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. 

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Film Diary / 29.12.2008

When I woke up on 29 December, I drew back my bedroom curtain, opened the sliding door onto the balcony and went back to bed to listen to the 7.45 news, as is my wont. As I lay there I saw what looked like a huge tangle of spider web caught in the morning sunlight beneath the seat of a garden chair. Then I saw it was green and wondered how vegetation had somehow been blown behind the chair. When I got up and took a closer look, the sphere of bits of branch from the tree outside my balcony, looked vaguely familiar. I had filmed a similar but larger structure before, in a tree, but devoid of any greenery. Still uncertain, I prodded the sphere and met with resistance. This was indeed a ring-tailed possum’s dray. Unfortunately, some of the vegetation fell off. This enabled me later to film a bit of tail, which poked through the resultant hole. The next day the dray was somewhat dishevelled, due to the possum’s going and coming, and I was able to film other bits of possum. A neighbour to whom I showed the dray pointed out that there were… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 08.12.2008

In the park opposite my dwelling, I filmed two parent and two young tawny frogmouths (an owl-like bird), huddled close together on a low branch in a pile of fallen vegetation caused by a freak storm three weeks ago. The frogmouths are nocturnal, but were sleeping in a completely exposed position. Both Currawong and Magpie, quite large diurnal birds, let them be. The camera angle could not have been better and I was eventually able to get quite close. In the afternoon they had partly changed their position. The siblings remained where they had been in the morning but the parents were on a low branch in another part of the pile, near a power pole. They were all a bit more active by now and I was able to get some close ups of preening and of their wide-open eyes.

 

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Film Diary / 02.12.2008

Jaap had told me about some lace monitors or goannas he had seen on a number of occasions around Panorama Point overlooking Tamborine Gorge. In the afternoon I drove to the end of the sealed road below the Point, got out of the car and took in the scene. I didn’t see any goannas, but was intrigued by some black birds in the trees near the track. I set up my camera to film them before I realised they were a pair of glossy black cockatoos, a species I had not filmed before. The under side of the male’s tail is a vivid red. The female has yellow marking on her head, reminiscent of that of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, but a more golden tone and a red and yellow barred tail. The location was not ideal for afternoon filming. Fortunately the birds hung around for a long time feeding on pine cones and I was able to get some good footage. I returned to the spot a number of times without seeing the birds or goannas, but I caught sight of a small plant with blue berries nearby which I filmed. Its identity baffled a naturalist to… Read Complete Text

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Other / 28.11.2008

Following a visit to my place in October by Jo Ritale, Manager, Original Materials Heritage Collections, I wrote her a letter confirming my intention to donate, in due course, the unedited DVCAM tapes and associated papers of my archive to the State Library. I also mentioned my intention to put the tapes onto a hard-drive for access on DVDs. Jo replied by letter just before she left to take up a post in Melbourne, acknowledging my donation and providing contact details for her successor. Exchange of letters 14th and 28th of November

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Other / 21.11.2008

Today I filmed a second interview with Darryl Jones. In the rush to complete the Beauty Series DVD before my overseas trip, I clean forgot to mention the first interview I had filmed with him on the 3rd of July. The second interview was needed so that Darryl could talk about global warming and its effects on the local biodiversity. He also spoke about Tamborine Mountain as a place where the southern and northern limits of species overlap and about the age of the Mountain’s rainforest. For the first interview I asked Darryl to talk about some of the basic science of biodiversity, touching on species grouping and identification and key relationships between species. Then I wanted to hear about the distinctive features of the biodiversity of South East Queensland and its vulnerability, ditto for Tamborine Mountain. Finally Darryl spoke about a pet subject of his, harking back more than 20 years to his research into scrub turkeys conducted on the Mountain. The males construct mounds containing up to 4 tons of material in which the females deposit eggs. The young hatch and emerge from deep inside the mound and are left to fend for themselves. Their… Read Complete Text

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Other / 20.11.2008

Quite out of the blue I received an email from Art Vogel, the Curator of the Leiden Botanical Garden, whom I met briefly on my visit there in late August.  Constance, the information officer at the Garden, had forwarded him an email I had sent her. He is very keen on cycads and has an impressive display of them, including specimens from South East Queensland. One of the Mountain’s small national parks mainly comprises a grove of palm-like Lepidozamia peroffskyana. Art wrote about a cycad hunting visit to Australia in 2003 and of his recent travels in Mexico where he was impressed by some huge cacti. I attached a couple of frames of the Mountain’s very own huge cactus, a Cereus jamacaru, to the email I sent him. The cactus is a native ofBrazil, resembles a tree and grows to 9m or 30’ tall. Its trunk is 45cm or 18” in diameter, so this is as good a specimen as one is ever likely to find. Exchange of emails 20th and 26th of November