Dale's Big Year Challenge 2022

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dwatsonbb
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Thanks Abby and Tommy. 

I think I mentioned last year, Pelagics are my new passion, and I am just now beginning to learn to shoot in manual mode on the boat, so far all of these have been in "shutter priority". Maybe in the next day or so, can again try and catch-up on my processing (3 full days behind with 3 more days out planned ove the next couple of weeks). Don't expect too much new, but hopefully some nice upgrades.

Mrs Dale has made a full recovery, thanks for asking, Mr Dale has avoided COVID totally, despite having contact on a daily basis for a month or 2 (PPE in combo with my immunity has kept me safe).

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

TommyGee
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dwatsonbb wrote:

Mrs Dale has made a full recovery, thanks for asking, Mr Dale has avoided COVID totally, despite having contact on a daily basis for a month or 2 (PPE in combo with my immunity has kept me safe).

Glad to hear it :) our household has copped a fair whack that way, but we keep soldiering on. Not a lot more you can do these days.

sue818
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Pleased to hear that Mrs Dale is now better and that Mr Dale is still OK. Hope your household is now better, Tommy. Stay safe, friends.

dwatsonbb
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Thanks. I know some families have had more than their fair share. Don't think we are done with it yet and glad so far, we here are all ok.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
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Finally got a few to put in, but there will be more, I promise.

128. Crescent Honeyeater.

Crescent Honeyeater (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Crescent Honeyeater (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

129. Hooded Plover - cuteness overload.

Hooded Plover (Thinornis cucullatus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Hooded Plover (Thinornis cucullatus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Hooded Plover (Thinornis cucullatus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

And a couple of extras!

36. Dusky Robin (endemic)

Dusky Robin (Melanodryas vittata) by Dale Watson, on FlickrDusky Robin (Melanodryas vittata) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

112. Flame Robin - before this year I had only ever photgraphed once, now I see them almost everywhere - It is winter so they have moved more coastal, expect they will return to higher altitude soon. Early morning sunlight, and different angles changed the colour scheme quite a lot.

Flame Robin (Petroica phoenicea) by Dale Watson, on FlickrFlame Robin (Petroica phoenicea) by Dale Watson, on FlickrFlame Robin (Petroica phoenicea) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

54. Scarlet Robin - Mr and Mrs.

Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) by Dale Watson, on FlickrScarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

99. New Holland Honeyeater - like the whole feel to this one.

New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

52. Common Bronzewing.

Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

85. Australian Shelduck - well because I like the reflection - male and female.

Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) by Dale Watson, on FlickrAustralian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

8. Pacific Gull - adult and immature/juvenile

Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrPacific Gull (Larus pacificus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

108. Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) by Dale Watson, on FlickrYellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

39. Brown Thornbill.

Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

37. Green Rosella  endemic - fight was on, will be more over in best photos shortly.

Green Rosella (Platycercus caledonicus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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Wow, Dale... Flame Robins and Hooded Plovers... that is cuteness overload and some great pictures.

dwatsonbb
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Thanks again Sue.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
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Pelagic time - 21st August - only 1 new but a couple of extras. The WBSE have been putting on a show, so likley you will see at least one from each Pelagic (hope your not bored with them).

130. Providence Petrel, there will be more, maybe better as I work may way through my recent trips.

Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

113. Brown Skua - some great close passes, and in my opinion some better photos.

Brown Skua (Catharacta antarctica) by Dale Watson, on FlickrBrown Skua (Catharacta antarctica) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

68.  Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

5. White-chinned Petrel - this bird was interesting in that the "white chin" is much more extensive than usual, and it shows some partial leucism. The experts believe this may be an Indian Ocean bird (appearently their chins ore more pronounced).

White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis) by Dale Watson, on FlickrWhite-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

70. Shy Albatross - a lovely young bird showing they Grey bill with a dark tip.

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

31. White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

And finally bird of the day - a pod of Long-finned Pilot Whales - not great photos, but a fril to see up close.

Thalasseus bergii by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
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28th August - another Pelagic 2 of 4 in 3 weekends YAY makes up for a few cancelled! A few new birds, and some old faves.

