The visitors

10 06 2017

Recently I noticed some new faces – a twittering flock of tiny black-winged swallows, perhaps arrived back from the South China Seas from their wintering grounds, circling amid the neon signs of Aberdeen, and nesting under the shophouse eaves.

I also saw a strange creature in the canal – a jellyfish, literally a creature from another world. It was a huge white billowing creature, larger than a human head, pulsing silently upstream at high tide where the canal empties into the sea.

The interlopers

28 05 2017


On my way home from work one day this week I heard a raucous, strident noise and looked up to the skies above the Aberdeen harbour where a flock of feral cockatoos were screeching across the straits from Ap Lei Chau, five or six of them. As with the parrots of Kowloon park they are an exotic species, presumably a band of escapees, who have now made themselves firmly at home in Hong Kong.

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I also noticed another exotic species this week. The city’s “Cotton trees” dropped their seedpods to disperse clouds of snow-like white fluffy material over streets like “Cotton Drive” and “Cotton Tree Road.” Although firmly entrenched in the city, the species (also known as ‘kapok’) is originally from Central America.

New Interpretation of the Paradoxical World

8 04 2017

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Currently on show at Bangkok’s Nova gallery,  Narissara Pianwimungsa’s New Interpretation of the Paradoxical World.

Bird ivory

9 03 2017

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6 03 2017

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Blood pheasants

15 01 2017

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Night stirrings

4 01 2017

As a child, I remember camping out on our dining room floor on hot Summer nights, the back doors to the garden thrown open, lying in wait for a dim shape to emerge from the backyard foliage: possums on the prowl for food. Both common species of Australian possum are commonplace in Melbourne, from the smelly, hissing larger brushtail possums to the agile little ringtails, often seen scurrying along power lines.


But there are other creatures of the Melbourne night, almost as common, which I have never glimpsed. The city is, surprisingly, sometimes said to be the world’s urban fox capital. Researchers recently discovered that in the suburb of Port Melbourne for instance, the creatures live at a density of up to 20 animals per square kilometre – and yet they are invisible during the day and almost as invisible at night.


Jenny Brompton, Sea Country Spirits at the Ian Potter Centre for Australian Art

Another tribe of foxes is more visible though,  the flying foxes – a colloquial name for the squawking fruit bats with a wingspan of up to one metre – which migrate into the city in the warmer months. They provide a surreal and beautiful spectacle, streaming out of treetops at Studley Park in Kew at sundown to fan out in the search for food, over the river and the inner Eastern suburbs. I loved to watch them. It is a sight both beautiful and awe-inspiring.