Archive December 2009

Some of my favourite photos of 2009 Part I Brendan Moyle Dec 24

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This is a collection of some the photos that I felt most pleased with this year. What with this being the middle of summer and our Xmas break, I’m not on the web much at all. I’ll do some followup collections as the days progress.

"Flies like flowers too"

"Gondwanaland Relic Pill-Millipede"

"Stout-legged Harvestman"

"Miniature long-legged Harvestman"

"Rainbow Lorikeet"

"Sirocco- the Kakapo"

"Gray Warbler"

Whistling Kite Photo Brendan Moyle Dec 17

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A shot taken on the Adelaide River, up in the Northern Territory. These birds are superb acrobats and a delight to watch fly. The trick of course, is getting close enough to get in a nice photo :)


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Then there is the Australian Ibis Brendan Moyle Dec 16


I tried for several days to get in some decent photos of the ibis, but was often just too far away to really get a adequate shot in.

It was not until we got onto the water that the opportunity for some closer shots arose (of course, that then means having to cope with boat motion and engine vibration).

Here’s what I managed:

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Cattle Egret Photos Brendan Moyle Dec 16

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Title says it all really.

"Coming into land"

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Female Darter Bird Photos Brendan Moyle Dec 15

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The Australian darter (or snake bird) is another common species of the wetlands of the NT. It’s scientific name is Anhinga novaehollandiae. Females have lighter plummage than males. The species is not considered endangered or threatened.

The birds are like cormorants, in the sense they need to dry their feathers off after an aquatic expedition. These shots are from the Mary River. There were not a lot of opportunities along the river, so that frustrated attempts to get a range of shots.




Australian Pied Herons Brendan Moyle Dec 14

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One of the more common birds up in the wetlands of the Northern Territory is the Pied Heron.

I had several shooting opportunities, but the best spot turned out to be the ponds near Crocodylus Park.

#1 Flying Heron

#2 Pensive

#3 Stuck at the Shallow End

Extinction risk of Polar Bears exaggerated Brendan Moyle Dec 11

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The NZ Herald came out yesterday with a story on polar bears resorting to cannibalism in response to global warming. Sadly, the story does not credit any authorities on its statements. In short, it is a particularly credulous and unhelpful piece of reporting.

Cannibalism amongst bear species is not new. Male bears often kill cubs. This, in short, is not news. It also does not prove that polar bears are suffering under climate change.

Let us be clear here. There is an international treaty to conserve polar bears. It is a very long standing treaty, and encompasses the five polar nations (Russia, Norway, Greenland, Canada and the USA). It has been a successful treaty, and since the 1970s, polar bear populations have trended upwards. Now, they are cyclical variations in numbers- in some years bear numbers have dropped and Inuit have responded with less hunts. And in some years, they’ve gone up. Polar bears have been kind of dependent on continuous conservation management (which includes hunting). But they’ve been doing a lot better than many other species.

According to the IUCN red list assessments, the polar bear is not endangered. It is not threatened. It has recently been classed as vulnerable- one of the lowest levels of concern around. The reason for this shift to vulnerable, is because it is predicted- not observed- that they will decline in numbers over the next 30-50 years. The prediction is based on forecasted changes to summer ice.

What is actually more concerning, is that about a third of all our amphibian and all our reptile species are under decline. Extinction pressure is not falling on polar bears in the way it is hitting the scaly creatures. The gharial in India has just had their tenuous population of 1000 animals, fall by 10% in one year.

Let me suggest, that the reason polar bears get a lot more attention that other species, is entirely for emotive reasons. There are doubtlessly many amphibian species that are under far greater pressure from climate change than the polar bear. How about talking to some experts on those?

Two Native Skink Photos Brendan Moyle Dec 08

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And today, we have a couple of photos of a female, garden skink.

Not nearly as scary as a crocodile I guess :)

Five Insect Photos Brendan Moyle Dec 07


A slideshow of five insect photographs I’ve taken over the last few years:

Summer Means Cicadas- Photo Brendan Moyle Dec 06

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It’s not exactly feeling like summer at the moment in Auckland, but here’s a taste for what we should be in for :)