131. Northern Royal Albatross - fact sheet does not separate Northern and Southern.

Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) by Dale Watson, on FlickrNorthern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

132. Soft-plumage Petrel - several nice passes, hard to get good photos, these are somewhat cropped.

Soft-plumaged Petrel (Pterodroma mollis) by Dale Watson, on FlickrSoft-plumaged Petrel (Pterodroma mollis) by Dale Watson, on FlickrSoft-plumaged Petrel (Pterodroma mollis) by Dale Watson, on FlickrSoft-plumaged Petrel (Pterodroma mollis) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

A few extras.

7. Fairy Prion so small and fast moving.

Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

78. Northern Giant Petrel - this one is apparently older, note light colour eye and plumage. Hung around for several hours having a decent amount of food.

Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

115. Cape Petrel - one of my favourite smaller petrels.

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

8. Pacific Gull - love this shot, was out-numbered by a lots of Kelp Gulls, but was quite vocal. 2nd photo shows Kelp Gulls flanking the Pacific.

Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrPacific Gull (Larus pacificus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

41. Kelp Gull - this one not quite in full adult plumage - still lacking red on bill, mottled feathers on chest and retains the black bar on the tail.

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

4. Black-browed Albatross.

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Again some non birdy visitors - Australian Fur Seal (no fact sheet) I think? Mammals are not my thing really.

Australian Fur Seal by Dale Watson, on FlickrAustralian Fur Seal by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

In between Pelagics, I managed a couple of pics of an endemic.

33. Yellow Wattlebird, showing the wattles beautifully.

Yellow Wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa) by Dale Watson, on FlickrYellow Wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Thats it for today, might be back tomorrow with the next instalment.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
sue818's picture

Wow, love those pelagic birds... favourites? Maybe Cape Petrel, White-chinned Petrel (interesting bird) & the Brown Skua. Then you add Pilot Whales! Looking forward to more. I love an ID challenge but pelagics take to another level. Well done.

michaelrt71_1
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Awesome collection, Dale! Really like the cape petrel shot, and those pilot whales are pretty special. Is that unusual down there?

dwatsonbb
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Thanks guys.

Sue, I leave the ID to the experts mostly, although I have learnt a lot. Sometimes need to check the eBird list to confirm my ID for posting photos.

Michael, whales are a common sight at different times. Hard to capture photos, as by the time you see them they are submerged again and don't always come back. Last 3 trips - Pilot Whales (here) next trip lucky enough to see a Minke in full breach - the sky could clearly be seen under the whole whale - sadly not fast enough and last trip 1 possibly 2 Humpbacks (I just caught a glimpse of the tale before it disappeared. Again the bird experts have also developed ID skills with cetaceans.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

AbbyGrace
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Loving these Dale! Wow thats rather special to see Long-finned Pilot Whales. 

karentwemlow
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Wow Dale, fantastic shots from your last pelagic, and such cool bonus pics of the pilot whales and fur seals :-)

Alex Rogers
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Wow, Dale, your photography has come on so much - what a treat to go through all these. I love all the pelagics, particularly the White-chinned & Cape Petrel shots - such different birds, and I love the setting (island in background). But the robins were my favourites - such glorious birds, and well captured indeed. 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Thanks all. Nice to see your back Alex, and looking forward to your photos as well. Yes my photography has improved, better gear, more practice and lots of study. But I must say, it appears we are all improving our craft, there are some amazing photos being posted. Again, it is important to remember we are more about sharing our experiences and encouraging others than who takes the best photo.

Finally shooting in manual - only use autofocus and auto white balance. Still blowing whites mostly, but am studying white balance techniques to hopefully improve there to. Occasionally revert back to Shutter priority if conditions are hard to judge. My photos are mainly for me, but I do like it when others can enjoy them also.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
sue818's picture

I agree with all of that, Dale... great to see everyone's photos and their stories make it so interesting. I am reluctant to post so many from a long trip as I realise retirement is an advantage but I encourage people to get out and explore and give it a go. So much to see.

