04th Aug 2010 09:48 PM
|I have just added some further thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the eclipsazoology page.|
25th Jun 2010 08:57 AM
|Is there a white Tasmanian tiger in these photographs?|
I obtained these images in 2005 but have been assured they have been around for years longer.
What do you think they show?
Blue sparrow in Canada
22nd Jun 2010 10:43 AM
|Readers might recall last year that 3 different bird species were reported from Australia all sporting unusual blue colouration: the Australian White Ibis, Little Corella and House Sparrow.|
A reader has just sent through pics of another blue sparrow - this time from Canada.
Where am I?
25th May 2010 10:52 PM
|First, pictured to the left is a new species discovery from Papua: the world's smallest macropod (or kangaroo / wallaby). This goes along with other fantastic creatures including a "pinnochio" frog (having a long nose), giant woolly rat, tree mouse, blossom bat and others.|
But where am I?
In a nutshell, after filming Monster Quest in February 2009 I looked further into trail camera technology and started a business selling trail cameras to Australia, New Zealand, the UK (and others). This has proved so successful that it consumes a fair amount of time and I now have 1 member of staff assisting.
Further, I am involved in some much-needed renovations at my home which chews up what little time remains.
Throughout the 5 year life of Where Light Meets Dark I have debated whether to continue with this Newswatch column on the homepage. Don't get me wrong - I love reading nothing better in the news than new species reports and sightings of big cats and other mystery critters, and helping spread environment and conservation news. However, at the end of the day my new business venture, as well as full time work, helps pay the bills but spending time writing news posts does not.
Therefore, I have finally decided to no longer support news articles on Where Light Meets Dark. Instead, this site will focus only on what I can uniquely contribute which is new information into discussions on new species, mystery animals and the like.
At some point I hope to rebuild the site using a new back-end system but I don't see that happening any time soon. In any case, the new format for WLMD is planned to include:
* My own trek reports in search of the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger), eastern quolls and any other field work I do with trail cameras
* The Animal Tracks Library which I have started
* The interactive thylacine sightings map and global tour
* And of course, the staple: articles which examine the evidence for rare fauna
Some regular readers will know that I collaborate with Debbie Hynes who operates the website thylacoleo.com. Together we built up the mainland (Tasmanian) devils website and share insights into using trail cameras for fauna surveys.
Debbie also hosts an online discussion forum in which I take part. When I see great news like the new kangaroo species shown above, then if no-one else has already posted it, you'll find me sharing these snippets on Debbie's forum.
You can visit the forum by clicking "Thylacoleo Forum" on Debbie's site (in the menu here: http://www.thylacoleo.com/).
What about your Tassie trek?
Okay, okay - what's new on the Tassie trek front?
Regulars may know that in early 2009 Michael and I discovered a footprint which matches that expected of the Tasmanian tiger. The print was shown in the Monster Quest episode "Isle of the Lost Tiger".
My summary regarding this print is that the observable features of the print and its surrounds leads me to conclude the print best matches that expected of a large thylacine. I have to acknowledge that statistically - regardless of whether the thylacine survives or is extinct - the most likely cause of this print is that it was created by a wombat and by some remarkable co-incidence completely resembles a thylacine print.
If you take "Tigerman's" viewpoint, and begin with the premise that the thylacine is not extinct, then you would have to conclude this is a thylacine print (in my opinion).
Two early reports on the thylacine suggest the species may have been migratory. In one report a farmer stated that at the same time every year, to within a few days of the April full moon, a family of thylacines would move through his property and take the same number of sheep at the same end of the same paddock.
A second report alleges that every winter the thylacines would come down out of the mountains off one tier, then move across the valley during winter and head up into the mountains along another tier, only to come back down the first tier after summer was over.
For this reason we deployed a half dozen cameras in the vicinity of where we found this print. During that deployment I found an additional 5 interesting prints. Three were the shape of a thylacine forefoot, and 2 were the shape of a thylacine hind foot (i.e. being very long). The context was that there was a fallen branch against which a thylacine might have reared, hence producing the less common long hind foot prints.
One reader provided the excellent suggestion that a hare or rabbit may also have created this print pattern, and the smaller size of the prints (in comparison with the first print we found) supports this possibility also. Further, these 5 new prints were less distinct as the mud was even softer than for our first print.
In May 2009 we were prevented from reaching some of our cameras due to ongoing rain in Tasmania raising the levels of nearly every creek and river. I had hoped to return to collect these cameras before now, but due to it being winter, will be unable to collect them until spring at the earliest (September).
At least we were able to deploy them 2 months before the date on which we found our initial print. If that print was made by a thylacine, and if thylacines are migratory, then this camera deployment is possibly our best hope of obtaining solid evidence of the species' survival.
And so, it's not really "goodbye" from me, but yes - there will be far less frequent activity on the WLMD website. Once a few things settle down regarding work and renovations, I should be able to continue working on those areas of the site listed above.
