Danika's Big Year 2021

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dannyka6
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Danika's Big Year 2021

Okay so we're off! 

This year I want to hit that 200 mark now that I have a feel for what is achievable, and I hope that Covid-19 will keep clear of that ambition, although it is already making it difficult in some travel respects. Nevermind, I'll crack on with local birds for now.

I also want to submit uncropped photos as much as possible - this is my new aim. I want to try to get in closer and get better shots this year rather than cropping and losing quality, so we'll see how that goes. I'll mark any photos that I crop. That's just a personal goal.

I have a couple of friends who might like to join at some stage, I hope that's okay?

Looking forward to all the photos, and the stories.

dannyka6
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So after a very lacklustre New Year's Eve I headed out New Year's Day to check out a new spot that I haven't been to before and it's a little ripper! It's called Petty's Dam, it's in Templestowe in Melbourne and it's located between an old apple orchard (Petty's) where volunteers still grow heritage apples, and bushland. It's basically what it says, a pretty full pond with an overgrown hide and you just have to poke around and find little openings where you can spy birds. One side is a clear bank but of course where you can see the birds, they can see you. Anyway, for day one, I got some shots I was happy with, at least for now.

1) Australasian Grebe - there was also a beautiful young one but it wasn't as happy to see me

2) Australasian Swamphen - again there was a cute fluffy baby but it hightailed it away

3) Australian Wood duck pair - I really like this shot, there's something in their pose that strikes me

4) Chestnut Teal - this isn't the best photo and I'll probably replace it, but how cute is this little family??

5) Eurasian Coot - I swear every water bird in this pond had babies, it was the cutest day out!

6) Hardhead - parent and juvenile, not the best photo but you don't see them every day

7) Common Myna - I will replace this, but I seem to mainly see these when I don't have my camera on me!

8) Magpie-lark - I've found these to be surprisingly evasive when I try to get a photo so I'm taking what I can get for now

9) I took the best shot I could into the glary sky of this female Mistletoebird but it took me completely by surprise!! Although they are around I saw them only once or twice last year so this may be my only shot. If anyone wants a better ID I'll put up a cropped shot.

10) Straw-necked Ibis - I really love the love in the feathers of this bird, I'm happy with this shot

11) Wedge-tailed Eagle - I can provide a cropped ID shot if needed but hopefully the classic shape shows you this beautiful bird. Obviously I can hope that I'll get a closer shot this year but wedgies don't come around often, especially in the suburbs so I grabbed what I could

12) White-faced Heron - I'm happy with this flight shot, just missed being a miss by the face being blocked by the weeds, yes!

13) White-winged Chough - doesn't look great up front but look closely and its a baby screaming for food and being fed by a parent

And that's day one!! Time for a nap!

EDIT: on advice, I've gone back and cropped my photos and re-uploaded them for your enjoyment! The White-winged Chough photo didn't crop well so its another photo from the same shoot

dannyka6
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Sadly work interfered with day 2 of 2021, but I got out there again on day 3 and added a couple more birds to my list at Mt Lofty.

14) Grey Fantail - for a first for the year encounter, I was pretty pleased with this although I'll continue to try for the fanned tail shot 

15) White-eared Honeyeater - not a perfect shot but I don't see them often

16) Dusky Woodswallow - a far shot but at least it was sitting for me

And that's day 3.

EDIT: after discussion I have cropped the pictures that I originally used and reuploaded them, same files but more user friendly hopefully

dannyka6
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January 4th was another work day, shame it has to be that way, but on January 5th I was ready for a big adventure! Unfortunately it rained on and off for the entire day so I had to limit myself to a small adventure at the best local I have, Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. Despite the ongoing drizzle I managed to find some good birds and get some decent shots. I think some of the birds were stunned with the amount of rain, the rainbow lorikeets were definitely in hybernation mode and let me get very close up while they just sat there! 

