Alex's Small Year 2019

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Alex Rogers
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#90) Australian Reed Warbler

Alex Rogers
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91) Yellow-rumped Thornbill - chased this guy all around a tree for 20 minutes before getting this shot. 

pip-lb
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Wow, that black faced monarch is quite something. Great work! 

Alex Rogers
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Thanks Dale - yes, the work travel certainly does help. I'm off to Warren NSW tomorrow - home of the Macquarie Marshes - we will see if I can slip away for an hour or two of birding :-) 

Cheers Pip - yes, I was so pleased with the Monarch - he was being mobbed by honeyeaters and was flitting all over the place - I had one chance to get a photo, and for once I got a reasonable shot. Getting quicker on the draw!

sue818
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I have not forgotten about posting but wifi unreliable where I am. Came thru Warren on our way, still water in Tiger Bat Wetlands in Warren & a variety of birds but heard Maq Marshes dry. Look out for Spiny- cheeked HE, Weebill, Western Gerygone & Buff-rumped Thornbill. Good luck, signal iffy so hope this goes thru

Alex Rogers
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Thanks Sue. Tiger Bay wetlands were almost completely dry - a couple of sad hides overlooking cracked and dry pans, with only one pool with any water at all and that completely obscured by reeds. Both east & west wetlands dry. However the water treatment plant is still operating and the waste stabilisation ponds were all full and attracting birds from the region- so it was amazingly productive from a birdwatching perspective. I saw 44 species on one short walk, and I think  an experienced birdwatcher could have added another 20, as there were many that I couldn't identify. I added at least 5 new birds to my life list (maybe more once I've reviewed my photos), managed to get a few photos of birds I haven't photographed before, and enjoyed watching all sorts of bird activity - whistling kites hunting, cockatiels nesting, crakes of several dispositions feeding along the shoreline, gigantic flocks of galah leaving roosts at dawn - an awesome birdwatching spot. I'll sort and post photos this weekend. 

Alex Rogers
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OK, finally got around to sorting my Warren photos (funny coincidence that I visited just after Sue) and got a few new birds, and a couple of photos. We had a pretty bad dust storm on day 1 and my site was closed down - I went for a walk in the thick of the storm, fascinating, but please excuse the colour cast in some of the photos! This is my excuse...

Alex Rogers
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And to the birds. 

92) First up is the Spotted Bowerbird - lots of them present

Alex Rogers
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93) Very exciting (for a "new" Australian) to see wild Cockatiels! Had some lovely views of them nesting on dead trees in the water. 

Alex Rogers
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94) Saw 3 new waterbirds including nativehen (not photographed) and two crake. First up was the Australian Spotted Crake - note the undertail for clearest ID contrast with the next bird

Alex Rogers
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95) Baillon's Crake is a much smaller bird - really tiny - and has lovely subtle greys and cinnamon colours. The undertail is also strongly barred - but otherwise could possibly pass for a juvenile Spotted Crake. I saw both birds in mixed company, and had to do some sorting. 

Alex Rogers
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96) Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. I've taken a few photos of these, but never got the face in the light, and it blocks out to pure black - here at last I got a reasonable light on his face. 

Alex Rogers
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97) Pink-eared duck - was super happy to see these, a lovely duck. Unfortunately at the far side of a lake in a dust storm, so photos aren't great. In company with grey teal. 

Alex Rogers
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98) Zebra Finch was entirely new to me. I got really lucky even to identify it- I saw it land, grabbed a single quick shot before even looking at it properly, and it flew off. I only saw it was a lifer on my review of the photo. I guess she counts - but I'd love to see some more. (I love finches)

(As Sue points out, this is a female - so I've corrected gendered references accordingly :-) 

Alex Rogers
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99) Little Friarbirds were everywhere. Kept thinking I'd spotted a Spiny-cheeked honeyeater, and it would be another friarbird. Still, they kept me entertained with their carrying-on and racket. 

