Thursday, 26 December 2013

Why a blog?

The combination of my given and family names leads to an obvious contraction; one that I have used varyingly as a log-on password in the past (there goes that option…). It also harks of a well-known magazine that goes back more than a century which I have never looked at and never intend to - fashion is just so not me. And, there was a pop band from California in the 60’s called Harpers Bizarre. One of their hits was a song called “Anything Goes”.

Try these links to see what they were like...

So putting all this together, one arrives at HarPer’s Bizarre. A blog which at this stage I don’t really know where it will go, but where anything may go.

But, I need to back-track. Why a blog? Mainly because I do a lot of my own stuff that never sees the light of day, and some of the posts I see on some of the blog sites of some of the people I associate with some of the time have inspired me to get some of it out there. This way, perhaps my partner, Karen, will no longer need to bear the brunt of my ramblings about my generally unfinished interests.


I expect that the vast majority of posts will have a natural history bent. My natural surroundings have always been an integral part of who I am and where my interests lie. I kept blue-tongued lizards, frogs, insects and spiders among others as pets as a kid growing up in Sydney (yeah – we also had cats and dogs, guinea-pigs, goldfish, canaries and so on, but they were the family pets). My ‘backyard’ was the Sydney sandstone bushland of the then as yet largely undeveloped suburb of Elanora Heights.


I was lucky enough also to live in Geneva and Singapore at different stages of my teen years. I’ve now lived in Canberra for the past 35 years. I completed a zoology/biochemistry degree at ANU and followed up with a PhD in molecular biology. For quite a while, through CSIRO and ANU, I worked on ecological, genetic, and molecular approaches to pest control (sheep blowfly and rabbits mainly). Now I am in the Australian public service with the Cooperative Research Centres program.


As an outlet for my need to be engaged in at least quasi-scientific environmental interests, I have been a member of the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) for the past 20 years, and have been an active bird-bander for the past ten.


So I’ll just finish this first post with a few photos of 'people' I have known…

Male Yellow-billed Kingfisher Syma torotoro, banded at Iron Range National Park
in Cape York, Queensland, in November 2005. Check out the eyelashes!

Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena, Eden harbour, NSW, June 2007.

Male Jungguy Tree Frog Litoria jungguy, Daintree, Far North Queensland, November 2011. We were staying at a house tucked away in the hills and there must have been 50 or more of these frogs come out of the rainforest to a small ornamental pool at the back of the house. Never saw a female. This species was newly described in 2004, previously considered part of the L. lesueuri species group.
Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica, Canberra, September 2011. This guy spent the night in my son's bedroom, perched on the piano stool, after being hit by a car.
Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus, Willi Will National Park, NSW, July 2007.
Double-eyed Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma (subspecies macleayana), Cairns esplanade, November 2011.

Tropical Rockmaster Diphlebia euphoeoides Mossman Gorge, Queensland, November 2011.