Friday, September 30, 2011

Yoko and Zorro

are the names of the two birds tether at the MCG to scare off the Silver Gulls. Yoko is a Peregrine Falcon and Zorro is a Wedge-tail Eagle.

There is a short video news item on the smh. site that has some good footage of the gulls on the pitch, in case you are like me and never watch AFL, and so don't have an idea of the issue. But even better The Doctor on Triple J has a short interview with Alice and Graham (the handlers) and the birds, on his radio program where Zorro interjects a few times. (its at 27:00- once the story has loaded you can move straight to that point)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joshua and Jimbo

Guest Post by Fernando do Campo, curator of I live with birds

The first birds I ever cared for were two juvenile pied butcher-birds. Not too young, early days of fledgling stage – it was my first shot at being a wildlife carer. The matriarch of ‘Rockhampton Wildlife Rescue’ dropped them off, with cage, pot of raw (ironically kangaroo) mince and dried insect mix. Jimbo and Joshua, as they were affectionately named by Hilario my brother, were a certain-to-survive rescue mission. That woman is partly responsible for my animal addiction. I was a nerd, a fanatic that could not be on the highway for 5 kms without yelling at dad to pull-over so that I could check the pouch of a carcass. Art school got in the way of what I was certain would be a career of wildlife veterinary. Until very recently I was happy with this and refocused all my energy into the colourful, sometimes gratifying art world. Raquel Ormella’s project for Iteration:Again, I live with birds, makes me recall these stories. I don’t think it’s the reconsideration of career paths or Raquel’s contagious bird-fever, but rather the revising of priorities and commitments, of things I love and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bek's emu

Fernando and I had a interesting conversation this morning with Bek Verrier about an architecture project she is working on for University. The idea is for a community centre in Adventure Bay on Bruny Island. I'll post some more about that soon but below Bek is talking about how she grew up on an emu farm just outside of Hobart. 
Male emus (like male cassowaries) are the ones that sit and brood the eggs.

angry white backs?

There have been lots of articles in the Sydney Morning Herald at the moment about swooping Magpies. The photo above comes from a great series by Darren Pateman in Newcastle. From the picture above, you can see that Pateman has a camera mounted in his helmet capturing a series of stills with the Magpie in various positions including an amazing image of the maximum downbeat of the birds wings. This article also has some moving images of the event.

 Having grown up in dry woodland country I know exactly the trepidation of having to cross a nesting Magpies territory. There was a pair in the large hockey fields that I had to cross from Kingswood station to the Univeristy of Western Sydney campus. For six weeks I would walk with a automatically-opening fold-up umbrella at the ready to point towards the incoming bird. The 'pop' of the umbrella worked every time to dissuade the bird from attacking me. 

One of the things I am enjoying about seeing this common bird in Launceston is that the subspecies hereCracticus. tibicen hypoleuca is a "White backed" magpie where as the magpies in Sydney are C. tibicen tibicen and are part of the "Black back" group.
Anyone know of a swooping male in Launceston?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hi All,

I have had some feedback that you haven't been able to comment without a Blogger ID. I have changed the settings so hopefully this will not be a problem now. You still might have to fill in the security text - which is to stop spam.

Under the comment box there is a drop down menu which asks for a blogger or google etc account. You don't need one of these- the very last option is anonymous. If you use that option but want to tell me who you are just sign off in the comments box.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

John Hart Conservatory #1

Thanks to everyone who visited the temporary sound installation in the John Hart Conservatory over the last two Saturdays.

I have heard that for many visitors it was the first time they have visited since the renovation a few years ago. I first saw the conservatory about 4 months ago and don't know what it was like before. I've heard it described as a jungle and a kids adventure wonderland, also that the plants where being vandalised. Does anyone have any photos to share?
send to:

Flashed flowers #8

Wattle season is over in Sydney, the Callistemon season has started, these ones are stolen from the neighbourhood. This one might be callistemon citrons, but hard to tell. Callistemon citrons is also know as "Endeavour", which is the one used in street planting in greater Sydney. It has taken me a long time to consider collision beautiful, as I associated them with dried up dusty suburban nature strips, their fluffy leaves blacked and polluted by parked cars. Haico loves them and he has opened my eyes to how the flowers are delicate and beautiful. Andrew McQualter and I have drawn them in our collaborative wall paintings "Constructed woodlands". The flowers on the type in the vase are slightly longer and fatter than the "Endeavour", and the leaves are smooth rather than fluffy.
Scaevola "Purple fanfare" from our garden- this one flowers all year round.
Kangaroo paw from our garden, photographed before, these have been flowering continuously for 3 months now.

All in 60s west German ceramic vases.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harassed Sea-Eagle

Cycling in to Sawtooth on Friday I heard a mixture of Masked Lapwing (I notice people call them "plovers" here) and Magpie alarm calls. Looking up I saw an adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle being chased and harried. Penny had told me you could sometimes see them over the Gorge, so I was not so surprised to see one, but never the less still find it quiet amazing that an urban centre 60km (?) inland is visited by one of these birds.
post impact from a bold Magpie 
It's a bit hard to see in this photo but the belly is a solid white

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Twitch tip #1: Nankeen Night Heron

After my talk at the Launceston Art School I got a good twitch tip from Penny Mason, head of Painting.

Nankeen Night Heron, Lauceston Gorge, about 500 metre in from the gate keepers cottage.

I must remember to keep my camera in the horizontal position...

"a triumphant goshawk"

From the Launceston Examiner Tuesday 13/9/11. Photo by Julian and Oriana Santamaria. I particularly like that that s/he is eating a feral Spotted Turtle-Dove.

I have seen a couple of Grey Goshawks- one who is resident in the Royal National Park south of Sydney and the other in the mangroves near the Cairns airport- however both where the grey morph. Fingers crossed I see Launie's resident. Any tips on a reliable spot for a sighting?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A beginning: again

Tamar Islands Wetlands this morning with Liam and Fernando filming. I arrived in Launceston on Monday and since then it been a fairly hectic schedule of work.

For those who follow my blog regularly, my blog has been temporarily taken over by a project I am working on called I live with birds, which is part of a larger exhibition: Iteration:again.

This is just the briefest of posts as its time to sort out a artist talk that I will be giving at the Art School at 12:30.