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Australian Geographic Magazine Bushfires and Birds Article
The March/April 2020 edition of my ‘Bird Nerd’ column in the wonderful Australian Geographic Magazine is now available. This article is called ‘Fire: Friend and Foe’, and talks about the impacts that bushfires, including the recent devastating 2019/2020 fires in Vic, NSW, Qld and SA, have on birds. Some species need low intensity fires at a certain interval, but high intensity, frequent fires can cause species’ extinctions. Other species, like the Black Kite and Brown Falcon benefit from fire in another way. These raptors feed on insects and small vertebrates that flee the flames. Unfortunately, the Black Kite was incorrectly named in the article but, hey, accidents happen in the heat of battle.
Naturalist’s Guide to Butterflies of Australia (due out August 2020)
All of the writing, image selections, design and proofing has been finished and the book is off to the printers. The expected release date is August 2020, but I will keep you posted. This is the latest book in the Australian ‘Naturalist’s Guide’ series that I have worked on, and the seventh in the last 3 years. The wonderfully talented Rachel Whitlock was my co-author again, and it was such a pleasure to work with her a second time. This book is an easy-to-use identification guide to 301 species/genera of Australian butterflies. As with other books in the series, it features high quality photographs from some of Australia’s (and some international) top nature photographers. Each of these are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habitat and habits. The introduction covers the rise of the butterflies, pests and pollinators, life cycles and illustrations. The book also includes a checklist of all described butterfly species. You can read more about this title on my books page and copies of this and other titles I have worked on in the Naturalist’s Guide series are available from my online store.
Australian Geographic Magazine Bird Names Article
My recent ‘Bird Nerd’ column in the January/Febraury 2020 edition of the awesome Australian Geographic Magazine is now available. This article is called ‘What’s in a Name’, and talks about the naming of wildlife, using the binomial system developed by Swedish Naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 1700s, and how the common names of Australian birds were originally based on the birds of the northern hemisphere that early European naturalists were already familiar with.
Naturalist’s Guide to Insects of Australia (Book Release – August 2019)
Well, it is finally out. The latest book in the ‘Naturalist’s Guide’ series that I have worked on. This time my co-author was the wonderfully talented Rachel Whitlock. This book is an easy-to-use identification guide to the 292 species of insect most commonly seen in Australia. As with other books in the series, it features high quality photographs from some of Australia’s (and some international) top nature photographers. Each of these are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habitat and habits. The introduction covers modern Australian insects, non-insect hexapods and life cycles. The book also includes a checklist of the insect families of Australia, listing the number of genera, species and subspecies in each family. You can read more about this title on my books page and copies of this and other titles I have worked on in the Naturalist’s Guide series are available from my online store.
Australian Geographic Magazine Honeyeaters Article
My third ‘Bird Nerd’ column in the 151st edition of the awesome Australian Geographic Magazine is now available. This article is called ‘On the Brink’, and discusses the plight of Australia’s rarest honeyeater, the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. It also talks about the great work that government and non-for-profit organisations, with the wonderful help of members of the public, are doing to try and save this species from extinction.
Australian Geographic Magazine Bowerbirds Article
My second ‘Bird Nerd’ column in the 150th edition of the awesome Australian Geographic Magazine is now available. This article is called ‘Trash or Treasure?’ and discusses the incredible bower-building activities of the male bowerbirds. Bowers can come in a few different designs and can be a simple arena to the incredibly complex hut-like structures of the maypole bower-builders. The article features Australia’s familiar Satin Bowerbird, which uses bright blue objects as decorations.
Coolangatta Estate Fundraiser for A Taste of Paradise
“Legendary Australian singer-songwriter Shane Howard has performed for former South African President Nelson Mandela and appeared as a guest artist with international stars including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Carole King.
Now the former frontman of iconic Australian band Goanna is coming to Coolangatta Estate at Shoalhaven Heads to help raise much-needed funds for a local farm that is dedicated to helping disadvantaged and at-risk young people.
