Spider day: Argiope keyserlingi

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

It’s the season!

St Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi) with prey

St Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi) with prey

St Andrew’s Cross Spiders (Argiope keyserlingi) have been absent from my backyard for a few years, and I’ve regretted their loss. But this year they are back, and in greater numbers than before.

St Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi), ventral view

St Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi), ventral view

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Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park #4: Koalas and Echidna

Monday, 17 August 2015

This post will probably be the last in this year’s Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park series.

A Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) enjoying a snack and a shower

A Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) enjoying a snack and a shower

During the afternoon koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) feeding session the older bunches of Eucalyptus leaves get swopped out and replaced with new. The new leaves are then sprayed with water to provide the koalas with a drink. The koalas don’t seem to mind the spray — with the eucalyptus oils in their fur they are pretty much waterproof.

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Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park #3: Roos

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The ‘roos at the Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park are all wild and move freely throughout the park (with the exception of Hazel, who wears a collar). Please follow the safety instructions in the handouts you are given when you buy your ticket, as your actions may be interpreted as aggression/challenge and result in severe injury to you.

In short:
1. If a ‘roo moves away as you approach, leave it alone.
2. The safest place to touch a ‘roo is on the shoulders and back.
3. Don’t touch a ‘roo on the head, face or neck.
4. When a ‘roo scratches its stomach, don’t imitate it.
5. If a ‘roo hugs you, you may be in big trouble.
6. Don’t feed the ‘roos.

Wally the Walleroo -- I think

Wally the Walleroo — I think

Wally likes to visit the gift shop at the Visitor Centre (door to the left).

Wally the walleroo (Macropus robustus)

Wally the walleroo (Macropus robustus)

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Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park #2: The Birds

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park conducts ranger-led activities on a regular basis. Guests are allowed into one of the aviaries to meet a number of interestingly-named parrots. But first — here are the emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) and one of the peacocks.

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

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Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park #1: Quoll and Devils

Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Spotted-tailed or Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

Spotted-tailed or Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus)

These photos are the result of a day trip to the Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park.

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

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The Corruption of the Hugo Awards Nominations Process

Monday, 6 April 2015

In short: a bunch of rightwing SF/F writers and fans colluded to stack the Hugo Award nominations with their own candidates, effectively excluding better works — and they invited Gamergaters to join them in their quest.

[Note: lots of late edits]
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After the roast, the cleanup

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

I don’t like cooking. The preparation can be tedious. The smells hang around for days, depending on the configuration of your house and the day’s menu. Worst of all, there’s the washing up.

If you have done a roast on any kind of wire grill/cooking rack arrangement in the oven or a turbo broiler you’ll be familiar with the after-dinner results: a manky thing caked with grease and burnt animal product that needs cleaning.

You’ll spend some (meaning lots of) time with scrubber/brush/steel wool/whatever, plus detergent and hot water, in an effort to make it all good again. When you’re finally done you may have a bit of a mess to clean up after the cleanup. You may also notice some deposits that got missed the first time around.

Now that’s annoying.

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