Alex Rogers
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100!) How exciting, a century! Have a little Brown Treecreeper then, another lifer for me, and a very obliging poser (albeit at some distance). A prettier bird on second glance than you'd think, and while I have closer crops, I like this photo. 

Alex Rogers
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101) This is a distinct EBC but I'm inclduing it as a lifer for me - a Whiskered Tern. I was really surprised to see a red-beaked tern this far inland - but discovered that he is an inland tern specialising in wetlands. Had a great sighting of him hawking over the wetlands, but very hard to capture on the wing with my gear, and he perched only on the far side of the water. 

Alex Rogers
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To make up for the previous EBC, here is a replacement reed warbler for some shamelessly EBC warblers posted earlier. I finally got a few reed warblers to break cover and pose for me.  

Alex Rogers
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102) And final bird photgraphed on the trip was the White Wing Triller - not the best shot, but he will do until I can take a better pic. 

sue818
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What a great selection, Alex. I love the Cockatiel and the dust storm ... there is one now in Uluru! However, you should take a second look at your Zebra Finch as I believe it is a girl! Warren can be quite rewarding for such a small place. Shame you missed a Spiny-cheeked HE as often there. Looking forward to more. 

Alex Rogers
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Thanks Sue :-) Yes, I'd noted the finch was female when I ID'd it, but captioned it wrong - thanks for that. 

Warren was great, I really enjoyed the birdwatching there. Saw lots of birds that I couldn't photograph (including spiny-cheeked honeyeater, whistling kites, nativehens) as well as quite a few that I couldn't identify (distant waterbirds, several raptors, thornbills and other woodland birds) - so I'd have happily spent a couple more days there (but had to work!)

I think with the drought, overgrazing and over-zealous land clearing that there is a lot of Australia just blowng in the wind right now...

sue818
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Agreed, there is not much to keep the top soil anchored. We are seeing very few birds even raptors & almost no roadkill. Thought you would have realised about the Zebra but others might not so thought it worth a mention. Hope work gets you back to Warren but even the big waterhole at Trangie is dry... close by & usually great.

dwatsonbb
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Congrats on your ton! Some nice photos, Cockateil and Zebra finch in the wild, that's just awesome, only ever seen them caged☹️☹️.

I would be happy with all those photos, thanks for sharing and keepem coming.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Alex Rogers
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Thanks Dale, appreciated :-) 

Next trips are Melbourne (would love to get to Werribee but not sure I'll have any free time) and then Wagga Wagga, where I should be able to get down to the local wetlands for a couple of hours.

My local ponds arent quite as exciting, particularly on a very grey Sunday morning. But I got a few more for the record: 

103) Mallard - I'll have to post a better picture later when I have more sun, this doesn't do his lovely head justice. 

Alex Rogers
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104) Greylag goose, another feral bird living wild all across NSW ponds

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105) Eastern Koel. Not the best shot, they are very elusive and while I'm hearing them call all over at the moment, they prefer to stay deep in the trees where they aren't as easily mobbed. I chased this guy all over the reserve, following a parade of currawongs, magpies and miners as they chased him and his mate off. Doesn't he have the maddest eye? His missus was also in attendance, but I never got a crack at photgraphing her. 

Alex Rogers
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106) Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. A small group of them spent half an hour munching through the banksia cones, quite unafraid of me - but unfortunately the light was awful, and this is as good as I got

Alex Rogers
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I did get one break in the clouds, so here is a bonus pelican on a pole to lift the gloom (and to make up for a previously murky pelican post :-) 

Woko
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And very feral, pip-lb. 

Alex Rogers
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107) Intermediate Egret. Had lovely plumes starting to show

Alex Rogers
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108) and a somewhat unusual shot of a Dusky Moorhen - the chick just peeping out of the nest :-) 

Alex Rogers
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A bonus Bulbul to make up for a poor photo earlier

dwatsonbb
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Again some nice photos, I particularly like the Bulbul, beautiful colours, well captured.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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NIce ones Alex, keep them coming. Great capture of the Eastern Koel as they are elusive and I love the Bulbul.

