Sunday, February 17, 2013

Looking for rare wildlife

Seems I have been on the missing list. Actually I have been a little busy donating time to a science based National mental health initiative that is to be launched soon. They are a fascinating group of people with training solutions for workplace bullying. I donated some time helping with their websites and learned a lot about how basically the way we treat each other can, and does, make people sick. I found it interesting that every time I hear about bullying it is someone else 'identifying the problems'. I liked this mob because they actually seem to have some solutions... I only mentioned it because having finished I have had the time and opportunity with a couple of friend's to stakeout an area of Namadgi and look for a little rare wildlife.

There are species in the A.C.T that haven't had an official sighting in 20 and 30 years, Quolls and Smoky Mice for example. There are others that haven't been seen in so long that they are officially declared extinct. I'm looking for those 'quasi-extinct' species with such a low population that they are rarely if ever seen.

Why? because it interests me and its a great reason to keep fit and healthy in the bush. For the first time I wore a front facing harness video that ran for an hour. The first part of this video is 6 minutes of commentary as we went along from audio/video footage taken when selecting a location and setting equipment. The second half is real camera footage of the finished set up. I have a theory that if you never ever go... you will never ever know.


The camera is set on time lapse and will take 1 photo every 10 seconds for 24 hours. So 6 per minute. That should equate to  8640 photos - I have software that plays the photos like a movie to detect targets. Two sound recorders will capture any accompanying unusual animal sounds. Who know's maybe I'll get something... maybe I won't, but it was a beautiful day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Remote camera update

I was disappointed after leaving a remote wildlife camera in Namadgi to find that I had neglected to remove one flower heading plant from the camera's  field of view. As you can imagine this overlooked plant swayed gently in the breeze for the full 6 days activating the camera hundreds of times.

After a long time reviewing identical pictures as far as I can ascertain only one small wallaby was captured on the evening of the first day. Live and Learn...


Friday, February 1, 2013

The Black Mountain cave

Dave Wheeler, another Canberran interested in Canberra's history raised an interesting question. He contacted me asking if I had any knowledge of a cave on Black Mountain. It is not widely known but Canberra is built over a large formation of limestone caves some which affected the building of the National Library and early sewerage system. I have a post on Canberra's caves here.

The question of a, seemingly unknown cave on 'Black Hill' is raised by a man who at the turn of the 20th century was called 'The Father of Canberra' John Gale (1831-1929)(biowas the famous and well respected editor of the Queanbeyan age. In his book Canberra; Its history and its legends he writes a short passage describing a living room sized cave...

It is the respectability, incredible local knowledge and long life of Mr Gale that adds credence to this report.

Above is a picture of the eastern slope of Black Mountain today below the article and an eastern photo of Black Hill at the time of this Gale's book's publishing...

The research Dave has been doing has included recollections of his own Grandmother who remembered seeing John Gale when he was alive in the streets of Queanbeyan and a recollection from an old Canberra resident who claims the cave was deemed dangerous and sealed up in the early days of Canberra post 1913.

The description of having to enter on all fours indicates this cave entrance wasn't very big. Apart from the reported use of this cave as a hide out for escaped convicts, if it existed, I imagine it would have had a long aboriginal history worthy of an archaeological survey. There are many reports of Corroboree on the Black Mountain Penninsular. Who knows it maybe of the importance of Yankee Hat. I'm also wondering if in the bowels of government record vaults isn't reference of it closed for whatever reason and forgotten.

I'd be very interested in hearing from anyone who may have information regarding this supposedly sealed cave on the Eastern slopes of Black Mountain. Who said there weren't any mysteries in Canberra worth exploring. As a closing thought I'll mention it to Tim the Yowie Man... He loves a good mystery.


Bottle Trees for the Australian National Arboretum

I remember the first time I encountered a full blown Bottle tree was near Chinchilla in Qld.  This would be the Golden West area described in the following video. Bottle trees are uniquely distinctive trees that sit strangely in the landscape. This video by Canberra film maker Richard Snashall documents the transplanting of several specimens into the New National Arboretum...

Published on 31 Jan 2013
A batch of unique Queensland bottle trees arrive by truck at the National Arboretum in Canberra. Meet the team behind this unique relocation and preservation.


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History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...