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Film Diary / 04.05.2016

Our 132nd night filming walk was at The Knoll. Fortunately it has been easier to muster a crew in 2016, thanks to Robyn and Jaap and the reliability of two recent recruits, Michael and Lumart. Although we are approaching the end of the season, the weather was mild, resulting in a rich haul of subjects, some not previously encountered. I filmed a native cockroach whose appearance reminded me of an over-sized wood louse. Next was a spider tending her egg sac. Thereafter a moth I don’t think I have previously filmed or photographed and the partly emerged chrysalis of a Swift Moth protruding from the compacted earth of the path, near its edge, a subject I had never even previously seen. Apparently disturbed by being filmed and photographed, the chrysalis withdrew into the ground with only its tip protruding and an antennae twitching.This season we have seen a more than doubling of our roosting bird record to tonight’s eight. As long as the weather stays mild, we shall endeavour to keep filming at night.

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Film Diary / 16.04.2016

This post is an anomaly because it is about a sequence of photographs, rather than about video footage. The subject was one of the most amazing I have encountered during the nearly 18 years I have devoted to my artwork. On my morning walk an intriguing structure on a picket fence caught my eye. It was beautifully formed of twigs, tapered from an irregular base and approximately 10 millimetres high. I asked a couple of women passers by what they thought it might be. One of them removed it from the picket to reveal a tiny caterpillar ensconced in a silk-lined bag, which I immediately recognised as a case moth larva. She placed it on a nearby fence post. I consequently took photos of the structure tilted back by my thumb with the caterpillar partly emerged from its hiding place. When I got home I googled case moth images and found one which was appropriately titled Log Cabin Case Moth. It resembled the one I had photographed without matching its structure.  I returned to the fence post in the afternoon and took many more photos of the ‘log cabin’. Two of the photos are on the last page of… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 30.03.2016

Night filming in The Knoll with Mark, Jaap and Dan was the first time I have used the camera since before handing it over for repair at the beginning of the month. We saw three roosting birds, which is more than on any other walk. I filmed a net-casting spider in a tree, above head height, the same as the first of three species I have filmed but this time gaining a clearer view of spider and net. Jaap photographed a leech which had been on Dan’s boot and some glowing fungi which Mark had found, very different to the green-glowing species we regularly see. These were much bigger with a pale white glow, the fungus in the foreground was on earth below a large, fallen trunk from which numerous other fungi were sprouting. Meanwhile, Mark, Dan and I walked on. Dan pointed out the web of Hadronyche formidabilis, the Northern Tree Funnelweb and arguably the planet’s deadliest spider, on a tree next to the track. Mark tickled the trip lines and eventually lured the spider to twice emerge from one of its funnels, events I caught on camera. On the way out I filmed beautiful red fruit in… Read Complete Text

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Film Diary / 24.02.2016

Our 125th night walk was on 10 February, but with little to film. We created the 3 ‘Rainforest at Night’ hour long DVDs after the first 53 walks. The following week there was nothing to film. Tonight, in MacDonald National Park, I filmed a splendid Stick Insect on a tree stump next to the path. It had a robust but not particularly long body and banded legs. Next I filmed a small frog, probably a Cascade Tree Frog, on a palm leaf. I manged to capture the glint in its eye. Finally I filmed some mating stick insects. The male looked to be no more than a nymph which possibly made the female a nymphomaniac.

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Film Diary / 03.02.2016

This evening I filmed in Palm Grove with Robyn, Michael and Jaap. Recent rain livened up the leeches. I was complaining that my companions were more concerned to remove leeches from their persons than find subjects for me to film. Palm Grove is notorious for leeches and we all had to pull them off legs, boots and clothing. But there was one highlight for me to film, namely five Mountain Semi-slugs (the species discovered on the mountain in 1998 and only known to exist there) on a single young palm next to the path. Not only did I film multiple specimens (two actually) for the first time in four sightings, I also filmed them in motion for the first time.

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Film Diary / 13.01.2016

We have been night filming four weeks out of a possible five. Last week it rained in the rainforest, but we were almost done and I could protect the camera. This evening in Palm Grove was the warmest of the season. I was accompanied by Mark, Dan and Michael. Just outside the entrance I filmed my second Goliath Stick Insect years after filming my first. It was in a tree a few metres overhead. Just inside the park I filmed a rodent called-up by Mark. Next was a large caterpillar and then a pair of amorous skinks. My filming culminated in a sight none of us had ever seen –  trapdoor spiders whose burrows, above head height, were in a sapling next to the path, instead of in the earth. I also started on my 100th tape.

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Film Diary / 30.12.2015

Tonight was our 120th walk, almost 8 years to the day since our first and a terrific way to finish 2015, the previous week having been rained off. Mark joined Michael,  Jaap and me in MacDonald National Park on a beautiful night, the slopes sheltered from the wind which was blowing in the car park. I filmed a Shiny-leaf Stinging Tree new to me, a spider which was probably a Brown Huntsman but looked different, a definitely different species of skink, a dead bandicoot infested with flies and maggots, a moulting cicada nymph and what looked like an unusual snail on a leaf. Rather an impressive haul.

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Film Diary / 16.12.2015

For the first time in 10 weeks I was able to muster a crew for night filming, namely Robyn and Michael,a student she recruited. Jaap was able to accompany us. We went to Joalah National Park and were rewarded with sightings of many of our regular species. I filmed a close relative of a pill millipede, new to us, which terminated in  a large, grey hind segment. I also filmed a small, black centipede and two small winged insects with white eyes, one black with orange spots, the other just black. It was sheer joy to be out on a beautiful night in our beloved rainforest once again.

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Film Diary / 12.12.2015

My FILM DIARY entry of 25 July 2015 proudly proclaimed my sighting of two new bird species on the same day, when sighting one is a rare occurrence. I did see two new species, but I got the identity of both wrong, one of them spectacularly so. I discovered the spectacular blemish a few days ago and the second error today. To set the record straight, what I identified as a Topknot Pigeon is the very different Feral Pigeon (whose ruffled feathers gave the appearance of a thick crest at the back of the head). The Feral is a domestic pigeon which has returned to the wild. What I identified as a Little Corella is the similar looking Long-billed Corella. Little Corellas are native to this part of the world whereas the presence of Long-billed Corellas here (they are endemic to southern Victoria and western New South Wales) is due to the release or escape of captive birds.

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Film Diary / 08.11.2015

There has been a marked shortage of moths at the garage this season. It could be due to a cool, dry Spring. I did photograph three moths a month ago, but no others until stormy weather set in a few days back and even then numbers were far fewer than after comparable rain periods. Today I photographed three moths and emailed images for Peter Hendry to identify.