And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Australian Brush-Turkey

We are off to Darwin tomorrow for some birding. The kitchen downlights are in and work and look great! Now it time to pack and charge up the photo/video gear. Hopefully I might get some footage, but this trip is more of a hunt for birds we missed last time, so it's going to be full on!
Our target lifer birds are:

Hooded Parrot
Red Goshawk
Northern Shrike-Tit
Large-tailed Nightjar
Masked Finch
Chestnut-backed Button-Quail
Red-chested Button-Quail
Red-backed Button-Quail
White-breasted Whistler (for Liz)

Here is a video of a Brush-Turkey from our last trip up near Cairns in Queenland. He didn't seem to care how close we got, as he was so busy looking for food in the rainforest leaf litter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lots of Work - House not Fauna

I've been so busy lately, not with fauna work which has been a bit slow this year, but house renovations. We have decided we are staying in our house for the next few years, so lots of work needs to be done, work we put off for far too long (by going on birding holidays)!

One bathroom fully renovated with new floor and wall tiles, new cabinet, mirror, taps etc.....
Not a job I want to do again in a hurry (hate cutting tiles)!

Current project 1 - Scrape old ceiling paint off (that's with a small razor), install new downlights, fix ceiling and re-paint!

Current project 2 - Remove old broken (broken by tree-loppers) wooden fence, clear brick retaining wall and have new metal fence put up. Work left to do - New patio and paving, new backyard landscaping, install roof insulation, build carport, painting, more tiling etc........

We are off to Darwin on Saturday for a birding holiday.............oops, the house may have to wait a little longer. I better go and finish wiring those downlights!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Australian Bustards

Last Christmas during our travels in north Queensland, we went to an area to the east of Cairns near Mt Carbine. This area is called Maryfarms and is well known as one of the best places in Australia to see Australian Bustards. We saw at least a dozen bustards in about a 5 km section of track.

Here is a video of a couple of them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Music from SaReGaMa

Here is some more of the wonderful relaxing music of SaReGaMa. My ipod is full of his music, that's great to relax to and use as wildlife video music.
For those interested, free downloads can be found at and at his blog site

SaReGaMa - Aquarius
Uploaded by Triplexity.

Here are the answers to the 'What are these????' puzzle. Thanks for having a go guys and some good guesses. Some of you got the seed pod, but the rest were tricky. These are some of the usual plant and animal body parts I find when I sift through the soil under a microscope looking for snail shell fragments.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spirals in Life

Spirals in life are amazing, in nature and personal things. A couple of weeks ago it seemed that I had lots of consulting work until Christmas, but within days they spiralled down into nothing. Now birding trips to the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Borneo and Thailand have spiralled up you might say, all before Christmas. Amazing!

These are pictures of some of the spiral snail shells found on Koolan. I was using a Leica microscope with built in camera (with a very limited depth of field and focus problems).







Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wonderful Music of SaReGaMa

I often hunt the internet for free music that I can use for my videos, especially basic raw tribal-type of music. SaReGaMa is an artist whose music I really love, he is one extremely talented individual. I believe there is nothing better to chill out to with a glass of wine, after a hard day's work!

Used for a movie, this is one of my favourite soundtracks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snails Under The Microscope

Even broken snails have a beauty all their own.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snails Under The Microscope

Koolan fauna surveys always include a endemic snail survey, which also has a component of looking at collected snails and shell fragments under a microscope.

The use of a microscope may give some more clues to the size and nature of things in the post 'What are these????'.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What are these?????

Let's get some interaction going with the viewers. Who is clever enough to name all these items correctly? The only clues are, three are animal and one plant! Answers next week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Koolan July Survey

This fauna survey was a lot more comfortable to do, as the heat and humidity was a lot lower than the one in Feburary this year.

One reptile than you can catch on Koolan any time of the year is the common Rock Skink (Ctenotus inornatus).

A more uncommon one is the Moon or Orange-naped Snake (Furina ornata), which we didn't catch at all in Feburary.

A very dark form of legless lizard (Delma borea) is found on the island.

One of the geckos found in the north that we caught on this survey was Gehyra australis.

The minesite environmental crew on Koolan are a great bunch of people, that are always a great help with the trapping. Here Shona, one of the environmental students, is on the lookout for more animals (or is it a cold beer at the wet mess?).

Finally, no survey on Koolan is complete without a endemic snail survey. This is the typical habitat for a lot of the snail species found on the island, rocks with thick leaf litter under trees.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Return to Koolan Island

I have just returned after spending a week doing another of the ongoing fauna surveys on the scenic Koolan Island.

Koolan is a iron ore mining island. Here is a view of what's called Mullet Pit with just the edges of two of the smaller survey sites showing.

One of the bigger survey sites on the northern side of the island in a very steep valley with a long 45 degree rocky climb in and out. Hard work in the heat when you often have to do it twice a day!


The scenery on Koolan is wonderful and the water is cool and inviting, but with lots of sharks and crocodiles.


Some trapping sites were on very steep rocky slopes with a thick vine undergrowth.

An aboriginal cultural centre is being built on Koolan for local meetings and culture exchange.

The million dollar views from the cultural centre are fantastic.


Some of the hundreds of small islands that surround Koolan.