The squeaks and squawks of a family of brush wattlebirds have woken me at daybreak in the early autumn. I’m so attuned to the songs and calls of the resident birds in my garden I sleep blissfully through them as they start up but any new sound immediately makes me sit up in bed, as with the wattlebirds. Although wattlebirds are not uncommon in the Hobart area, they usually prefer drier bush rather than the wet forest found around my home. It was something of a mystery why … [Read more...] about Red-hot pokers a link to the past
Out of sight and out of mind, the Bassian thrush has always escaped my attention on Mount Wellington towering over Hobart, where I do much of my birding. Forays to the mountain, which also carries the Aboriginal name of kunanyi, have been about exotics, endemics. The elusive scrubtit is always on my radar and if this shy species does not come into view on any given day I’m happy to settle for a slightly more common species out of the hard-to-find basket, the strong-billed … [Read more...] about A lilt for Tasmania’s secret soul.
Foreward to Field Guide to Tasmanian Fungi, published 2016 MYCOLOGISTS call them the “orphans” of the wild, the fungi that live at the fringe of our consciousness when we tramp forest and glade. In search of a metaphor I prefer to call fungi Cinderellas of the woods. You find Cinderella working away in the dim, dank basement of the forest floor, often being bullied and threatened, at least in my Hobart valley in the shadows of Mount Wellington, by the ugly sisters of … [Read more...] about Cinderellas of the glades
Mercury taking point, September, 2017, opposing cable car plan for kunanyi/Mt Wellington. Where I come from we don’t have mountains or indeed wilderness. It’s not surprising then that someone like myself born in London and brought up on its suburban fringes should have a fascination with the high country. To say nothing of the south-west wilderness. Along with exotic animals, mountains always seemed to feature in the picture books I was bought as a child. They reared off … [Read more...] about Wilderness comes to the city
Tasweeekend magazine, Saturday Mercury, September 2017 Walking to work each day I’d look up at kunanyi/Mt Wellington towering above me and long to be up there, exploring rainforest and ravine, woodland and waterfall. Work as a journalist always got in the way, the priorities of typeface over rockface, and I would have to wait for retirement to realise a long-cherished dream of visiting the mountain daily for an entire year, recording the seasons in my shorthand … [Read more...] about A mountain metaphor for retirement