Our professional background was taxonomic entomology (insect classification). I was senior curator of entomology at the Queensland Museum for 30 years and Judy my technical assistant until we left to pursue other careers (Judy in 1980 and me in 1992).
Part of our job entailed field work in habitats from semi arid communities to rainforest. This background provides us with skills in interpreting habitats and understanding relationships between the various elements adding considerably to our enjoyment when bush walking and travelling.
One of our interests is geology which determines soils and topography.
Soils vary in chemical and physical characteristics that determine critical factors such as depth, fertility, nutrient availability, drainage and moisture-holding capacity.
Climate is never uniform across a given area but is modified by topography (height and aspect) to provide a varied series of microclimates. Both soils and topography are the result of past geological history of the area: soils on the chemical composition of their parent rocks; and topography on major geological episodes such as mountain building, weathering and subsequent erosion (the rock cycle).
Part of the information gathering we do before a trip is into the geology and land forms of the area we will intend to traverse. Google Earth is very useful for topography. Our blogs contain notes on these aspects as appropriate and list relevant publications.
What makes our world so diverse and interesting are the complex interactions between climate, soils and topography on biological communities. Bush walking offers a wonderful opportunity to observe the effects of these interactions and an enjoyable way of exercising.
An understanding of these interactions extends walking enjoyment through the observation of subtle changes in the area being traversed and the development of an understanding of their underlying causes. The rewards are a greater skill in observation, and increased knowledge, which can be further expanded by extra reading, and by comparing observations when walking in different biological communities.
Our Blog aims to share as much of this knowledge as possible to increase our visitors’ enjoyment of being out and about whether on foot or by transport of some kind.
National Parks and State Forests provide safe walking trails for those inexperienced in map reading and navigation.
Trees and Forests
Our quest for knowledge has continued since leaving the Museum. In 2002 Judy initiated a project to identify eucalypts and now our travels by car or on foot have greater enjoyment.
Eucalypts, with over 800 species, and growing, no pun intended, are not an easy group because of natural and habitat variation, as well as the tendency for some species to hybridise. Nevertheless we soldiered on and can now identify most of the species in south east Queensland and many from other areas. Total number of species identified is 167 with some ways to go yet. But what’s life without a challenge?
Our blogs contain notes on various species and other aspects of these iconic Australian trees.
There is something awe-inspiring about being in the presence of ancient, very large trees of any species and our blogs make note of these encounters.
We like visiting town centres when travelling to examine the establishment buildings: town halls; court houses; port authorities etc, banks; churches; and any historical buildings. Hotels are also great from both an historical and architectural view point. We find that local Information Centres and Historical Museums are useful sources of references and information.
Vintage and veteran aircraft from both world wars are included under this heading.
Although our blogs are Australian we include notes from New Zealand airshows in Wanaka and Omaka.
Observations is a broad Category within our blog and is composed mainly of Natural History subjects. A broad overview includes –
- Animals are mostly terrestrial from the groups such as: insects; mammals; reptiles; and birds.
- Plants include groups such as: eucalypt woodlands and rain forests; magnificent trees especially figs with their involved life cycle; plant groups such as epiphytes; and tree buttresses.
- Plant related groups such as fungi and lichens
The sky is a wonderful changing vista that we regard as God’s screen saver. Cloud classification remained a mystery until to us we discovered the Cloud Appreciation Society on the web.
Membership of this society is free and the site lists various of the Society’s books and apps in their on-line shop to assist in cloud identification, The Society also produces a regular blog with society news, cloud spotters events. clouds and cloud of the month.
There are many other features for members so give the site a click.
Look up often and enjoy the free view.