Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A menace of Mynas

Meanwhile back in Australia Andrew has been taking some picture of Indian Mynas for me to work with. I love his observation notes of this specific twitch:

Stalked mynahs in the South Melbourne Market’s carpark for an hour, baiting them with bits of sausage roll. I have sausage roll grease coating the inside of my mouth and my hands. No luck at Macca’s or at the Preston Market. Weird. Walked around the streets of Preston south and thought a lot about ideal mynah habitats. Noticed that they like to perch places and bounce their calls off hard surfaces like tile or brick. They like open areas in the sun, with a good lookout above. They don’t go as high as crows, or as exposed. Starlings like undergrowth and shade. Sparrows .... just plucky. Hard to get close to Preston mynahs more than 4 m or so—they keep hopping away and looking over their shoulders. 

At South Melbourne Markets they have an undercover loading dock for all the produce. Noticed straight away that the mynahs, sparrows and pidgeons were all ducking in under the roof and having a great old time. Not so good for photos though. A stroke of brilliance was putting their carpark on the roof. Mynahs feel really secure there and there’s lots of stuff dropped out of cars for them. They can get away from trouble by going under parked cars, or make a break for the fence that separates the market’s roof top from the carpark. I got some great shots, could get closer it seems cause they are used to people walking around. 

Leftover trashy food had eluded me ... thinking I could go back to the markets, get some take-away chinese, or salad, or more sausage rolls and leave them in strategic places. The little buggers are really canny though—they know you are watching them, and always keep a safe distance between you and them. Didn’t like the bits of sausage roll I tried to bait them with. Checked it out, didn’t even touch it.  They see or sense intention, I think. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Conversations between squirrel and spider

in the Jimmie Durham exhibition at the M HKA in Rotterdam

On one of the animal sculptures from the 1990s "Squirrel", a small spider had made his home between the squirrels ears. He was so small i could not get the spider in focus.

This was a fantastic show, especially to see after the Minding Animals conference. Waving to all new animal friends.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Emerlo Sky #2

Jackdaws (Corvus monedula) heading back their communal roosting spot for the evening. I saw this each night I was in Ermelo at around 8:30pm.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Linnaeus was here

Although it is not really his herb garden as Linnaeus was only in Harderwijk for only a week or so, to get his instant doctorate. What's more, the original plants where sold off after Napolean took control of the city and shut down the University. The two remaining specimens from that time are a ginkgo and plane tree. The plane tree has been heavily pollarded and looks not much more than an enormous stump.

The ginkgo however is very famous and is the second oldest in the Netherlands. It's estimated that it was planted in 1750, there is a legend that it was planted by Linnaeus but as he was in town in 1735 it's unlikely.

In an adjoining open space that also surrounds the De Horus, the old Botanical department building, there was anther huge plane tree whose stump was as large as the one in the renovated herb garden.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In the garden of Linnaeus

Bubble bees moving among the flowers in the herb garden of the former University of Harderwijk, filmed for new friends who I met recently at Imaging Nature IIAndre (NZ), Susan and Tarsh (WA). It was really nice to meet some artists and philosophers where interested in questioning science from within the discipline. I would characterise this thinking as an interest in acquiring and disseminating knowledges, that include scientific observation and categorisation, through the poetics of visual arts. (just to reduce an complicated argument to two sentences...)

Amsterdam bird encounters: Westerpark

Ok I have managed to keep this secret but I am actually quiet nervous about having physical contact with birds and am easily intimidated. As proof I offer you this ridiculous moment when I get chased by a Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) in a Westerpark. I was too close to the pair and their chicks and the parent had given me some feather ruffling and wing beating warning so I was approaching with care as I could only run forward to get out.

 The pond was one of series in old gas tanks. I saw lots of coots with offspring but this was the only case where the parents gave me the warnings and charged me. 

Haico’s friend has an apartment two blocks from Westerpark so I went there quiet a few times, and even managed a jet-lagged evening jog. The top end of the park is your classic turn of the century park. However the much larger part is in the now disused gas works that includes several jogging paths and a large quiet wild area that is fenced in for dogs to be let off their leads. 

Like many city parks there was several people feeding the ducks in the classical park, But I  didn't see any feeders in the wilder section.