Until then, maybe I can catch you at the thylacoleo forum?
Enhanced Doyle footage analysed
27th Jan 2010 10:09 AM
|I have received an enhanced copy of the Doyle footage of an alleged thylacine, taken in South Australia in 1973.|
Seven frames are compared with frames from David Fleay's 1933 footage of a thylacine. Key diagnostic features including the hind foot length, hindquarters, tail and chest depth are compared.
November trek summary - thylacine expedition
21st Dec 2009 05:52 AM
|At last, the first results from Novembers trek to Tasmania in search of the thylacine are online.|
With apologies for the delay (holding down 3 different jobs at present), you can now read the summary of results and view 46 trip photos with detailed notes about the different stages of the trek.
Expedition Photo Results
30th Oct 2009 06:30 AM
|The first photos from the camera retrieved by Michael yesterday are here. These were taken by the camera we deployed in May this year.|
One of the more interesting photos was this pair of boxing wallabies. Not content with getting their portrait in the limelight on this homepage, they came back 4 months later for a follow up photo-shoot!
Name the cameras!
06th Oct 2009 01:28 AM
|The 2009 Tasmanian Tiger Expedition will step into its next phase shortly.|
Earlier this year we discovered a footprint that featured on the Monster Quest episode "Isle of the Lost Tiger".
You have the chance to name one of our cameras which will focus throughout summer on the location where we found this footprint.
Early descriptions of the thylacine hint that the species may have been migratory - and so we are hoping to get in early and catch the tiger - if it was a tiger - in 2010 that we must have missed by just days in 2009!
Big but not big enough
05th Oct 2009 08:06 AM
|In June this year, police constable and dog handler Chris Swallow captured video footage of a large black cat in the UK.|
Where Light Meets Dark conducts an analysis to determine the size, and likely species of the cat.
28th Sep 2009 09:47 AM
|It occurs to me that a comprehensive library of animal tracks might be a useful resource...|
Rare cat caught by camera trap
18th Sep 2009 12:04 AM
|The African Golden Cat has been photographed by a camera trap deep in the Ugandan jungle. Dr Gary Aronsen of Yale University in the US deployed the infrared camera.|
A colleague has worked for years in the same National Park and has seen the species only once. Dr Aronsen says he is aware of only one other published photograph of the African Golden Cat, which was taken in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo: G P Aronsen
Greatest ever UK bird sighting
17th Sep 2009 11:44 PM
|Some have already heralded it as the greatest ever bird sighting in the UK. A tufted puffin makes an appearance at Kent and bird watcher (also known as twitcher) Murray Wright has the photos to prove it.|
Photo: Murray Wright
Mainland Eastern quoll captured 17 years after extinction
17th Sep 2009 11:36 PM
|A news report that has come in today is that 17 years after the accepted mainland extinction date, an Eastern quoll was trapped, photographed and released by a farmer.|
Photo: Andrea Little / Mt Rothwell Sanctuary
21st Aug 2009 09:09 AM
|"Matriarch", "Strange foot" and "Youngster" are the names given to 3 elephants known to live in South Africa's forests and "fynbos country on the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains".|
In the late 1990s the Knysna elephant population was described as functionally extinct. This follows a sad history of their demise. In 1902 there were an estimated 30 to 50 elephants in the main forest. By 1910 the number had sunk to fewer than 20. In 1920 the estimate dropped to single digits at just 7 elephants remaining.
In 1969 - 1970 a survey located 11 elephants and by 1980 the numbers dropped back to just 2 - a cow and a calf.
In 1989 a new calf was discovered. Since the 1990s however, it has been commonly believed that only a lone matriarch has survived.
In 2001, wildlife expert Gareth Patterson found the spoor of 3 elephants. Together with film maker Mark van Wijk he has conducted a search for the world's southerly-most elephant population. The pair has trekked thousands of kilometers and deployed remote cameras in search of their quarry.
On several occasions fresh scats were collected. Out of 35 samples, DNA analysis has shown there to be at least 5 different individuals, one of them a bull.
Other evidence of elephant activity includes the presence of footprints and signs of elephants feeding on the foliage of trees and digging.
Their film, "The Search for the Knysna Elephant" premiers in South Africa on Sunday.
On a personal note, I find it fascinating that the world's largest land mammal might be surviving in a small pocket, isolated from all other populations without any confirmed sighting or record of numbers for so long.
The pair also employed the help of 2 expert trackers in their quest, and the film was "commissioned in partnership by the Natural History Unit Africa and Animal Planet."
Now ... if Animal Planet is reading - I'll have 2 expert trackers, a fleet of cameras and plane tickets to Tasmania please. Thylacine, here we come!
Image: Painting of an African elephant, by Gareth Patterson, from the Kynsna Elephants website