17) Australian Magpie - I love this shot of the adult and juvenile listening, FYI they are listening to a Gang-gang Cockatoo! Obviously they find that sound as odd as I do

18) Australian White Ibis

19) Brown Thornbill - these were everywhere and I took dozens of shots, still could use some work so I'll keep working

20) Dusky Moorhen - checking me out as it swims right by

21) Galah

22) Gang-gang Cockatoo - not a great shot but it has the pair, and how often does one come across gang-gangs??

23) Nankeen Night-Heron - a far shot but I had to grab it while I could

24) Noisy Miner

25) Pacific Black Duck - pretty sure this duck thought it had some bread coming to it when it saw me coming but sorry, nothing doing

26) Rainbow lorikeet - just sat there for a full 5 minutes while I walked around and took shots from all angles

27) Red Wattlebird baby - such a cute puff ball

28) Spotted Dove

29) Superb Fairywren male

30) White-browed Scrubwren - not my best effort but the little birds were being painful

EDIT: I've taken the original files and cropped them, them loaded them up again for your viewing pleasure!

Alex Rogers
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Wow, you are off to a great start! Some great birds. Love the little Wattlebird, Brown Thornbill and Straw-necked Ibis shots :-)

Of course your friends can join, it would be fantastic to have more participants :-) 

dwatsonbb
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30 in 5 days, only 3 of which were birding. Love the variety. Also like your challenging yourself with avoiding the crop. Many birds which would be new for me.

I also like your commentary, with background information around each site.

Thanks for sharing.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Love your pics Danika! And yes what a cute little fluff ball that Red Wattlebird is :-)

dannyka6
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I'm continuing to make hay while the sun shines, as I'm dubious about the covid-19 situation although thankfully we've had zero new cases for the last 2 days so that should put a damper on any lockdown for now.

We started to check out Mt Lofty in the Warrandyte State Park on Sunday but it was just TOO humid and I was too tired to do much of it, but it's been bugging me ever since so I went back on Thursday 7th to finish climbing the mountain, and it is a mountain! It wasn't super busy for birds but its a nice walk following a loop of the river so its a nice way to spend the day anyway.

31) Australian King-Parrot - we heard these beautiful birds on Sunday but I finally saw them Thursday, albeit overhead! Not as great shots as I would hope for but I just adore these birds and see them rarely

32) Spotted Pardalote - this little guy flew in right above my head taking me by surprise

33) Crimson Rosella - this juvenile was in just the right spot catching the light on its beautiful colours

34) Laughing Kookaburra - even though this is a long shot, I love it for the story. I kept hearing these weird rasping hasping noises as I walked around the bend then some half kookaburra laughs...turns out it was these 2 juveniles practicing to be adults, learning to laugh! They were making the worst racket! Just after this their parent flew in to shush them down but I like this shot

35) Grey Shrike-Thrush - after hiding in the bushes for a while, this fine bird finally came out and showed off for me, posing on this branch

36) Red-browed Finch - very slightly cropped to get the image size small enough, a nice way to end the outing having one of these pose for me

Addition

37) Grey Butcherbird 

So that's Mt Lofty, some nice birds but I'm not sure the climb will tempt my to head out there again anytime soon! 

EDIT: I've cropped the original files and reloaded them so that they're more obviously identifiable

dannyka6
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Not being done yet for the day, and having seen another lovely birding spot from the top of Mt Lofty as I huffed and puffed, I headed there, where everyone should go at some point or another, Heritage Golf and Country Club. This is where I will retire someday! And I don't even golf! But it is a really lovely birding spot. There is a sign that you come to in one place that points in two directions, wetlands one way, and Henley wetlands the other way! That epitomises the place. It's a community that lives around the golf course and gets around in golf carts and co-exists with the kangaroos and swamphens and other birds and animals on the side of the river across from a patch of crown land; what could be better for birding? Apart from the aforementioned wetlands?? So here are a few things I found in the quick hour I put in on Thursday, watching for snakes!

38) Australian Pelican wheeling around inland

39) Eastern Rosella hiding from me!

40) Crested Pigeon

41) An opportunistic Whistling Kite taking a run over the wetlands to see if there was anything going for lunch!