Alex Rogers
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I was lucky enough to have Friday off in Melbourne, so went for a day trip to Werribee to the Wastern Treatment Plant - my first visit there, and it was a bit overwhelming, really. It was overcast and very windy indeed, so not ideal for birding - and still, I saw more volume of birds than I've seen anywhere outside of Africa. I estimated I could see 300 black swans in one view from the bird hide! (The pic below shows 100 of those). It wasn't a spectacular day for variety of species (wind kept many of the birds sheltering) but I saw 3 lifers and managed to get photos of a few more, even if not the best. Werribee is possibly a better place for a telescope than a camera... I'm sure there were all sorts of birds I missed just because I couldn't see them properly on the other side of a lake or pond. But a great day, and first of many, I hope - looking forward to going back. 

Alex Rogers
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109) White-fronted chat - a completely new bird to me. I confess I thought I'd been photographing a triller, and it was only when I looked on a big screen that I realised I'd caught something completely different! 

Alex Rogers
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It is obviously the season for Bar-Tailed Godwits, as I saw a few in the various ponds

dwatsonbb
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Nice work, thats a good photo of the Chat. Went back to where I saw mine, but unfortunatley they weren't home. 

I might have to go to Werribee when we next visit our daughter in Melbourne.

The wind can be such a pain, not only for the birds, but for us as well.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Alex Rogers
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110) Hoary headed grebes a'plenty, but bobbing away in the distance - didn't get anything more than an EBC shot. 

Alex Rogers
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111) Black-shouldered kite - he posed so beautifully for me, but the light just wasn't playing along

Alex Rogers
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(Not a Whistling) Black kite - another great sighting in very poor light & high winds. But as Sue so kindly pointed out, it is a black kite, not a whistling kite - the yellow on the bill should have tipped me off. I'll need to replace #112

Alex Rogers
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113) Australian Shelducks were new to me as well. Got a good look at them, but they were a long way away.

Alex Rogers
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I was very excited with these shorebirds, thought they were a new species - but actually Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, in fresh juvenile colouring, so looking quite different to the previous sightings and photos. Still, I like the photos and the colours are much more vivid. Shorebirds are quite tricky to ID but I'm starting to get a few reference points. 

Alex Rogers
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(Duplicate - will replace 114) Red-necked Stints w took me some time to identify - I took the approach of photographing everything, and then sorting them out and identifying them later, its going to take me some time to ID them on the fly. 

Alex Rogers
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115) Brown Songlark - a lifer for me as well. Hear them singing away, and eventually one of them was blown into a bush near me :-) 

Alex Rogers
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116) Can't believe it has taken me 116 birds to get to a sparrow! But they are surprising rare now in Sydney - at least outside of the city itself - I can't remember when I last saw one. These sparrows were nesting in some old & abandoned fairy martin nests - while the martins were busily building new nests right nearby. Male on ledge, female in nest. 

Alex Rogers
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I posted some rubbish Whiskered Tern shots earlier - I managed to get a very basic BIF shot of this one. There were hundreds of these guys all over Werribee, on rafts in the water, sheltering on banks, but this crew was hovering and hawking insects in flight along the pond banks - beautiful flyers. 

pip-lb
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Wish i couldve joined you at werribee, a few there i've never seen. Shelducks are my favorite duck, they're pretty common in Victoria. You probably didnt get close enough to appreciate their size. They're a damn big bird. Great work Alex. Thanks.

Alex Rogers
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Would have been fun going with someone else, Pip - next time, I'll give you a shout when I next get a chance. 

Had some local fun this morning, chasing yellow-rumped thornbills around a tree, and trying to photograph martins on the wing - an exercise in frustration if ever there was one. However, I did get a nice shot of of a couple of Little Corella (we'll make them replacement #112) making out on some floodlights.

No Paparazzi!

Lightuningbird
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That's a lot of black swans...never seen that many!

Wimmera mally region, Vic.

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