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Film Diary / 08.01.2020

The 75 mm of rain we had for a few days during Christmas, made all the difference to our night walk in Palm Grove. I didn’t film a thing on the preceding walk because the flora and fauna were so distressed by the prolonged dry weather. And the walk before that yielded very little. Thanks to the school holidays, Dan was a welcome crew member. Penny Aagaard, her cousin Jenny Peat and Jenny’s brother and his granddaughter completed the party. The creek near the entrance had probably been refreshed by the rain, but was still almost non-existent. It was all the more remarkable that Dan spotted a large crayfish a short distance from the track. I filmed it without the tripod. I also filmed a net-casting spider whose abdomen displayed large patches of green – a feature I had not seen before – a large click beetle and an antechinus, which was a first for the archive, now in its 22nd year. Both Dan and Penny attracted leeches. I was mercifully spared.

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Film Diary / 07.01.2020

The new year got off to a splendid start for my project as well as for time spent with my family. This morning I photographed an Australian white ibis on the roof of a neighbouring building from my rear stairwell window. I had seen the bird a couple of days before on a nearby street corner and yesterday, in the park in front of my home. It was a specimen whose white body plumage had become brown-stained. I nonetheless suspected the bird was a white ibis, a species I had never encountered on the mountain, rather than a freak variant of the straw-necked ibis, flocks of which regularly visit here. The white ibis is a denizen of the coastal strip. Not only did Marg Eller, the bird expert I turn to for species identification, confirm that this was indeed an Australian white ibis, her husband Jeff sent me a spread sheet he had assembled of bird lists compiled by naturalists going way back. The only previous authenticated sighting was on a list compiled by the formidable Hilda Curtis in 1942.