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.

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Film Diary / 25.02.2020

I filmed the impatiens hawk moth caterpillar in March 1999. This morning, nearly 21 years later, I photographed the moth. It is found as various subspecies, from India through to China, Japan, the Philippines and Australia, where it occurs in every state and territory other than the Australian Capital Territory. The caterpillar attains a length of 7 cm and is more colourful and  spectacular than the moth. Wingspan of the moth is up to 8 cm. 

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Other / 21.02.2020

Ever since the removal of a large tree and adjoining vegetation from one side of the drive, I have bemoaned the absence of abundant moths at the garage, though other factors, such as the prolonged drought, have played a far greater part than the missing vegetation. Since Christmas, we have enjoyed frequent rain, which has revived gardens and trees and filled water courses and rainwater tanks. The drought was such that the grass didn’t grow and the stressed trees covered the ground, including the forest floor, with their shed leaves. But  moth numbers at the garage were slow to reflect the rainfall. Today, there were more than I recall ever having seen. Overwhelmingly, they were small, pale brown geometrids. Numbers flew off as I approached to take photos. The night had been warm and humid, as had previous nights with a good showing of moths, but nothing remotely like this.

 

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Book / 21.02.2020

The book sold well over Christmas. I promoted it in our local papers as ‘A unique and beautiful present from Tamborine Mountain’. The expected lull has been in part stemmed by sales to libraries in New South Wales. Most seem willing to order the book. I am currently working my way through councils in Sydney. My campaign had to be suspended because of the bush fires. Today I posted two parcels, one with two books for The Book House in Noosaville, the other, with five books for James Bennett in Sydney.

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Other / 05.02.2020

I am on the last day of a six day course of antibiotics to combat a mystery infection I picked up god knows when, god knows where.  Last Monday week I woke with a slight temperature which returned to normal the next day. The following morning, I felt a sharp pain on the shin bone of my left leg, but didn’t see anything untoward. Fortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment the day after. My GP confirmed that the leg was infected. There were small blood bursts below the skin and the leg was swollen. Last week’s pain had gone. I took the antibiotics but couldn’t see any change for 5 days. Because I am shortly due to have a cataract operation, I urgently wanted to see a doctor. My new appointment was for today at 11.30 am. The doctor confirmed that the infection had gone, but the swelling worried her so she sent me to have a scan for a blood clot in my lower left leg. For a few hours the implications were scary to contemplate, until the scan result proved to be clear. But some critter or vegetation had it in for me. The leg remains swollen…. Read Complete Text

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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.

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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.