42) A few beautiful Fan-tailed Cuckoos popped up through the bush section without a sound but I got some of the best shots I've ever manage to achieve so I'm very happy

43) Silvereye - I might improve on this but you never know with these lightning fast little birds

That's just an hour at Heritage, I'll definitely be going back at some point because I only did one of the wetlands and I want to check out the crown land, but a fellow birder came along and spooked me about snakes! Thanks buddy! So my nerves gave out and I went home!

EDIT: I've taken the original files and cropped them for better viewability, but they are the same original files

karentwemlow
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Wow a very rewarding trip out for you, well done! How funny the young Kookas learning to laugh :-). My mum lives on a Golf Course estate, it too is full of birds. 

TommyGee
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Great start Danika... like you, I'm hoping Vic can stay covid-free for a while longer yet!

I'm going to have to check out Mt Lofty, I used to live fairly close (The Basin) but it's a bit of a hike these days.

dwatsonbb
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Your rocking Danika, sounds like your working hard to build your number. It's great fun and good exercise getting out. Glad your doing well. 

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

dannyka6
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Thanks guys! :)

Last addition for now is a quick trip to Royal Park, specifically Trin Warren Tam-boore, after work today (Saturday 9th Jan) but it was unusually quiet. Still I picked up a couple of birds for the list.

44) Little Raven - this guy was scrabbling around inside a tree, giving me a chance to get nice and close. The light isn't perfect but I never get this close so I'll take it

45) New Holland Honeyeater, cropped

46) Willie Wagtail - I could hear these birds right across the park so I tracked them down and was watching one show off and wag its tail for me, trying to get a great shot, when suddenly behind me I heard a tiny noise, turned my head and nearly bumped into this nest! So one quick shot and I was out of there!

47) Common Blackbird, cropped - I often hear these, including around my backyard, but don't often see them so I'm bookmarking this for later

EDIT: New Holland Honeyeater and Blackbird files removed, cropped and replaced

dannyka6
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Definitely check out Mt Lofty if you're up for a bit of a hike Tommy, I recommend doing the loop anti-clockwise, get the steepest hill done then its mostly downhill so you can enjoy the birds :)

dannyka6
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Well I'm back unexpectedly, we went out looking for tents and I came back with birds! We stopped for lunch in the park, I had thrown in my camera cos you never know, and kaboom! 

So I thought I was pretty happy with my Little Raven close up but we got even closer today albeit to a poor specimen that seems to have a floating Jorel head! It has been attacked by something, you can see its skeleton, but its a fighter, very determined to get food and very bold! Here are some replacement shots.

We also saw a few Crimson Rosellas and I improved on the shot I took before of the juvenile so I'll replace my shot of that.

48) And we saw a couple of Sulfur-crested Cockatoos resting in the shade so I got a shot in of one of those, nothing fancy but one for the records.

And we didn't get a tent cos they the one we wanted was all sold out! Is that a Covid thing? Everyone is holidaying at home and getting back to nature? It doesn't bode well for how busy the campgrounds will be...lucky we're going after school holidays!

Alex Rogers
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Oh wow, someone did give that Raven a hard time, poor bloke. 

Great to see you getting out and about so much, and getting the birds in - you are flying! 

I always enjoy your narrative too, its great hearing about where you went, what you did, what the birds were doing. I can imagine those junior Kookaburras practicing :-)

Your shots are definitely improving too :-) Love the Willie on its nest - lovely shot. I saw you have a goal of improving the photography aspect this year (me too!) and one of the constraints you put on yourself is not to crop. I'd say that sort of constraint is common in street / art / landscape photography, not so much wildlife, especially birds, where the ethic / aesthetic definitely allows for (or even calls for!) post processing. Because we shoot small subjects at long range in difficult light, I'd say close on 100% of the photographs posted on Feathers & Photos for example are adjusted post-shooting - cropped, light adjusted, sharpened at minimum and ofter much more. So up to you of course - but I wouldn't constrain yourself like that. For sure I'd try to get the biggest image possible of the bird, making it as well focused and exposed as possible. But then select the best image you got, and crop it to suit, adjust the light levels, sharpen as needed, and save it full size and then to suit posting here in a smaller size. You can do that easily and free using something like Faststone, in about 2 minutes per pic  - and it will make a huge difference to the photos. 

