfish, Giant Water Spiders, snails, millipedes, a large caterpillar, glow worms, a snake, beetles, a stick insect nymph, a Short-eared Possum. But the highlight for me was filming a Powerful Spiny Crayfish, a creature I had never seen, which Dan discovered walking along the path near Curtis Falls. With its 15 cm body length and menacing claws, it is appropriately named. What… Read Complete Text

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Other / 18.12.2014

In an email today, Peter Hendry confirmed that I have at last photographed a Cyana meyricki moth, the one that emerges from a cage built by the caterpillar out of its own hairs. I have filmed several of the cages in different locations and the actual caterpillar in the same place where, on 27 November, I photographed the moth. Having downloaded the image onto my hard drive yesterday, I had my doubts that it was a moth and was about to include it in my  Other Fauna  album, when I thought I should first check with Peter and sent him the photo. At the time I remember thinking that it might have been a Cyana meyricki moth. It flew away as I was on the point of taking another photo and I wasn’t sure my first effort was okay.

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Film Diary / 17.12.2014

We suspended night filming on 5 November because of increasing lack of fauna due to the distressed state of the rainforest through lack of rain. This evening was our 107th foray. We were in the Knoll and for the first time in nearly two years Jaap was with us, spotlighting. The night was warm and sticky. Though it was dry under foot, the amount of rain we received in the past week or two was sufficient to liven things up, (last Wednesday evening was fine, but alas, I couldn’t raise a crew). Thus we saw any number of Great Barred Frogs, two Leaf-tailed Geckos, an echidna foraging off the track, two Pink-tongued Lizards, lots of orb and trapdoor spiders and much else.

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Other / 08.12.2014

With the ten new videos Steve and I have completed appearing on site today, my total number of videos has passed the 275 mark. The ten are the last in a run of 79 HD species videos to add to the previous run of 47 HD species videos. I am now about to start shot- selecting a third run.

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Film Diary / 08.12.2014

I spoke to Chris Burwell this morning. He has just returned to work after a holiday. He wanted another shot of the dragonfly to pin point the attribution and having looked at it he phoned to confirm that the dragonfly is an Australian Emerald. (See FILM DIARY 1 November 2014).

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Other / 21.11.2014

It was all the more gratifying to receive an email from Don-herbison Evans fully identifying a caterpillar with a most striking appearance I filmed recently at night. It was perhaps 6 cm long, with brown tufts on its light grey back and very long hairs. It had blue dots on its sides. I film many caterpillars, mostly at night. They are intriguing creatures, but notoriously more difficult to identify from a video frame than the adult moth or butterfly. If Peter Hendry offers an identification of a caterpillar it is usually only to a moth family. Don is an expert on lepidoptera and tends to request that I send him the caterpillar rather than a video frame of it. When experts request live specimens I have to point out that I carry camera and tripod and not collecting paraphernalia.

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Film Diary / 14.11.2014

Thirteen days after I filmed the dragonfly, I saw it in the very same spot on my morning walk. Wondrous. Or so I prefer to think because it could have been another individual of the same species. This strikes me as less likely than it being the original one because I have not noticed a dragonfly of any kind at this location between these two sightings. I have filmed dragonflies repeatedly reoccupying a particular position after an interval and lingering there up to minutes at a time, but never  this – a return visit a day short of a fortnight later to the very twig on which it had rested for between a mind-boggling 45 minutes and an hour.

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Film Diary / 12.11.2014

If I hadn’t stopped to ask a friend how much rain had fallen during the night I would never have caught sight of a paper wasp nest attached to a cereus cactus some 4 m high just outside the back gate. The nest is very different to the one I filmed hanging from a metal railing. The wasp is much smaller, only 10mm long. It belongs to a different genus. At most there were no more than 6 wasps attending the nest. Its position was ideal for the camera.

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Film Diary / 09.11.2014

I was delighted to find a lone new lacewing on the garage in Central Avenue. It is more brightly coloured than the mantispid lacewing which has been present on several occasions during the past month or two. Checking images of Queensland lacewings on google, I discovered that this is the  ‘Diamond-banded Lacewing’  which occurs in Queensland and NSW.

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Other / 07.11.2014

While in London, I decided to visit the Olympic Park in Stratford because it was within such easy reach and pop into an old haunt of mine nearby, the Theatre Royal, where the legendary Joan Littlewood was artistic director from 1953 to 1979. Joan and I became friends because of my work with a group of young artists who devoted immense creative energy to ephemeral art in the form of multi-media events, performance art and street theatre. At the Theatre Royal I happened to meet Jan Sharkey-Dodds who is Head of Young People’s Work and mentioned my connection to Joan and her partner Gerry Raffles. I also told her that I had footage of Joan at one of our outdoor events staged in June 1968 and offered to send a copy to the theatre. In due course I was contacted by the archivist, the actor Murray Melvin and today he emailed me that the DVD had arrived. If I understood Jan rightly, Joan’s papers are kept at the theatre for ease of access, although I doubt a theatre can provide the conditions to properly preserve papers and artefacts of such importance.