Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Wednesday and I'm at work

Despite having two good seasons of rain the Oak trees at the front of the school are still looking like they have a lot of drought die back.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

more Aid for Japan

Just found a website called Pay for Japan that has collected together various companies that are donating products for fundraising in Japan- including the fantastic book Art Space Tokyo. Great interviews of curators and directors of art spaces as well as maps and hits- I hope they send the new edition!

But you have to buy before the end of March

conversation between sea eagles and mice

A coupe of weekends ago Haico and I went camping at Congo Beach on the south coast. I spent one afternoon lying down on the grass reading and looking up to see adult Sea Eagles glide by overhead. At one point both adults where directly above me- divine! I don't think I have ever seen two Sea Eagles together. One day we walked further down the coast, threw the narrow strip of Euraobodalla NP, to Bingle Bingle Point and we saw a a juvenile Sea Eagle too. So I guess the pair had a successful breeding season like the pair at Olympic Park. The pair at Olympic Park raised two chicks and there is some great footage of the adults feeding the chicks on the Birds Australia Eagle Cam. Next year the camera is going to go onto Live feed- very exciting- I love turning and watching even when "nothing" is happening.

When we packed up the tents under Haico's we found a squashed mouse- just a house mouse. Haico figured the mouse must have crawled under the tent during one of the raining nights and decided that being near him was nice and warm- fatally when Haico rolled over and squished him.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


A couple of months ago I posted a poem by Marian Waller. Marian had uploaded to the ABC radio Pool site where they where collecting material and for part of the of a radio documentary "Birdland". Marian poem was included- Hurrah!

What birds mean to Australians... and how we'd feel if they were gone. A unique collaboration between ABC Radio National and its listeners, brings you Birdland.
Birds are everywhere. Even in the center of the cities, the white cockatoos call as they form silhouettes against blue sky; the rosellas squabble for fruit.
But Australia's bird populations are under threat, as even such iconic and common birds as the Kookaburra are diminishing in numbers.
The Birdland project asked Radio National listeners to tell us what birds really mean to them. Responses ranged from audio to text, and images. The best contributions are a part of and have informed the direction of the radio documentary.
The result is a profound exploration of what birds mean to Australians... and how we'd feel if they were gone.
As well as the radio broadcast, Birdland also became a slideshow, at Federation Square, Melbourne, which you can see below.
Music on the show by Gretchen Miller, Russell Stapleton, Boyd, Stephen Adams, Bree Van Reyk, Alex Anderson, Rose Lang, Sean Scott, Al Kash, Terry Plunkett and Ashley Holmes.
Poems and writing by Anne M Carson, Catherine Evans, Judy Fander, Maya Ward, Willow, Marian Waller, Carolyn Leach Paholski, Rebecca Newman, Belinda Hansen and Barbara Henery.

Produced by Gretchen Miller you can download the radio documentary here.

One thing that stands out to me immediately is part of the introduction states that (me paraphrasing) "birds have gone from Tokyo and instead you get their sounds broadcast from speakers". The "truth", as Tim Low would say is much more complex- we humans create winners and loosers. While there is probably less diversity (in Tokyo and Australian cities) some birds are doing extremely well in the environment that we are creating. For me the sound of Tokyo in winter is the mocking laugh of the two species of Crows and the squealing of the Brown-eared Bulbul. Both rise above the white noise of the millions of people going about their business. I saw some rare birds over- wintering in Tokyo, that we much much harder to see in the Summer when we where high in the national parks. And the memories of birdwatching in reclaimed wastelands, planted forests and shrines strengthened my conviction that we Australians, have generally become lazy about our immediate surroundings.

Take a look at this article on the Sulfur Crested Cockatoos of Sydney from today's Sydney Morning Herald to get a sense of complications.

However the State of Australian Birds- which is put together by Birds Australia and is based on observations by their thousands of members, as well as scientists, does indicate a decline in overall bird numbers, including the Kookaburra. And habitat loss, that's us and our sprawling cities, retirement and holiday home developments, are the number one cause of declining numbers.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The Hume Hwy somewhere north of Melbourne and south of Benalla.

Most of March has been spent travelling up and down the South-Eastern seaboard. For holidays as well as work, but what words my students haven't stolen, have been sucked out of me by the Hume Hwy. Not much writing done this month on anything.

Aid for Japan

Art-it Asia has a listed some fundraising events for aid assistance for the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. One of the projects listed asking for direct donation is by architect, Shigeru Ban and is a project to construct cardboard partitions for survivors living in relief centers in the Tohoku region.

Like in the Christchurch Earthquake, Red Cross Australia, re directs donations to the Japanese branch.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

thinking of Japan

All of my friends are safe although very shaken and distressed with the strong after shocks.

The images of the tsunami leave me speechless. My thoughts and best wishes are with the people of Japan.

This is how I had my bed set up at TWS, I usually included a bottle of water too. The strange shaped thing is a torch. I had another helmet next to my desk, and one down stairs in the studio. I was paranoid- the TWS building is very new.

Andrew sykped with Utako in Tokyo yesterday, she was wearing one of these white helmets, her family in the north are all fine. I have heard from Hanako who was at TWS during the quake, everything and everyone there was fine, although she said it was terrifying. She had to walk back to Asakusa- a journey Kajsa and I did in reverse on our bikes home after a sento visit in February a year ago. It's a long way and disorientating - even more so if you are avoiding walking under the raised JR train lines.