sue818
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48 birds in 10 days is a cracking start, Danika! Some lovely birds there and I love the stories.

dannyka6
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Thanks Alex for those tips, I'll try to keep my photos uncropped but I'll remember that it's not always possible so that I don't give myself too many headaches :)

 - - - 

My birding obsession continues but my husband is getting a bit testy about my lack of doing housework/general maintenance about the place as I keep disappearing on birdwatching errands so this might be the last biggish day out til our week off in February; we'll see. 

I headed down to Phillip Island today as someone on Facebook had tantalised me with photos of Bar-Tailed Godwits and Eastern Curlews and Red-Capped Plovers!! I went to the spot they mentioned but either they have an absolutely enormous zoom on their camera, or fabulous rock-hopping abilities to get down much closer to the sand banks, or both, but I wasn't able to get near enough to see any of the above. But it was a great day out and I'll mention some sites you should check out if you are ever down that way; it has a lot to offer birders!

On the way I stopped at the Pakenham Waste Treatment Plant. This is closed to the public but always has a LOT of birds on it, and I spoke to an employee one day who said they have no problem with people wandering the fence line and taking photos. So I had a bit of a look, the fence line is a bit congested with trees but anyway I tried. And for my efforts I got...

49) Blue-billed ducks!!! This is a terrible photo but I may never see them again this year. Sadly it was 7.30am and still very overcast; the wind hadn't broken up the cloud yet. I wish I could have walked closer towards them but it would have involved serious gymnastics. I will go back and try another day but I don't know if they are always there or not. Edit: I've added a grainy cropped photo (as per Alex suggestion, thanks) for ID purposes

50) Black-shouldered Kite - this one popped out of nowhere making its funny noise, went to a tree, I'm not sure if it snapped off this twig or found one already snapped off, then returned over my head. It's an awful overhead shot which I've lightened a bit but it was so close, what a thrill!

51) Parent and immature Hoary-headed Grebes - a really difficult angle over the bank of the pond which I'm not that satisfied with, but it'll do for now, I see them rarely so I was happy they made an appearance

Conservation Hill Reserve-Rhyll Inlet boardwalk and walk - I got here early in the morning (for me) about 8.20am but it wasn't very busy with birds, there were some nice ones here and there but not abundant. Also the odd Swamp Wallaby, and orange butterflies and dragonflies everywhere. I just did half of the walk from Conservation Hill Reserve as I could see that the tide still hadn't gone out enough to expose the sand bars for the birds to come out and land on so it wasn't any point going further. This is a beautiful mangrove walk. 

52) Little Pied Cormorant - what a beautiful specimen flying across the blue sky!

53) I had myself convinced this was a Collared Sparrowhawk, but I'm going back to Brown Goshawk. However if anyone else wants to zoom in and through their 2 cents into the argument I'd love that. I was going off the bulge in the lower ridge of the wing but it doesn't show at all angles. EDIT: when cropping I've looked closer at the face and now I'm convinced its a Brown Falcon juvenile, confirmed per ABG. I've changed the fact sheet to match

54) Swamp Harrier - these were all over the island! I don't know how many individuals birds I saw, but if I assume that I never saw the same bird in 2 locations I would say I saw 8 to 10 birds on Phillip Island today!! I still didn't get the shot I wanted exactly, they have a sixth sense for a car slowing down! 

55) A single Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo came screaming across the sky while I stood birdwatching, I wish it was closer but there wasn't anything I could do about that

I'm replacing my White Ibis shot with a slightly better flight shot that I got today.

The Nobbies

This is an incredibly scenic cape overlooking the sea with boardwalks exploring the cliffside. Along with all the other tourists, I went walking and I had great luck, finding:

56) Silver Gull, immature harrassing parent! I've allowed myself two to show the sequence of events!

