Deception and Delight: Brisbane Winter Wonders

“People trust their eyes above all else – but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there” – Zoe Marriot, Shadows on the Moon

I’ve discovered a rare species and as you can imagine, I’m thrilled! Here in the heart of Brisbane city I spotted the rarely seen Penguinadae deceptor-dartus, so named because of its amazing ability to transform from a roly-poly penguin… Continue reading

Castle Hill and the Dragon’s Revenge – Hiking at Blackstone

Have you ever wished you could foresee the future? I’ve decided I don’t want to know what lies ahead. Fear can be a powerful force and even if I knew about the happy events, perhaps the over-riding desire to avoid pain from other happenings would leave me mentally paralysed – unable to act? I wonder if the young Welshman, Lewis Thomas, would still have ventured to Australia if he’d known what the future would bring. Continue reading

Great Expectations – The Mount Maroon Version

Mt Maroon and Stinking Roger

Whenever my hikes don’t run to plan, I’m reminded of the words, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men,” from a Robert Burns’ poem. This in turn brings to mind a couple of grim scenes from John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men. I doubt that the English teacher who chose this book for my class envisaged that 30 years later one of her students would still be having flashbacks. My recent hike at Mt Maroon involved another visit from the now controversial Steinbeck classic.  Continue reading

A Platypus Quest: Six Mile Creek Discoveries

I have yet to see a platypus in the wild. I wonder how many Australians have. When I was told recently that a dead platypus had been found near Six Mile Creek in my local area, I had mixed feelings – excitement and surprise that they lived so close to me, and a little frustration and disappointment that a new supermarket complex and residential development being built right next to the creek may be responsible for their demise.

Since then I have headed down to the creek on a few occasions, hoping to catch sight of this unusual monotreme. I did come across some brown woolly animals and another rather hairy creature. The second species elicited a  screech  from me that was loud enough to bring the cricketers from the practice nets down to investigate. I was left a little red-faced by their concern. Not an uncommon occurrence for me, I can assure you. Continue reading

The Shortest Hike in the World

mantid

“Among the myrtles the mantids moved, lightly, carefully, swaying slightly, the quintessence of evil. They were lank and green, with chinless faces and monstrous globular eyes, frosty gold, with an expression of intense, predatory madness in them. The crooked arms, with their fringes of sharp teeth, would be raised in mock supplication to the insect world, so humble, so fervent, trembling slightly when a butterfly flew too close.” – Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals.

It’s past midnight and the party is still going strong. It happens every night and I’m never invited. Instead, I lie tossing and turning, listening to their high-jinks, romantic interludes and  occasional fighting. That’s what happens when your backyard is a jungle in a street of manicured lawns and trimmed hedges. The possums move in! Continue reading