Alien Abduction Esapee!

Well I was thinking of this as an excuse for my absence, or maybe I could claim amnesia, but the truth is, I have been busy and the real truth is I have been just plain SLACK!
Wildlife season has been much longer and more intense this year. Lots of out of season bubs and the lounge room still had bats in it at the end of April not to mention the hungry mob in the flight aviary all of which consumed about 10kg of fruit daily.

We took a "break" from wildlife for 2 months. Now when I say a break, I mean off the phone roster and no new animals. We still had the existing lot which were in various stages leading up to release, and as one of the Trauma Response team I still got the 2am call to road trauma animals.

So what did we do with all our free time? - lie in the beach? sit in the sun drinking lates? Not-on-your-nelly! We pulled up all the old carpet in the house and replaced it with laminate flooring. What a difference!
Now I should tell you that there is probably no substance in the country that has not, as some stage been spilled on our carpet. Coffee, wine, mud from the Kelpie Express, bat pee, possum poop, duck droppings, crumbs - oh you get the idea. Now I did try to keep the carpet clean, firstly with my old trusty Hoover and finally with the Dyson which valiantly tried to remove all the dirt (and the nails in the floor underneath as well) but a requiem mass was what the carpet really needed and so its wish was granted.

Only problem is, like all makeovers, a lot of the furniture now needs a makeover as well. Next place.

My Shop


The Cassowary File

I normally work with plain old clear glass, but I secretly lust after the lovely shiny colour variety, but alas my pockets are deep and my arm short.
So I am trying some locally made glass enamel.
Not really knowing the effects I will get from different thickness and strengths of the glass enamel, I treated this as a painting exercise. The FastBright colours come in a pre-mixed form and have been diluted with water. Firing range is 590 c - 830 c
The glass is 8mm clear float.

Cassowary unfired.

After the firing.
Schedule: 250 C @ 240 dph
650 C @ 400 dph
650 C held for 10 minutes
Cool to room temp
The colours have not changed greatly with the firing with a satin finish. Higher temperatures may yield a glossier finish. (Next project)

Wildlife and Cats

Don't get me wrong, I like cats.
I think they are graceful enchanting creatures, it's the bloody irresponsible owners that are the problem. When someone acquires a dog, they keep them in a fenced yard. A budgie or a guinea pig is kept safe in a cage. Why is it then, that a vast majority of cat owners think that it is ok for their moggie to roam at will? Apart from the danger to their cat from, roads, snakes and here in Queensland the deadly paralysis tick, these un-confined cats kill and maim thousands of native wildlife every year.
Case in point.

A juvenile Northern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus) arrived this morning after being found huddled in a carport.
Examination revealed 5 large lacerations and area of torn skin the result of being attacked at night by someones loose cat.

Here he is sleeping off the sedation with his wounds dressed.
Off to the vet tomorrow for antibiotics. Lots of TLC and with luck this little one can go back to his wild life.

As for the owner of said cat . . . . .is it uncharitable to wish him or her, bad karma?


I Love Animals She Said......

Then why have I been called back to this woman's house for the same reason?

The PanelLift garage door installed at her house has a raising mechanism in the form of a fine steel cable rotating around a drum. The rear of her garage is not sealed and so Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) use the garage as a daytime sleeping area. The ideal place to sleep is on top of the brick pillars adjacent to the lifting mechanism.
On August 29 2004 I was called to extract a female possum and her joey from the mechanism.
The result was a crushed hind leg on the female and the amputation of the tip of the tail on the baby.
Mum was euthanased and the joey raised, and being able to cope with the loss of the tail tip, was ultimately released.
At the time the resident of the house agreed to have her son (the landlord) install some simple lengths of timber to exclude the possums from the garage so this would not happen again. I love animals, she said.

Obviously her love was short term as no exluding had been undertaken and this time a small just out of pouch joey had both back legs crushed by the mechanism.

If you love animals lady ..... PROVE IT!


Kingfisher King

This season we have had 35 kingfisher chicks come in to care - all of them due to total clear felling slash-and-burn of everything for another housing development.
And just to rub salt into the wound, the developer makes $$$$. The plant operator makes $$$ clearing,
the wildlife spotter/catcher gets paid and the wildlife rehabilitator who gets the results of the development gets??????....... that's right not a red cent, not a brass razoo, no support whatever!
So why do it? - because doing nothing is not an option.

So meet some of the guests

And some more. . .

They are Sacred Kingfishers, (Todiramphus sancta) spikey feathers with spikey personalities to match. Favourite ocupation eating, oh and squabling.
All have recently been released back to the wild.


Into the world of Mould Making!

This is a series of hanging light-catchers made for Wildcare Australia, a wildlife rehabilitation organisation.
As they are a fundraiser, I need to be able to punch them out quickly and easily.

Have made an alumina hydrate/plaster 'hump' mould. ie the mould is laid on a textured sand bed and the 8mm float glass slumped over the mould.
I feel that I can probable get several firings from the mould with careful handling.

With the Humpback whale, the fins and flukes broke off when the mould was removed from the RTV master.

The problem with the hump mould is that there is not enough thickness to prevent cracking, and not enough depth to easily introduce reinforcement. I also think a combination of mould fragility at slumping temperature and the movement of glass causes the cracking as some of the fired moulds have clearly moved with the glass. The green strength, or lack of, contributed to problems removing the mould from the master.
Fired another batch with various reinforcements. Used fibreglass and aluminium insect screen mesh and linked paper clips. In addition I added 10% cement to improve green strength.These reinforced 10% cement moulds fared better and survived 2 firings. Further research into mould mixes needed.


What Christmas Bird is That?

"I have found this waterbird" the lady on the other end of the phone, says, "I'm not really sure what it is, although I'm pretty good at identifying birds, but I've never seen one like this before."
A few questions and we establish that it is white, has yellow legs and a 'fairly long' yellow beak. (I'm thinking cattle egret)
On arrival we open the box and lo-and-behold it's a
white leghorn chicken complete with wattle and comb!