57) Cape Barren Goose - honestly they are so used to humans you could pet them probably without them flinching, but its hard driving around the island because they are right on the edge of the roadside everywhere! Very nerve-wracking

58) This has made my birding year so far! Seeing a Little (previously Fairy) Penguin out of its burrow in the middle of the day in broad daylight!! Although Phillip Island is famous for its penguin colony they are known to return to their burrows at night which is when you can go to the Penguin Parade and watch them, now online due to covid-19. But seeing one up close, about 2 metres away, unexpectedly was fantastic! So very cute! 

Swan Lake

This place was built for birders! It has two very excellent bird hides overlooking Swan Lake which is quite full right now so the ducks and waterbirds are coming right up to the hide. Unfortunately the shorebirds that can be there sometimes aren't, because there's no shore right now. But the inevitable Swamp Harriers, hundreds of swans and Cape Barren Geese and various ducks and coots makes it lots of fun. 

59) Yellow-rumped Thornbill - unfortunately straight overhead so not a good angle but one of my favourite birds

60) How could I talk about Swan Lake without including a Black Swan? Not a close shot, I'll work on that, but I like the set up with the Coots

Rhyll Jetty

I finally judged that the tide might be in my favour so I headed back to the town of Rhyll to grab lunch. At the jetty I picked up one for my count:

61) Pacific Gull

I'm also replacing my Pelican shot with one I picked up here.

Rhyll

Around town I picked up another common resident of the island:

62) Masked Lapwing

Rhyll Inlet

Then my final stop, the Rhyll Inlet walk to try my luck again for those godwits and curlews! This is the other end of the Conservation Hill reserve walk that I did half of this morning so I only did half this time too along the beautiful inlet. More of the sand was exposed this time but still not many birds.

63) Great Egret - a few of these beautiful creatures flying here and there, this one captured just as it landed.

What a day out! I'm very happy! I took way too many photos and now have that shocking job of culling them down, but it was very productive for this project! Now I might lay low-ish for a bit, if I can but I'll watch your projects with interest. 

EDIT: I have taken the original photos and cropped them, except the Silver Gulls, Cape Barren Geese, Black Swan

karentwemlow
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Oh wow, such great adventures and sure beats housework. Who ever regrets not doing enough housework at the end of their life :-).

Some great pics, loving the hover Pelican!

Alex Rogers
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What great outings you've been having! I love reading about them. Some great photos - and I'm super super jealous of your Little Penguin sighting, how amazing is that! I think my worst EBC of the year in 2019 was the Little Penguins, at night, under red light - to see one like that in daylight is awesome. 
 

Love the juvenile seagull, the Pelican BIF shot, and the Cape Barren Goose - what cool photos :-) 

Do you want to try a crop / lighten / whatever on the Blue-billed Duck photo to make it an identifiable shot? 

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

Hi Alex, 

Great tips about post processing - do we have rules in this competition about what kind of post processing is in and what's out? Just not sure, I'm taking from what you've said that cropping and lightening is okay here but anything else?

And for others, what are you doing with your photos? Cropping, lightening, other??

Just wanting to see where I'm at with you all.

Cheers!

sue818
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I am not aware of any rules re post processing but would think that as long as it does not mislead as to identity of species or date taken then it would be ok. So extreme colour change might be a problem. That being said, I crop, lighten, sharpen and reduce noise as required but tend to leave colour alone. It is not a photographic competition but rather a sharing of what birds we have seen. I will be interested in what others have to say.

Alex Rogers
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Yep, we don't have any rules on post-processing, I agree with Sue's comment, if its not misleading as to species / date etc why not? I also agree its not a photo comp (re quality) so there is no need to do it at all if you don't want to. However, if your bird is so small / dark in the picture that it is not identifiable to others, it doesn't count uder the EBC rules. If you want it to count, it has to be identifiable - so why not then crop in tight, adjust the lighting, sharpen it up, do whatever is necessary for others to be able to see the identifying marks that show the bird for what it is? 

