Materialism

posted in: Writing | 13

These mountains are my home, these forests are my refuge, these rainforests are my sacred place. But climate change is taking this away from me. If my house burns down, I can rebuild it somewhere else. But I can’t rebuild this landscape the same as it was. Not while the weather continues its relentless march into new territory that’s hostile to humans and rainforests alike.

The Rainforest Ball

How did the rainforest trees find which animals could carry their seeds far and wide? By inviting everyone to The Rainforest Ball, of course! A story to celebrate National Tree Day, from my book ‘Stories from the Wildworld’.

Stories from the Wildworld – on sale now

posted in: Books, Wildworld Books, Writing | 2

The books have arrived! A big van pulled up in the driveway today, and now we have many boxes of Stories from the Wildworld piled up in our house. Wooopeee! I now pronounce Stories from the Wildworld, my first kid’s … Continued

A sublime scarp in a country of coal

posted in: Nature journaling, Writing | 8

The Blackdown Tablelands lie between Rockhampton and Emerald, in central Queensland. We stopped there on the way up to Bimblebox Nature Refuge last month, and this is what I wrote. The coal trains wind their way across the land like … Continued

She didn’t need much.

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 24

She didn’t need much. While I was busy with my own small worries, my own daily life, this last two years, she was just quietly getting on with her own. I didn’t know it, but she was less than a … Continued

Want to get started with nature journaling? This little guidebook will show you how.

posted in: Books, Nature journaling, Writing | 21

Nature journaling is a relaxing and fun way to connect with the natural world. You don’t need to be super-fit, or travel far to do it. Nature journaling improves your powers of observation and ability to see beauty and detail. … Continued

Lullabies for life

A pair of fairy wrens are in our garden – their calls are shrill, sweet and curiously penetrating. And for the first time ever, I think they might stay. This is terribly exciting. When we moved here eight years ago, … Continued

Dialogue with a logrunner

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 16

Me: Hello little logrunner, how are things with you? Logrunner: (scratch, scratch)…oh…you talking to me? Me: Yes, I’d like to know what it’s like to be a logrunner. Logrunner: (cocks her head, looks at me with a big dark eye) … Continued

Why are Australian swans black?

Australian swans are black, while most swans are white. Why should this be? When I was a child, growing up in Australia, the only swans I saw were black. At Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, or in the Botanic Gardens of … Continued

Is an aboriginal woomera like a heron’s neck?

This post is co-authored by Gordon Sanson.¹ Early dawn light is creeping across a glassy-still wetland, as wreaths of mist curl upwards. A large white egret stands still, poised ready. Nearby an aboriginal man is waiting for kangaroos to venture … Continued

The toadfish, the toe-cutter, and the great swimming head

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 2

  I once met a man who could hypnotize toadfish. He would stand ankle-deep, on the mudflats of Bramble Bay, with his heels together like Dorothy. And the little common toadfish would swim into the ‘V’ created, and become still. … Continued

Walk like a man: Was the giant kangaroo too big to hop?

Many years ago, Franz Kafka imagined a creature that was elusive, and remained tantalizingly out of reach, so that its exact nature was never quite discerned: The animal resembles a kangaroo, but not as to the face, which is flat … Continued

Egrets? I’ve had a few…

  Over the last couple of months four species of egret have been frequenting Dowse Lagoon. Sometimes I see them together in the same muddy corner near the bird-hide. They are the great egret Ardea alba, plumed or intermediate egret … Continued

The strangler fig: everyone’s favorite killer

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 2

A rainforest tree is subject to many mortal perils: shade, cyclones, fires, chainsaws. One of the most grotesque and extended deaths is carried in a tiny seed, rained down from above by complicit birds and bats. Many such seeds drop … Continued

Why is the house gecko noisy while most lizards are silent?

A recent visitor to our house – a keen naturalist from southern Australia – was startled the first time he heard the sound of an Asian House gecko, and was even more surprised that a gecko was responsible for the … Continued

Of bugs and booyongs

The rainforest holds many secrets in its high vaulted green ceilings, swooping loops of vines, a million soft mossy pockets and damp rotting piles of leaves. So many tales to tell. Of tree and leaf, beast and bug, season and … Continued

Little red nomads head north for the winter

  Around Easter-time it starts. The stirring of retired folks – the ‘grey nomads’ – as they load up their 4WD’s and caravans and head north for the winter. In south-east Queensland you see them on the freeways, mostly up … Continued

Why is the ibis often grubby, and the egret always clean?

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 9

Lifestyle choices or better beauty products? The Australian white ibis often looks grubby, but the white plumage of egrets always looks freshly laundered – with a purity and glow that the makers of clothes detergents would die for. Both birds … Continued