Peter’s Blog

I need to place on record my feeling that overwhelmingly throughout my life, my contact with my fellow men, women and children has been a total delight.
It is a recurring pleasure which I experience each day and is among the precious things which makes my life rewarding and worth living, not least because moments of the keenest enjoyment can as readily occur with a complete stranger as with family and friends.

 


 

A cherished dream, my book   One small place on earth …  discovering biodiversity where you are,   self-published in August 2019, has been long in the making. Jan Watson created its design template nine years ago. The idea of doing a book seems to have occurred during my stay with Clive Tempest, the website’s first architect, when I was visiting the UK in 2006. By the time Steve Guttormsen and I began sustained work on the book in 2017, much of which I had already written, the imperative was to create a hard copy version of a project whose content is otherwise entirely digital.

 

The ‘Film Diary’ entries are selected items from the diary I keep whenever I am filming. To check location references, click on ‘Tamborine Mountain’ on the top information bar then hit the ‘Tamborine Mountain’ button on the map. 

 

People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change on my website. There are two related reasons. Firstly, if former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2007 remark that climate change is the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age” is true, we have not acted accordingly before or since. Rudd’s statement is only true if we collectively live as if it is true, Rudd included. Instead, our politics has wasted decades favouring business as usual, and a global economy excessively dependent on fossil fuels – in the absence of a politics intent on achieving a low carbon economy. Secondly, although it is open to individuals to strive to live the truth of Rudd’s remarks, the vast majority of people, myself included, do not. The precautionary principle alone makes me regard climate change as a current planetary crisis, but because I have only marginally changed the way I live, and still wish to fly, I am not inclined to pontificate on the subject.

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Film Diary / 26.04.2020

Although the Australia-wide corona virus lock-down is highly effective, it appears to be particularly so in Queensland. I am allowed my morning walk and visits to shops and even nearby friends. I don’t recall a more glorious or warmer Autumn in my 33 years in the country, with day after day of bright sunshine and deep blue skies. My walks continue to prove most productive at the garage. Today, and four days ago, I found moths which are new to my album. This morning’s  was among only a handful present, which always enhances the thrill of discovery. Both were very small, yet their marking caught my attention and made me wonder whether I had seen them before. Both belong to the family Nolidae and are similarly coloured, but differently patterned. Were it not for the pandemic, the marvellous expert on whom I rely for species identification, would be on an extensive overseas trip and I would have had to wait until his return to write up an already extensive haul. He and his wife got no further than Perth, where they languished for a week or so before finding a flight back to Brisbane.

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Film Diary / 12.04.2020

For several years I have regretted a decline in moth numbers at the garage, though last Winter this did not result in a decline in the number of new species I photographed. If anything, their number increased, which is fortunate indeed. This year, after two months of good rain since Christmas, the moths returned with a vengeance and subsequent good rain kept them coming. Even when that petered out and dry, sunny weather set in, the numbers have still been impressive – as good as they have ever been. Today I photographed an Australian moth which is the most widely distributed of any in my album. It occurs throughout the country, with populations in the centre, the outback, the ranges and the coast, because it feeds on over 100 plants and is regarded as a pest species on a number of crops. It has also invaded New Zealand. On April 7, I photographed a plume moth. The species is distributed in Africa, including Madagascar, and in east and south-east Asia, including Japan and New Guinea. In Australia it is found in Queensland. The moth seems to be a rarity.

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Book / 08.04.2020

Today, I posted another book to James Bennett, exactly a week after I fulfilled their previous order. Libraries are now closed because of the pandemic, but for James Bennett it seems like business as usual. True, an order takes time to work its way from the library to the library supplier. I am aware of a number of orders pending, but the suppliers never specify which library placed the order with them. Not only do I appreciate the sale of yet another book, I welcome the opportunity to exit the house and buy the packaging from the post office and return with the parcel for them to post.

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Other / 02.04.2020

Today I picked up my new glasses, after only having had my eyes tested on the Monday. Presumably the lens maker isn’t as busy as usual because of the pandemic. Talking of which, I was fortunate to have the cataract operations before elective surgery was halted, so that hospitals could focus on the pandemic. My eyes were tested exactly  four weeks after the second operation. The first was performed two weeks before the second. By the time of the test, my vision had recovered to how it had been before the operations. I had not felt colour-deprived with the cataracts, but after they were removed, the world was brighter and more vibrant. The main benefit post op, was that reading and writing without glasses were restored to how they had been before the cataracts took hold. However, my new distance lenses had the greatest impact of all because of the clarity of detail, which I had not known for years. It was revelatory.

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Other / 30.03.2020

During the weekend I completed a questionnaire about, inter alia, my project, why I came to Australia and a day in the life of Peter Kuttner, for a local filmmaker who contacted me via mutual friends. She graduated from film school a few years ago and is putting in a submission to a funding body charged with commissioning a short documentary about inspirational older Australians (not that I consider myself to be one). Is my age catching up with me? We will see what happens.

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Film Diary / 25.02.2020

I filmed the impatiens hawk moth caterpillar in March 1999. This morning, nearly 21 years later, I photographed the moth. It is found as various subspecies, from India through to China, Japan, the Philippines and Australia, where it occurs in every state and territory other than the Australian Capital Territory. The caterpillar attains a length of 7 cm and is more colourful and  spectacular than the moth. Wingspan of the moth is up to 8 cm.