Personally I adjust ALL of my photos. As standard, I'll crop it the way I want it (its very rarely a perfect crop in the camera), set levels if needed, adjust the lighting (often lightening the shadows, increasing the contrast, sometimes a small boost in saturation) as needed, and often applying a little sharpening. I plan to experiment with de-noise software too, as I often  would like to use this. Much more occasionally, I might clone out an annoying stick or distracting highlight or shadow in the background - I normally reserve this for really good photos that I want to "perfect" and will normally mention it if I'm posting it to a photo comp or a site where photography is the point

So its up to you - no need to do anything unless you need to rescue something to EBC status - but most photos will present much better if you do. 

dannyka6
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Thanks for your comments guys, much appreciated. I think I'll go back to the drawing board on cropping and adjust the files that I have submitted if that's okay as some of them were a bit iffy in terms of being able to see what was what. I'll use the same files, just tidy them up as suggested. 

I haven't been out birding since Phillip Island, work and a migraine have intervened but our friendly neighbourhood Tawnies have dropped by which I love. They usually drop by every night but its sometimes very brief and we miss it. This particular night they stayed around a bit so I got a few shots in. This shot is meant to be a silhouette but I used a long enough exposure so that you can make out the detail for the ID. This is pretty much exactly as they looked in the evening light. It's fun when they sit still long enough for you to play around! 

64) Tawny Frogmouths, parent and "baby" - the baby is old enough that its meant to be hunting for its own food now but sometimes it still sits and waits for one of the parents to come back with a treat

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

A few days without birding and I'm having withdrawals! A weekend off work and a stinking migraine, and shocking weather, held me back. But this morning I decided to hit my local oasis before work and it paid off with a couple of additions.

65) Eastern Spinebill - these can reliably be found in a patch of Christmas Bells in a corner of Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and so they were, but they weren't super co-operative today

66) Pied Currawong - silently creeping around today, only noticed this one by accident

Since I had my camera with me at work (didn't want to leave it in the car) I managed to shoot the one bird that can be reliably found at work every day of the week, scavenging for snacks

67) Rock Dove - actually can be kind of beautiful in the right light, sadly this wasn't it

AbbyGrace
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Nice shots. Especially of the Eastern Spinebill!

sue818
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You are setting a cracking pace, Danika. Your photos are looking clearer as well. I've been caught up with domestic stuff and only just managed to get the camera out! 

dannyka6
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Thanks Sue, I am trying to get closer to my subject if at all possible so less cropping and I hope its improving even the cropped shots.

dannyka6
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Tuesday is my one weekday off this week which is an unusually heavy schedule for me so when I had a lunch on my calendar I was wondering when I was going to fit in any birding!

But as always I threw in my backpack and thought I would see what happened. What happened is as I drove to my friends place I remembered that she lived near a wetland area that I've always meant to check out, but never had my camera with me, and on the way back from lunch we passed by an even more promising lake area that also looked worth checking out. So after our catch up I headed out to check them out. Here's a few things I found.

Heritage Hills Wetland, Narre Warren South

68) Muscovy Duck, male and female - no fact sheet, not sure if we're counting domestic breeds but these definitely live in the wild

69) White-plumed Honeyeater

Berwick Springs Lake

 Domestic Duck - again, not sure if we're counting these so just let me know but this duck was living at the lake, no fact sheet - NOT counted

70) Australasian Darter, female

And now I have some replacement shots because it was a beautiful sunny day, even though it was windy, so bear with some repitition. 

Moorhen - I like this shot more than the swimming shot because it has the parent and juvenile together

Grey Butcherbird - this is a closer clearer image than the first one

Grey Fantail - what can I say when it perches right above me and looks down into my eyes?

Magpie-lark - I was never happy with the first crop, and I like how you can see this one's eyes

Brown Thornbill - just so much closer and in finer detail than the original

Little Pied Cormorant - just an improvement

TommyGee
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Berwick Springs Lake is my local stamping ground :) we walk there each morning. It's a great spot for a variety of birds, far more than I would have imagined before I got interested in birding. Glad you could enjoy it too!

