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Film Diary / 20.12.2017

Mark, Lumart, Jaap and I had our hands full with a wide variety of critters in MacDonald National Park.  I filmed a skink, a house centipede on a leaf, which stood out from its background far more than the previous specimens in my footage. I also filmed a moth, a juvenile carpet python in a tree, a pie dish beetle, a moulting cockroach and a male wasp belonging to a sub-family whose males are winged and carry around the females during mating. We found the most spectacular subject, new to all of us, on our way out – a batwing gum moth caterpillar. It is one of Australia’s biggest. I estimate it was more than 12 cm long and was nearly as thick as my thumb. At first it was still, but then began to move and gyrate.

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Film Diary / 15.11.2017

We succeeded in getting a full night’s filming in MacDonald National Park at the third attempt. On the first occasion two weeks ago Jaap and Lumart were driven crazy by mosquitos and we had to abandon the walk. Last week was bitterly cold and windy. To-night was comparatively balmy, though we continue to experience below average daytime temperatures. I filmed a small, roosting bird on a low branch next to the path, some fascinating white fungi which poked above the earth like ghostly fingers and an owl chick resting on the ground. It would have been between two and three weeks old. Jaap, who is overseas, would not have been pleased to have missed it

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Film Diary / 25.10.2017

The 2017-18 night filming season began with a walk in The Knoll. Jaap, Mark and Lumart were the crew. I filmed a very hairy caterpillar which I had previously filmed in Palm Grove; a large hunting beetle crawling on a tree near a huntsman spider; and for the second time, a flatworm with a yellow and brown stripe down its back.

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Website / 20.10.2017

Calamity struck twice in recent days. My computer died of what most likely was heat exhaustion and the hard drive proved to be irretrievable. I thought I had backed up in August. It turned out that I was months out; the date was April 6. I have lost all my contacts information and the 1,300 words I had written about my magical time with Simon on Easter Island and in Buenos Aires. 1,300 words had only taken us to day two on the island.

For many weeks the website had been under attack from evil forces to the point where we have had to close it down. This at last provides an opportunity to update the system, but the site developer is unable to say when this is likely to happen because of his workload and the amount of work needed to restore the site. Ghastly!

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My Travels / 08.10.2017

In ‘Double Whammy’, (20 October 2017) I lamented the loss of my original write-up of the trip (which lasted from September the 23rd to October the 8th) because my computer died and the hard drive containing the first 1,300 words, proved to be irretrievable. I am not game to attempt to recreate the original account, partly because of the other disaster mentioned, namely having to close down the website, which only came back on line two weeks ago (24 February 2018). Instead, I shall try and communicate the essence of the journey. It is a relief and a delight to be able to upload blog posts again.   

It took me nearly 76 years to visit every continent other than Antarctica, having touched down in Santiago on Sunday September 24. I was travelling with my son Simon, whose announcement earlier in the year that he wanted to go on holiday with his Dad was as unexpected as it was heart-warming. His wife Nicole, stayed home to look after their newly acquired cattle dog puppy, Pepper. Simon had never been to South America either. I happened to glance out of the window of the rear door of the 747 just… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 28.08.2017

It is a month ago to the day since I last filmed, having been engaged on a pet project, of which more in due course. This morning I filmed a broken strangler fig in MacDonald National Park whose trunk  mysteriously snapped off some thirty feet above the forest floor. The fig was old and vast, one of a pair standing side by side. The fallen trunk generated an immense clearing, bringing down lesser trees, including palms.

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Other / 21.07.2017

An email arrived from the Queensland Museum entomologist who has identified numerous species over the years. He was unable to offer a firm verdict on any of the four images of insects I sent him three weeks ago. But he confirmed that the leg being pulled up a large rainforest tree at night by a lone ant we uploaded on vimeo 8 years ago, was not that of a cricket, but of a spider. I have corrected the video settings and the website.

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Website / 07.06.2017

Today I uploaded the 70th Gallery Page. One challenge is trying to limit the preponderance of insects. The new page contains a bird, a mollusc, a reptile, a grass, a cycad, an aerial shot of the plateau and six insects. For once, none of them are lepidopteran.

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Film Diary / 04.06.2017

Looking back through the blog, I notice that I first filmed the Cotton Harlequin Bugs on the 8th of April. On the 17th I filmed a female with her newly laid eggs, discovering that she would stay and guard them until they hatch. On various subsequent visits there she was, a marvel of maternal constancy. This morning I filmed the nymphs scrabbling in a clump on the egg casings a day or so after emerging, with the by now rather wan-looking female, on an adjacent stem.

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Film Diary, Other / 28.05.2017

Having just completed our 150th walk I thought it might be interesting to delve into the history of the walks and tally how many we did per season (broadly, October to May). In doing so I discovered I was one walk short in the total to this season’s end. We have actually completed 153. The 150th occurred a week earlier than the ‘official’ date. I didn’t start numbering the walks until a few seasons had passed. And then, I didn’t number every walk. The tally per season is:  ’07 –’08 = 5   ’08 – ’09 = 10   ’09 – ’10 = 13   ’10 –’11 = 26   ’11 – ’12 = 19   ’12 –’13 = 16   ’13 – ’14 = 13  ’14 –’15 = 16   ’15 – ’16 = 16   ’16 – ’17 = 19. You will notice that in the second season we doubled the number of walks of season one and in the fourth, we doubled the number of walks in season three.

I next tallied how many walks we had done in each of the national parks.  Joalah topped the list with 47, followed by The Knoll with 43, MacDonald with 31, Palm Grove 25, Witches Falls… Read Complete Text