Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perth rainfall figures

There goes June and a ripper month it was for local rainfall. We all knew it'd be high and the Water Corp figures show how good, with 171.4mm just shy of the 175.7mm average for the month. Nonetheless, we're still a good 100mm short of what we had this time last year Jan' to June, so who knows how it will pan out over the next couple of months. Guess they'll still have to crack on with the de'sal' plants and continue mucking around with aquifers. Oh, and let's not forget about clearing more bush for the sardine can suburbs to house the expanding population ... what water crisis ?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frog Pond update...

Despite some decent rains these past few weeks, attempts to vegetate around the frog pond have met with mixed success. Thanks to Adam (fellow CLM student and environmental peace activist),we've had some ferns, bullrushes and some sort of water lilly species introduced, but it's really only the lilly that has taken with new shoots appearing. The Austrostipa grass I introduced some weeks back has taken with several new shoots already up and away.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cert IV monitor Biodiversity

Having wrapped up Cert II in Conservation & Land Management, I've just signed on for Cert III which gets under way in another 3 weeks time. In the meantime however, the powers that be have allowed me to have a crack at the Cert IV level, Monitor Biodiversity, assignment. I've actually spent about a week or more in the planning and preparation stages for this one, but this morning headed out to Craigie Bush Reserve to get the survey and data sorted. I've titled my project - "An investigation into the endemic plant communities of the Quindalup Dunes region of Craigie Bush Reserve."
As can be seen in the photo above, I dragged fellow CLM student, Adam Ward, along to help out with this one (I'm the good looking one of the right, by the way). Er, anyway, after a morning spent setting up a 30M transect with mini quadrats and then a full size 10M X 10M quadrat, we set up another 10M x 10M quadrat in a Quondong thicket because I've been keen to calculate density figures within an area that visually had a high concentration of Santalum acuminatum (Quondong) trees. Over the next few weeks I'll be piecing all of the information together to investigate Genera and species diversity, density, foliage protective cover and adding in some Braun-Blanquet Cover Abundance Scale. There was another section of the Quindalup Dunes region that I was going to look at, but the Water Authority who supposedly own that piece of land won't reply to me in a positive manner. Maybe they think I'll find some rare species that'll stop them squirting water back into the aquifer ... :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Native Wildflower Photography, Getty Images and IRS

Photography of native Western Australian wildflowers has long been one of my specialties and I had a great rapport going with Garden Picture Library (GPL) in the UK. The recent purchase of Photolibrary (and thus GPL) by Getty Images has thrown something of a spanner in the works however.
It's not that I have an issue with Getty's 50% commission, as sales volume would probably cover that. Getty being the big giant with tentacles in markets all over the place.
No, my issue is that in order to avoid being slugged 30% on any sales by the US tax department (yes, even as a non-US citizen), I have to apply for a US tax department ITN, in order to complete a US tax department form W8-BEN or something.
Now I've made inquiries about this all before and there are other non-USA photographers whose experiences in this area make having your teeth drilled without anesthetic by a road drill a rather pleasant endevour.
I tried to ring the US consulate here in Perth this afternoon and after about five menus and press 1, then press 5 etc, I was given a Sydney number to ring.
I also know that documents have to be authenticated and I know that others have had original documents lost by the US tax department while trying to jump through hurdles with this.
No, instead I approached another UK specialty library this afternoon and had an initially positive first encounter.
The drama now will be whether Getty releases my images from GPL so that I can begin marketing them and the new ones ASAP.
I just find it so frustrating that there is a bureaucracy level in the USA that believes it can control the rest of the world - and take 30% of any money owed to me from stock sales.
Thank goodness the UK tax department doesn't enforce a system whereby Alamy - or any other UK library - has to deduct 30% of earnings even for non-UK citizens.
Maybe if Australia had had a war of independence from the Brits the situation might be different.
Last comment very much tongue in cheek :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Joondalup Community Coast Care Planting

The Joondalup Community Coast Care group are very busy with planting at the moment and I went out this morning to get involved. Spent a few hours planting Spinifex longifolius, as well as what looked like a Scaevola genera and Olearia axillaris as well as some others.
Our Cert II CLM class will be back in there this coming week to plant more.

The 100% Club !

Had another plant ID test for Cert II recognise plants this week just gone and again I scored 100% - as did another 5 students in the class which is excellent to see. About time some of the rest of them lifted their game :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stylidium trigger plants

One of the more fascinating groups of endemic Western Australian plants are the Stylidium trigger plants. Here's an image of Stylidium repens captured just the other day while out hunting around. As with many endemic plants, it'd be near impossible to make these captures without my trusty 90mm Tamron Macro.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Planting Western Australian Natives

Spent this morning with the Friends of Maritana Park, helping to plant about 200 rootstock of mainly Calothamnus quadrifidus, Melaleuca systena as well as Scaevola, Austrostipa and some other Genus. There were a few Daviesia in the mix too. Maritana Park is a small area in Kallaroo and is dominated by Acacia saligna and Melaleuca systena. There's a lot of flowering Acanthocarpus preisii in there at the moment too, as well as plenty of Geraldton Carnation Weed (Euphorbia terracina)and other nasties. Maritana is also an important reserve for the Graceful Sun Moth (Synemon gratiosa). The local friends group do a good job in there and have had successful plantings in the past. Weeding is an on-going struggle though, as it is for many friends groups and spraying isn't allowed in this reserve. Surprisingly, I was told that there are no orchids in Maritana. I might have to investigate further and try to dispel this over the coming months. Here's hoping anyway !

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to build a frog pond ... or not.

Something that we've wanted to do on the home front for a long time, is to build a frog pond. And although we've had a pond liner lying around for months, it's been one of those projects that never seemed to get going. Well, we finally made a start, the liner was dug in a few weeks back, the recent rains have filled it up and my search for some endemic grasses today resulted in a couple of mark downs from Bunnings. I would have liked some Schoenus grandiflorus or Austrostipa genus, but all I scored was two different species of Lomandra. I haven't had the courage to investigate wether they are a WA species or from over east. Terrible for a CLM student I know, but we'll try to make up for it next time around. The goal now is to get a nice big granite rock in there to accompany the Eucalyptus log I found today. Oh, and the above photo was taken by wonderful daughter, Esther.

Fencing for Dummies

Fencing ?
No, not the Olympic sport involving pointy implements and lots of poking. Rather, a key means by which nature and conservation reserves can be protected. We've been doing a fair bit of fencing these last few weeks as part of the on-going Cert II Conservation & land management studies and this week it was all about strainer assemblies. That wire strainer device is a shocker though, surely someone has come up with something more ergonomic by now ?