Friday 17 May 2024

Important New Book

Childhood friend Dr Chris Wemmer has produced a comprehensive book on camera-trapping. (Briefly defined, camera trapping is the use of a camera to "capture" the antics of wildlife. It does no harm to the animals at all.) Camera traps or trail cameras as they are sometimes called are stand-alone cameras that are battery-powered and are triggered by a sensor.

Most people probably think that camera-trapping is a product of the digital age. Not so, in Chris' inimitable and humorous writing style, he traces the history of the activity. It actually goes back to the turn of the 20th century. In 1898 George Shiras III loaded his camera gear into a flat-bottomed boat and onto Whitefish Lake, Michigan to photograph deer drinking. He used gunpowder to ignite the flash. The downside of the activity was that the "explosion of the flash could be seen in Marquette, Michigan, some 20 miles from Whitefish Lake!!!" Chris further relates about the dangers of Shiras' activities "At once a tremendous explosion of the drier powder, and the damper portion gave forth a brilliant spluttering flame with a cloud of stifling smoke, compelling me to leap overboard in order to extinguish the blaze on my boots and later that in the boat". The introductory chapters are replete with examples of early camera-trapping in many far-flung places. Chris provides photographic examples of these early attempts.

With the digital age came a slue of commercial cameras with built-in flashes and timers. Chris details the building of cameras for special purposes. He has a chapter on Ethics and Sensibility and another on how to manage your photos and data. (Early in my career I modelled my field-notes on Chris' style. I still use his techniques to this day.)

The book has many excellently-reproduced examples of what can result from camera-trapping. If you ever wondered what was wandering around your property after dark, a camera trap, properly installed will give you the answer.

In addition to chapters on "How to do it", Chris has provided a glossary. an extensive bibliography, recommended reading and a short biography.

The are several books on the market involving camera-trapping but none as scholarly and comprehensive as this. If you are only slightly interested in the topic, this book will more than whet your appetite for this wonderful outdoor activity.



"A Camera trapper's Companion: An introduction to Exploring Nature with Trail Cameras" by Chris Wemmer. BRG Scientific LLC, 3025 Ontario Rd NW, #407, Washington District of Columbia 20009.

Friday 26 April 2024

On the Prowl


This Amethystine Python, Simalia kinghorni, was stretched out in our driveway the other morning amidst several Red-legged Pademelons- a wallaby, Thylogale stigmatica, and a number of Musky Rat-kangaroos, Hypsiphrymndon moschatus.

From the looks of it, this fellow needs a feed. Its skinny body suggests that the snake has not been very successful in prey-catching. With cold weather approaching, the snake must have a feed if it is to survive. The snake was about 3 m in length so it has had success in the past!

Pops Has Gone Crazy

 Remember to click on the photo to enlarge

This cassowary cannot believe what is happening. His father has driven him and his two siblings off. Just yesterday the world was right with the four of them together finding food and being protected by the adult but today the world has changed. Pops has decided that it was time for the chicks to go on their own way. They will live a life of solitude for 40+ years if they have learned the lessons their father has taught for the past many months. They will have to forage for fruits, flowers and the odd lizard, frog or carrion. Eventually they will establish a territory and drive other cassowaries away. For the present the three will stay together but eventually they will separate from one another. If they encounter other cassowaries, they will be driven away or set upon.

 For the moment, the normal sounds of the rainforest are broken by the cries of the young adults. You can hear their loud cries at: Normally should the chicks utter this cry, Pops would come running to their rescue. But no more. Growing up is sometimes cruel.


Wednesday 20 March 2024

Orthopteroids Pay a Visit

 Remember to click on the image once to enlarge

The rainy period, decreased day-length and the oncoming of Autumn has resulted in many adult orthopteroid insects on the move at night. Here are a few highlights.

Caedicia sp 6, Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae

Caedicia sp 6, Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae
Ducetia antipoda female: Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae
Ducetia antipoda male : Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae
Nunkeria sp, female: Gryllacrididae

Nunkeria sp, female: Gryllacrididae
Nunkeria sp, female: Gryllacrididae
Methiola picta: Acrididae
Parapodacanthus hasenpuschorum male: Phasmatidae
Johnrehnia triramosa male: Ectobiidae: Blattellinae

Johnrehnia triramosa male: Ectobiidae: Blattellinae

Thursday 14 March 2024

More Moths from Kuranda

Remember to click on image to enlarge

Barbacha eurychrysa: Geometridae

Unknown genus: Drepanidae

Eudocima salaminia: Noctuidae

Eudocima iridescens: Noctuidae

Eumelea sp: Geometridae

Lyclene pyrala: Arctiidae
                                                                      Lyclene reticulata: Arctiidae

Tridrepana lunulata: Drepanidae

Oxyodes or near: Geometridae
Phazaca mutans: Uraniidae


Sunday 25 February 2024

And Still They Come: Recent Arrivals at the Light Sheet

 Recent extended periods of rain have probably contributed to the large numbers of insects that are coming to our light sheet. The rainy period seems to be responsible for some insect populations to have produced abnormally large numbers of individuals.

Remember to click on the image to enlarge

Webber's Caedicia Caedicia webberi
Kuranda Bush Katydid Ozphyllum kuranda
The Eumundi, Leucopodoptera eumundii male in defensive position
The Eumundi, Leucopodoptera eumundii male
Purple-winged Katytid, Kurandoptera purpura female
Greenes' Katydid Greenagraecia attenuata male

Ingrisch's Olive-green Katytdid Ingrischagraecia iterika male
Big-headed Raspy Cricket Chauliogryllacris acaropenates

Small Mediastinia Mediastinia australica 

Rosenbergia megalocephala
Rosenbergia drouini a rarity!
Rentz's Buzzer Aesa rentzi

Elephant-nosed weevil
Noctuidae Cyclodes spectans
Noctuidae Donuca rubropicta
Noctuidae Hulodes caranea
Noctuidae Ischyja sp
Crambid moths responsible for stripping Alstonia trees in the Kuranda region. Stemorrhages amphitritalis
Stalk-headed Fly Achias sp
An icon of tropical Australia
Rainbow Stag Beetle Female Phalacrognathus muelleri 
Janson's Stag Beetle Aegus jansoni

Saturday 24 February 2024

Centipede meets an untimely end

Remember one click on the image to enlarge 

The recent rainy period has proved a bonus for the local spider population. It seems there are many more insects about and the spiders are taking advantage.

We found an odd situation. A  Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila) had caught a fairly large centipede. How the centipede managed to get into the web is conjecture. The web is placed under our deck and maybe the centipede just made a fatal mistake and fell into it. 

But that's not the most unusual creature a Golden Orb Weaver has caught. See:

This one had caught a small bat. And there are records of this kind of spider netting birds from time to time.