The Shane Howard Trio will be playing at Coolangatta Estate on Friday, 10 May to support A Taste of Paradise – Tim and Andy Francis’ permaculture and organic farm between Berry and Gerringong that has helped hundreds of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Fundraising Shoalhaven is staging the charity night to help A Taste of Paradise continue its great work with children aged five to 18, who are referred to its day programs by government child welfare workers and welfare agencies. The children spend time on the farm with the animals and the environment, being introduced to new skills while they are mentored and assisted to overcome the difficulties they are encountering in their lives.” (Media Release from Fundraising Shoalhaven)
I am donating one of my limited edition framed images to the fundraiser:
Almost overlooked amongst the bright red flowering gum blossoms, the presence of this Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) in Wollongong Botanic Gardens was betrayed only by its bright blue head and belly [Nikon D300, 135mm, F6.7, 1/180] | © Peter Rowland
Show tickets are now all sold out!
Illawarra Birders – Talk
On Tuesday 2nd April I gave a talk to the Illawarra Birders birdwatching group at the meeting hall in Coniston, NSW. Here is the blurb that this great birding group put up on their site’s calendar: “Speaker Peter Rowland – “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots”. Peter Rowland discusses his research and travels around Australia over the past 25+ years, and how this has they culminated in his latest bird book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots, written in partnership with Chris Farrell and with the invaluable assistance of other field researchers, photographers and designers. The talk will be accompanied by some of the images used in the book, and a short video.“
There was a good crowd on the night and it was wonderful to chat to several of the members in attendance. The group does regular outings and meets once a month in the hall, and they are always happy to welcome new members. I am looking forward to talking again soon. Thank you so much for asking me to attend.
I will post a couple of short videos from the night on my YouTube channel soon…
Walter Boles (Former ‘Bird Guy’ at the Australian Museum) – Interview
Walter Boles, former curator and scientific officer of the ornithology department at the Australian Museum, chats with me about his involvement in the re-discovery of the long lost Night Parrot (Australia’s most elusive parrot), which had not been recorded for almost 80 years. Walter also talks about the identification and naming of one of Australia’s last new bird species, the Eungella Honeyeater, in 1983, and also gives some insights into Australian bird taxonomy and his illustrious career at the Australian Museum. I have known Walter since 1983, when I was placed at the museum by my school for work experience, and we have been friends ever since.
Australian Geographic Magazine Shorebirds Article
My first of (hopefully) many regular articles for my ‘Bird Nerd’ column in the awesome Australian Geographic Magazine is now available. This article is called ‘A Shore Thing’ and is about shorebird and human interactions on our beaches and the shores of our wetlands. It talks about Australia’s resident breeding species and the many migratory species that visit Australia each year. The article highlights some of the dangers that these amazing birds face and gives some advice about how we can protect them.
Interview with Australian Music Icon – Shane Howard
After the (official) book launch of Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots at BLARNEY BOOKS & ART in Port Fairy, I took a few minutes to interview our very special guest Shane Howard, one of Australia’s true music icons and passionate social and environmental advocate. Shane and his band Goanna rose to international prominence in 1982 with their legendary song ‘Solid Rock’ from the incredible album ‘Spirit of Place’.
Shane has had a long and illustrious career, with 3 albums with Goanna, prior to his 13 albums as a solo artist since the mid 1980s. He is constantly working, touring throughout Australia (as well as overseas) and writing great songs!
In this 15 minute chat Shane shares his passion for the country, its wildlife, the Aboriginal people who have lived here for some 60,000 years, and his home of Killarney, Victoria.
Interview with Wildlife & Landscape Photographer Brian Dean
In this video I chat with fellow wildlife and landscape photographer Brian Dean, who dropped in to spend an evening with me during his travels around Australia. Brian contributed several images to the Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots book that I wrote with fellow author Chris Farrell.
Megaspots Book Launch Eaglesnest Gallery
Following the launch of the Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots book, I held a book signing and photography fundraiser with my co-author, Chris Farrell, at Eagles Nest Gallery, Airey’s Inlet, Victoria. The fundraiser was aimed at raising money for WWF Australia and Birdlife Australia, both of whom kindly endorsed the book and do such great work for Australia’s Wildlife and the habitats in which they live.
Naturalist’s Guide to Frogs of Australia (Book Release – September 2018)
This “easy-to-use identification guide to Australia’s 247 frog species and subspecies” is now out! I had the pleasure of working on this guide with Scott Eipper of Nature 4 You Wildlife Demonstrations. I had worked with Scott on one of my previous titles, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia, and I was delighted to be able to assist Scott with this publication. You can read more about this title on my books page and copies of this and other titles I have worked on in the Naturalist’s Guide series are available from my online store.
Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots (Book Release – August 2018)
After many years of research and a fast-paced 18 months of compiling information, fact checking and tracking down missing images, this labour of love has now hit the shelves. Well, it was supposed to hit the shelves in August, but Australian copies were delayed by a month and did not arrive until late September! Regardless, it was an absolute thrill to get my hands on a copy of this book at the Britain Bird Fair in the United Kingdom in August – personally handed to me by my publisher John Beaufoy (thanks John)!
It was an absolute pleasure to work on this title with Chris Farrell of Chris Farrell Nature Photography and fellow member of the Australia’s Wildlife Group. The third member of Australia’s Wildlife, Aniket Sardana of Focus Nature, was instrumental in the inception of the idea for this book back in 2014 when Aniket and I were travelling around New South Wales on a wildlife photography trip. But the deal was cemented when fellow author Ding Li Yong and I met on a pelagic birdwatching/photography trip off of Kiama, NSW in 2016. Ding Li was finishing his book on the 100 Best Birdwatching Sites in South-east Asia, which was to be published by John Beaufoy and he introduced me to John a short time later and the rest, as they say, is history!
You can read more about this title on my books page and copies of this are available from my online store.
Naturalist’s Guide to Dangerous Creatures of Australia (Book Release – August 2018)
I have had the great pleasure of working on this guide with Scott Eipper of Nature 4 You Wildlife Demonstrations. Scott has been a great help on some of my previous books, donating some of his wonderful images and reviewing sections of text for accuracy, so I was delighted when Scott agreed to work with me on this publication.
Overall this was a very interesting and exciting book to work on. I was asked to consider doing this title by my publisher John Beaufoy and jumped at the chance. Australia has a reputation of having more than its fair share of dangerous creatures, but how dangerous are they really? You only tend to hear about sharks when the attack a swimmer, surfer or scuba diver, Australia’s venomous snakes and spiders are much maligned – only hitting the headlines when there is a fatality, and crocodiles seem to be just waiting under the surface of the water for someone to eat. But are Australia’s animals really out to get you? There are many animals (and plants) that can kill you if you are unaware of the dangers, don’t treat them with respect or place yourself in an unsafe situation. After all, a crocodile will likely eat you if you go into a river that has crocodiles in it, and snakes and spiders will try and bite you if you stand on them, pick them up or try and hit them with a garden rake. Even expert animal handlers, such as the legendary Steve Irwin, who was fatally wounded by a stingray, get bitten or stung when they cross these lines, but bites and stings are much rarer than the media would have you believe.
Coincidentally, I was in England when this book was released and I was sitting in an airport restaurant listening to a group of English people on a nearby table discussing how a friend of their’s in Australia told them that Redback Spiders can jump! No they can’t! Please buy my book, read it, and find out the truth about our animals! You can find this title on my books page and copies of this and other titles I have worked on in the Naturalist’s Guide series are available from my online store.
Britain’s Bird Fair (August 2018)
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit England in 2018. The first part of the trip was work-related – meeting publishers, catching up with photographers and fellow authors, and attending the British Bird Fair to launch my new bird book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots. Well, the intent was to launch the book, but I had not seen it yet and the publisher, John Beaufoy, had not received copies of it when I met him for lunch a few days before the fair. Oh well, it was still going to be a great opportunity to network with fellow birders, tour operators, authors and wildlife photographers.
I spent the first day wondering around the fair. It is HUGE! After a great day exploring the fair and the grounds at Rutland, where the fair is held, I managed to catch up with my publisher (John) and his associate Rosemary, with whom I had conversed over email on many, many, many occasions. It was great to meet her at long last. I had another surprise install too – John had a ‘hot off the press’ copy of the Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots book!
After years of hard work, it was awesome to get all of those pictures, words, maps, gps co-ordinates and checklists all printed and bound and in my hand. It was perfect timing too as my good friend, and fellow wildlife photographer Aniket Sardana was at the fair. Aniket not only contributed some of his images to this book (and others I have done), but was a major influence behind the book’s hatching.
I spent two days at the bird fair, it was great, and I am keen to go back again soon.