The oil crunch

The ABC’s Catalyst is a regular part of my (limited) TV viewing and last night’s programme was exceptionally good, tackling an important subject intelligently and entertainingly.

The topic? Peak Oil, the idea that global oil production has to decline after all the easily-extractable oil is exploited. Some experts think the peak was in 2006, others claim we haven’t reached it yet, but the consequences are going to be challenging either way: much higher oil prices forcing enormous economic, and hence social, changes. (Did someone say ‘collapse’?) Continue reading “The oil crunch”

The very popular shrub

Black wasp on flowering shrub
Black wasp on the very popular shrub

I was walking down the roadway to the old car-ferry terminal (people who know Maggie Island will know where I mean, but it isn’t really important) and stopped at this bush because it was alive with a huge variety of insects. I stood there, snapping away as fast as I could aim the camera, and got pictures of:
Wasps: this one, another black-winged one with a yellow head, one with orange wings and legs and a black abdomen, one with orange wings and black-and-orange abdomen, and at least two black wasps with clear wings.
Butterflies: Common Eggfly, Eastern Brown Crow (Euploea tulliolus), a Pierid (yellow) I haven’t identified, and Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope)
Others: Carpenter bee, a large hairy grey fly, and a hover-fly with unusual black-banded wings. Continue reading “The very popular shrub”

Glasswing butterflies

Glasswing butterfly feeding on yellow flower
Glasswing butterfly, Acraea andromacha

Another Magnetic Island resident, the Glasswing is a butterfly I have seen in bushland an hour’s drive inland from Townsville but not in the city itself. The translucent wings are unusual (I only know one similar butterfly, the Clearwing Swallowtail) and attractive.
More pics on Flickr, here and nearby.

A spectacular grasshopper

Blue and yellow grasshopper
Queensland Spotted Pyrgomorph, Greyacris profundesulcata

I have never seen these on the mainland but there were obviously quite a lot of them on Magnetic Island. This one (with a lot of friends and relations) was near the old car ferry terminal at Arcadia, and I saw another at Picnic Bay.

I have seen photos of some beautifully coloured grasshoppers from the far north and west of Australia (e.g. Orange grasshopper and Litchfield’s Grasshopper, Kakadu) but I never realised that we had anything comparable here.

I would say this guy made my day, except that it was already a great day – sunshine, beaches and a long weekend ahead of us … when life is this good we should notice and remember it.

Blue and yellow spotted grasshopper
Another view