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 / 14.11.2018

Our walk in Palm Grove, nearly proved fruitless for me. By the time I had set up to film a black-spotted semi-slug on the shell of a giant panda snail, the semi-slug had vanished. However, Lumart had shone his uv torch on lichens on a rough-hewn stone wall on either side of steps leading to the picnic area portending spectacular images. There are many rocks in the park, so I anticipated achieving good things filming lichens on them. But the results were poor. The lichens on the wall had been exposed to sunlight, those in the park were shielded by the understory and canopy.

On one side of the steps some of the lichens resembled larva flows and magma, others emitted a brilliant yellow light. On the other side of the steps, the lichens looked like rock paintings of a kind never achieved on earth, one with three bright white/green circles forming a triangle on a crimson ground. PS I went back to the wall next day and filmed the lichens in daylight. They looked very dull in comparison.

 

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Film Diary / 09.11.2018

There have been some hot days, plenty of rain in October, but overall, Spring has been cool. I have photographed on 18 days with my PANCAM since July 1, (mostly moths, but also birds, a lacewing, a spider and the smallest stick insect nymph I have seen), compared with 11 days for the entire second half of 2017. Today, I filmed European honey bees drinking at a birdbath in a friend’s garden. I had never seen this activity and hadn’t given the matter any thought, but I was entranced by what I saw. The bees spent plenty of time drinking and relaxing. The plants which attract blue-banded bees aren’t in flower. I can’t wait to find out if I will be able to film them drinking.

 

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Film Diary / 24.10.2018

Tonight, at The Knoll, we completed the first night filming walk of the new season, which started late because of unusually cold weather and recent rain. It was great to see Robyn again, after a long absence while she waited for a hip replacement operation, from which she has thankfully made a good recovery. Mark, Jaap Lumart and Karen completed the crew.

We saw plenty of creatures including a metre long brown tree snake, plenty of spiders, a couple of snails, a small and emaciated leaf-tail gecko, two great-barred frogs, black-spotted semi-slugs, a crane fly, caterpillars, millipedes, glow worms, and male and female harvestman. I filmed a new, smallish beetle. I also got a few okay seconds of the eel which lives in Sandy Creek, now full after a week of heavy rain. On the way back from dropping off Jaap, I swerved to avoid a large carpet python about to cross the road.

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Film Diary / 17.10.2018

Apparently, they have been there for a few days, but I only noticed them when I drove past at lunch time today – an adult tawny frogmouth and chick, perched on a wood chip pile in the park opposite my apartment block. The pile is all that remains of the tree which contained the nest, from which they had been summarily evicted, because council workers cut the tree down last week. In an attempt to make amends, the council has surrounded the pile with ‘do not disturb’ signs. They are due to remain in place until the chick is able to fly, which is reckoned to be in about two weeks’ time.

Although they resemble owls, tawny frogmouths are not raptors, lacking talons, and a beak capable of ripping flesh apart. They catch their insect prey on the wing. The birds occur throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania. Use the images and videos search to see what they look like.

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Other / 16.10.2018

I have just uploaded the first gallery page since April this year. Jess has up-sized the enlargements for new and newly created images, which makes a tremendous difference. Steve and I did a number of fresh frame captures from old footage, some of which I have uploaded, and the enlargements all benefit from the up-sizing.

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Website / 06.10.2018

Pardon me for crowing, but the redeveloped website went live overnight. Thanks to the brilliance of its young developer, Jess Murphy of BeITsafe, here on the Gold Coast, the site now has more of a contemporary look with crucial concomitant features, such as being smart phone and tablet friendly.

The pages are wider which improves their look and makes the blog easier to read by allowing the use of a larger font. The videos are paginated and the total shown is automatically updated as new videos are added. Best of all is the long overdue species search function for images and videos, with which I am having a lot of fun.

The previous upgrade went live in August 2013, when the site was given its albums and blog categories. It also enabled me to upload posts and images for the first time. But its overall look remained true to its original appearance.

It’s three months since I last uploaded material to the site. This is the first cab off the rank, with quite a backlog of posts and images for me to work through. Can’t wait.