Devster
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Wow Danika. I don't check for a few weeks and you're already over 70 birds. Man I better get cracking. Some lovely images there. Not sure you can count both Muscovy and Domestic duck but definitely one of them. Happy to hear from others about that. Also I thought your Golden Whistler female looked more like a Grey-shrike Thrush but you were in the field and got to see it propely so I'll leave tit up to you. I love your Gang Gangs.

dannyka6
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Thanks Dev. I'm in a lull now so don't worry, I'm sure you'll catch me up! Now that you mention about the Grey-Shrike Thrush, I can see what you mean and I think you're right. I've got a couple more photos that I've had a look at and I think I'm going to change the label, so thanks very much for that, and now I have to go hunting for that Golden Whistler, hopefully a male this time!

Alex Rogers
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What a great collection of birds Danika :-) 

Re domestic geese and ducks - we've established if they are living wild, they can be counted. WLAB 3 has Muscovy Duck as species 2501 in their Supplementary list. "Domestic Duck" and "Domestic Goose" are also noted (but not as separate species) further down. Given the difficulty of sorting the impossible number of domestic goose and duck hybrids etc, and the nature of this comp (wild AU birds) I'd suggest we allow one point for any domestic duck in the wild, and same for geese. Does that sound reasonable to all? 

Devster
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So would the Muscovy be on it's own or counted as a Domestic Duck? That's what I wasn't sure of.

Alex Rogers
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I'd lump it in with the domestic ducks

karentwemlow
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I've added two options to our WLAB list - 'Domestic Duck' and 'Domestic Goose'. Danika I have put your number #68 down as Domestic Duck.

dwatsonbb
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My word your count is climbing fast. Lovely photos, glad your enjoying the challenge, and able to get out.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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I love that replacement Brown Thornbill, what a cutie! Keep them coming, Danika. I think we allowed one domestic fowl last year so two is not too bad as we see them living wild.

dannyka6
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Thanks for the ideas on the domestic birds, I'll note that and remove number 70 from the running...and I'll be back with my photos from my camping trip over the last week :)

dannyka6
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Okay so I've been absent over the last 10 days away on a camping/birding trip around Victoria and I'm very happy to have come back with a few lifers and some birds that I don't usually see around home. So here are a few new birds for my tally and my life list.

First stop was camping at Golden Beach along the 90 Mile Beach south of Sale. This gorgeous location has numerous camp sites all along the beach just separated from the beach by a dune and is close to the Gippsland Lakes and Loch Sport NP.

71) A surprising regular visitor around the camp was Grey Currawong including many juveniles chasing adults for food. They were a bit flighty but over 3 days I managed to get some good shots

72) Pied Cormorant - I spotted this bird on the beach with a flock of Pacific Gull and would have loved that shot because you don't see cormorants on the sand as often as other places, but it took off. Anyway, I quite like the shot across the water

73) We took a walk down the beach to a shipwreck and spied a flock of Greater Crested Tern flying along the shore break and although this shot is a little late, I still like it

While we were staying at Golden Beach we went down to Loch Sport and added a few birds

74) Emu - this was one of the last birds I expected to add to my list! But over this day and the next day we saw 3 emus altogether in the wild. Unfortunately this one has a sad story. When I got out of the car to take the photo it tried to get up and I realised that its leg was broken, possibly from being hit by a car. So I called animal rescue but they redirected me to the police to put it down. Quite sad. 

75) In the beautiful national park we saw a few lovely Common Bronzewings. This isn't the best photo as I was leaning out of the window and shaking a bit and the light was very dull but it'll do for now

76) At the lakes in the national park we spied this Great Cormorant on an old pier - it soon took off and I love the flight shots but they're a bit too fuzzy

And some replacement shots from this beautiful area of the world

A beautiful juvenile Pacific Gull to contrast with the adult

White-browed Scrubwren

A better Swan photo

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

While we were camping at Golden Beach we went into Sale and visited a spot I've been hanging to check out - the Sale Common Wetlands. Last time I was there they were dry, but this year after so much rain they have 0.4m water throughout and the waterbirds have come from everywhere!

