Film Diary / 12.04.2011

Jaap showed me an insect cluster on a tree in a rainforest patch being given some love and attention by Land Care. I returned with my camera and filmed what looked more like worms than caterpillars, writhing on the tree. I thought of caterpillars because I had seen them clustering on bushes in Bellingen, New South Wales, years ago.

PS I was subsequently told that they were Sawfly larvae. Perhaps that is what I saw in Bellingen.



Film Diary / 18.03.2011

I have been filming the flange roots of Yellow carabeen trees lately, initially in Joalah and MacDonald National Parks, today in Palm Grove. The roots can reach to 8m high or they can extend for several metres from the trunk. I was retracing the path we took on a night shoot a few days ago. Some fungi on a tree caught my eye. On closer inspection the fungi contained an interesting bug which obligingly performed for the camera. I was just about to move on when I noticed a dark line above the fungi which turned out to be a smaller specimen of a spectacular flat worm I filmed in MacDonald NP on a night shoot six weeks ago. I was able to film this worm travel half way round the tree trunk and descend to its base. The worm is one of those intriguing species which have so far defied identification.


Film Diary / 28.02.2011

Tonight was our 43rd night shoot. We have been maintaining a weekly night filming schedule since the start of the season in mid October. Because of a year or more of wet weather, the paths in the national parks have grown increasingly muddy. There was little doing until we were almost out of the Knoll on our way back, when we heard a rustling sound near the path. On examination it turned out to be an echidna jammed under a tree root. Conditions for filming were a bit cramped, but I managed to video the echidna backing out from under the root, steering itself to face in my direction and lumbering towards me blowing bubbles through its snout. It had only seemed like a few months ago that we saw what in all likelihood was this very echidna in more or less the same part of the park, but at the start of our shoot. Before I could set up the camera, it had hidden itself. What seemed a few months was in reality 1 ¼ years ago.


Film Diary / 07.02.2011

I have been filming a camp of Grey-headed flying foxes, Australia’s largest bat with a 1m wingspan and weighing up to 1kg, in Joalah NP. Their noise and the stench of their urine are pervasive. Their impact on the rainforest vegetation is noticeable. Even when they are roosting in the tops of palm trees, they are a fair distance from the camera. I filmed numerous adults cloaking young under their wings. Today a drop of bat urine hit my eye. They say urine is sterile. I had long wanted to film flying foxes, thinking it would most likely be at night because I thought they only visited the Mountain for food. It was only recently that I heard about the camp in Joalah.


Film Diary / 25.01.2011

It’s amazing how creatures can take hold of you. About a month ago Hugh Alexander noticed a daddy long legs-like creature when we were night filming in the Knoll NP. It had a tiny body and immensely long legs, but what was utterly remarkable was what we took to be eye stalks, many times its body length. None of us had ever seen anything like it. Well, today we saw 3 in all, at the same spot on rocks next to the path; the third on our way back. In the meantime we found out a bit about harvestmen, but nothing about the ones Hugh discovered. Harvestmen are arachnids (8 legged). Their bodies are unsegmented and the stalks are sexual organs. To totally dombfound us, the third specimen’s stalks had an equally long extension forming a right angle.


Film Diary / 30.12.2010

Maintaining weekly night filming sessions, we returned to the Knoll National Park. I filmed some intriguing small beetles, a large hunting spider devouring its prey and one of the strangest creatures I have filmed on our night jaunts. It was a daddy long-legs with huge eye-stalks and tricky to film because there wasn’t much of substance on which to focus. It was on an earth bank. Its second pair of legs were inordinately long. We’ll have to research what species it is.

I finally filmed a large millipede.

PS  The daddy long-legs is a species of Harvestman. We are still trying to find out which. Harvestmen don’t have a segmented body or spin a web, though they do have eight legs.


Film Diary / 13.12.2010

I filmed two moths of a species new to me on the Central Avenue garage and then did some night filming in Palm Grove National Park in mizzle. I filmed a Grey Huntsman Spider, a small moth, a white spider in its web and two large specimens of the Giant King Cricket; the antennae of the second, stirred by a fair breeze, lit up against the dark. By now the rain was piercing the canopy and I had to stop filming.



Film Diary / 25.11.2010

This was our second night filming session of the season, just six days after the first. We went to the Knoll National Park and I filmed a Richmond River Snail, which has a conical shell; two eye-catching caterpillars suspended on threads; a glow worm curtain; a bush rat which miraculously clung to a bush for several minutes, even repositioning itself before moving on at an unhurried pace; a Black Spotted Semi-Slug, one of my favourite denizens of our rainforest; and a Net-Casting Spider which I had never previously encountered. It was much smaller than I had anticipated and I managed to get some footage of its net, which it appeared to consume.


Film Diary / 15.11.2010

I have been able to film at night on a weekly basis, which is very gratifying given that I am unable to film in the rain and we have had constant showery weather. This time we were in MacDonald National Park and I filmed snails, a fly and a pair of skinks, the female with eggs. The high point was filming two newly emerged Green Grocer Cicadas, the most common species round here.


Film Diary / 06.11.2010

We have had a lot of rain throughout the past two years. A spring-fed creek has regularly formed a pond in a dip in a small property not far from where I live. Late in the day I filmed a pair of Wood Ducks roosting and saw that they had ducklings. Eventually the ducklings emerged and even entered the water. There were ten of them. Then they returned to their mother and I filmed them all managing to fit beneath her wings, which appeared to even exceed those of an aircraft in their ability to extend.

PS  On November 10, I filmed nine ducklings and shortly thereafter they had moved to the property to the rear.