Author Archive | neil

Daintree Power Struggles

In an ongoing effort to get through to the Queensland Government, our local ratepayers association is considering a full-page advertisement in the environmental liftout of a local newspaper. It would include an open letter to the Premier of Queensland, the Hon. Anna Bligh MP: Dear Madam Premier, Residents and business operators within the Daintree rainforest […]

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Impressions of humanity in wilderness

We have an enlargement of this image printed on stretched canvas, hanging on the wall of our living room. In its abundance and purity, water underpins the richness of our rainforest home and this image beautifully captures the celebrity of its most central supply. As a family, we spend a surprising amount of time discussing […]

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Leseur’s Frog

Leseur’s Frogs (Litoria lesueuri) emerge after dark from their diurnal concealment amongst leaf-litter on the dark-brown forest floor, where they elude the predatory appetites of a formidable avian oversight. Like all members of the genus, Leseur’s have large finger and toe pads and horizontal pupils, however, males out-number females, perhaps as many as fifty-to-one. Adult […]

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Do you recognise this face?

On this Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday, I thought that I would issue a challenge to our Politics & Environment Weblog community: To whom or what does this face belong? I can tell you that it is not a member of Australia’s legislature. Neither is it employed in Australia’s public service. It is definitely Australian, but […]

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The World’s Most Painful Plant

Australians might be surprised to hear that many visiting travellers perceive the country as dangerous … a landscape teeming with deadly snakes and spiders and surrounded by crocodiles, sharks and jellyfish, but what of its floral dangers? Gympie Gympie (Dendrocnide moroides) is arguably the world’s most painful plant. Covered with hypodermic hairs on its leaves […]

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What is Wilderness? (Part 11)

For me, wilderness both resonates of human potential and also describes the ultimate expression of humanity. No other state of relations can be more admirable. Far from the notion of humankind and wilderness being mutually exclusive, I believe we must rather aspire to change for the benefit of wilderness and in so doing, restore to […]

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Wompoo Fruit Doves

Photographing this roosting pair of Wompoo Fruit-Doves Ptilinopus magnificus was simply irresistible. Over the years, I have seen many asleep, but never so low to the ground. They are large doves, reaching almost half-a-metre and are richly coloured, with white head, purple breast, green wings with a conspicuous yellow stripe and bright yellow undergarments. Their […]

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Cyclosa Spiders and Stabilimenta

When I first spotted this messy web, I could barely make out the spider. In its own right, it was tiny; a mere 3-4 mm long, but in the circumstances of its concealment, it was marvellously blended into the broader clutter of debris, at the centre of the stabilimentum (conspicuous feature of silk). Under higher […]

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Hairy Red Pittosporum

For the sake of appearance, colour can make a world of difference. In tropical rainforests, a bright upper canopy, rich in blue and UV, and a dark understorey, rich in green and orange, contrasts two distinct light environments. When discretion is important, bright greens blend better in the upper canopy, whereas dark browns have the […]

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