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.


People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change – global warming 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 wilful 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. I salute those who do. 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.


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. 


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.


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.


Book / 15.12.2019

The book has been available on my website for several weeks, but at present paypal will only allow me to sell the book in Australia, so I am herewith uploading a somewhat belated launch post.  My web developer is yet to confirm if and how the restriction can be overcome.


Book / 15.12.2019


It was apparently during my 2006 visit to the UK, less than a year after the initial publication of the archive in late 2005, when I was staying with Clive, that we came up with the idea of a book and made notes about its scope and presentation. We visited bookshops and wrote down the dimensions of illustrated volumes with a likely-looking format. In 2008, Clive produced a Preliminary Draft Synopsis, which I still have, together with a list of natural history publishers I gleaned from a visit to Waterstone’s in Leeds.


The year was pivotal. Angela McKinstry, a graphic artist who designed the DVD covers and locations map for the 2005 published archive, designed and printed a mock-up of the book in 2010. The title was ‘One small place on earth …’. There was no subtitle. Later that year Jan Watson, the book’s designer, produced a design template which has been followed for the published book. By then there was a subtitle – ‘Celebrating biodiversity where you are’. At some point thereafter, Clive came up with the transformative improvement ‘discovering’ biodiversity.


In 2012 Steve and his wife Paulina, dumbfounded… Read Complete Text


Other / 10.12.2019

On my walk this morning I was startled by a crashing sound. Looking around I just caught sight of a kookaburra smashing into a hedge, emerging with a small, dark snake, wriggling in its beak. The bird flew onto a tree branch a short distance away, where I was able to observe it for several minutes. The snake tried to wrap itself around the bird’s head while held in the vice-like grip of the very large beak which is a distinguishing feature of the species. I eventually saw that the victim was a juvenile green tree snake. Adults can grow to a length of two metres. The bird suddenly flew to the ground in the garden next door, the better to overpower the snake by bashing it on the hard surface of the car port.



Book / 05.12.2019

Four months to the day after the books were delivered to the storage unit, we shifted another 24 boxes to my hall cupboard this afternoon. It is gratifying when things go according to plan. We each made 8 trips from car to cupboard. Handyman Brian carrying two boxes at a time to my one. I’m just off to replace the book I borrowed from the post office at North Tamborine.