Your manual technique is the same as mine and I still blow whites but try to step it down if a bright bird or conditions. Plenty of photos discarded. I'm thinking of posting a few photos elsewhere (like a croc taking a Magpie Goose) as worth sharing but not appropriate here yet I'm still a bit hesitant. 

dwatsonbb
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Thanks Sue. I would post that photo (I for one would like to see it), but maybe with a warning in the title. It is after all, nature at its best.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
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Finally catching up, so hopefully today will see me up to date.

Pelagic double header - Sat 10th and Sun 11th September - not alot of new birds, but one special bird (for me anyway). Have included a couple of non pelagic birds seen on this weekend.

133. Arctic Tern - Lifer - only occasionally seen in our southern waters. Horrible EBC heavily cropped. If you look closely you can see the narrow "black trailing edge" on the primaries. 3 shots showing different angles. You may also note the black cap extends all the way forward to the bill (not always diagnostic). Followed by a White-fronted Tern - one of the other birds which could it could be confused with (note lack of trailing edge). Both birds on the same day, sadly overcast and not ideal. The other possibility would be an Antarctic Tern, but again no black trailing edge. Little Tern is not found in Tasmania, that I know of.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) by Dale Watson, on FlickrArctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) by Dale Watson, on FlickrArctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

84. White-fronted Tern.

White-fronted Tern (Sterna striata) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

134. Cape Barron Goose - went looking for another species, but dipped, excited to see these as we drove.

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Dale Watson, on FlickrCape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Dale Watson, on FlickrCape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

135. Common Blackbird - couldn't believe I have not posted yet - anyway this is nicer on a branch than my usual lawn shot.

Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

124. Grey Petrel.

Grey Petrel (Procellaria cinerea) by Dale Watson, on FlickrGrey Petrel (Procellaria cinerea) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

130. Providence Petrel - by far much better photos than my previous attempt.

Providence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri) by Dale Watson, on FlickrProvidence Petrel (Pterodroma solandri) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

69. Buller's Albatross - one of my favourite of the Albies - I have heaps of this bird as it followed very closely to the boat - cropped other birders out of the photo with focal length of 100mm! So close you could almost touch it.

Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

And finally a furry with it's youngster.

Bennett's Wallaby by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Now for my final catchup. Again can't believe I have not posted this little beauty earlier.

136. Striated Pardalote - gathering nesting material. Some photos show the nest hole, but I was a consderable distance away with focal distance of 500mm, with a huge crop. They did not appear bothered by my presence, and I am happy to remove those if you wish.

Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrStriated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrStriated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrStriated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) by Dale Watson, on FlickrStriated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) by Dale Watson, on Flickr

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
sue818's picture

Another wonderful lot, Dale. Gongrats on a lifer! Wow, that Bullers Albatross was close and you got a great shot. Really like the Providence Petrel as well. Love the Striated Pardalotes (showing a nice yellow wing spot unlike my locals)... I've seen them at The Waterworks Reserve. I think my favourite is the Pardalote peeking out of the wall.

You're having a great Big Year and must be way past last year's total already.

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Thanks Sue. The Pardalote shots are from the Waterworks, went looking for the Black-headed Honeyeaters which Danika spotted, again I dipped. Think I will stop trying for them, and maybe will just happen one day.

Last years tally was 113, hoping for 150 this year, not bad when I think Tasmania lists just over 370 species (including rare vagrants and Macquarie Island species) - must locate that list again.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
michaelrt71_1's picture

Fantastic Dale! Really appreciate your pelagic shots now, after attempting the same myself. Looking at your providence petrel, how similar it is to the grey-faced petrel I was told I had seen. 

Adorable pardalote! Is the concern that being close to nesting birds can lead to them abandoning the nest? 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Thanks Michael. Ethical Birding Guidlines discourage photos of nests due to disruption of nesting, and publishing of photos can lead to birds being harassed by other birders, particularly with not so common species.

Grey-faced Petrel are similar to Providence, so much so that they sometimes get called initially as the wrong species, especially with distant views. Providence will be easier to ID, if you can get a good underwing view, showing the light/white colour, some refer to as "the landing lights", which I think can be seen in my photos above.

I am lucky enough to have been out with some very experienced birders, and they soon get them right. Me, I am still a beginner, and rely on the experts to provide ID.

My pain is coming home to an ebird list, and trying to match photos to species seen.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

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