About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Drama from my Desk

Just a little vignette that I often think about, though it happened years ago now. It was a mild winter and many of the usual migrants had stayed in Canberra, among them flocks of little White-naped Honeyeaters, mostly leaf gleaners, which came daily to the bird bath in front of my study window. 

On this occasion I was gazing idly out the window, seeking some inspiration - and instead got a scene straight out of Attenborough! A Grey Butcherbird (which I'd never hitherto seen in the yard) hurtled in, seized an unfortunate honeyeater, drowned it, and flew off with it with all the surviving honeyeaters in pursuit. I never saw either species in the yard again.

So much is just sheer chance, being in the right place at the right time. And sometimes life is even more exciting than an Attenborough episode.

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