There is a fantastic boardwalk that runs for hundreds of metres above the wetlands and a track that goes all the way around, about 5km and there are other nearby lakes and wet areas. It's great for birds.

So, 77) Little Corella - from Port of Sale

78) One of the first birds we saw was one I was hoping for - White-necked Heron! My husband called it but I thought he was joking and didn't pay any attention...oops! But I got it

79) A dark but identifiable shot of a European Goldfinch at the wetlands

80) I first spotted this delightful Eastern Yellow Robin in the grass at the edge of the path but it flew up into the tree

81) Not a great photo as it was a long way away but the closer Little Black Cormorants kept ducking under water every time I lined up a shot!

82) Beautiful Yellow-billed Spoonbills nesting in a gum tree a long distance off

83) I had a beautiful flyover shot of a Royal Spoonbill lined up but then later on during our walk we ran into this guy up close which was awesome

Replacement shots

Eastern Great Egret - so many egrets flying over all during the day

Grey Shrike-Thrush - after the confusion over my Golden Whistler/GST I'm replacing it with this clear GST shot where we heard the call as well

Anytime you're passing through Sale this is a definite must stop.

Devster
Devster's picture

Some lovely birds there Danika. I really like that Pacific Gull shot. It's like a postcard pic. 

TommyGee
TommyGee's picture

Great birds, Danika. I've never seen a Spoonbill before, other than in photos of course.

(adds Sale to my list)

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Great selection of birds, and I'm loving learning about some new places to visit on my next Vic trip, thanks :-) 

sue818
sue818's picture

Lovely set of shots, Danika. I have not been to Sale for some years now so best add to my list of places to visit again.

AbbyGrace
AbbyGrace's picture

Nice photos Danika! And that looks like a great trip too! I will have to remember to put Sale on my list. :)

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

Yes Sale should definitely be on the list, and I reckon the river cruise could be awesome for birds too; I'm thinking kingfishers? I was sorry not to have time for that!

But we had to move on so we packed up camp and hit the back road for our drive over the hills (!) from Sale to Bright via Dargo (not the Great Alpine Way). It's sealed road to just after Dargo then gravel from there and we weren't really sure how we'd go but it was a great adventure, very remote, just us out there. There were some beautiful wildflowers, some spectacular views from the mountains and across the plains and I got a lifer!

84) The Australasian Pipit which was one of my target birds for going over the top so I'm excited!! Turns out I would have been hard pressed to miss them but still, it was exciting!

It was so cute watching their little tails go up and down as they stood watching us!

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

So we got to Bright, actually we ended up staying at the next town Porepunkah, but it was just as good for birdwatching and we staying in a caravan park along the Ovens river and there were just birds everywhere throughout the park and the riverside. I was actually feeling kind of lazy/tired by this point in the week but I still managed several outings to the Myrtleford water treatment plant, Wandiligong diggings (definitely worth a visit either tourist wise or birding wise), along the Porepunkah caravan park-town loop, to a place called something lane where you can drive around and birdwatch, and just anywhere we went driving. Here's what I found!

85) Welcome Swallows - they look like they have massive pecs of steel but I think it was just fluffing up their feathers because of the cool morning!

86) Yellow-faced Honeyeaters - eBird suggested I search one of the other caravan parks for Turquoise Parrots which I thought was a great idea! Sadly didn't find them but I did greatly improve on any YHE shots I'd gotten to date, shame about that twig though

87) Over a swing bridge from our caravan park was a fabulous bush bramble wilderness with a rough path that kids had built single track through and it was the best for birds; hard for photography! But one morning Little Miss Eastern Whipbird poked her head out to say hello!! So I obliged with as many shots as I could

88) One of my targets for our north east part of the trip were the Satin Bowerbirds because I know they like this area but it took me a couple of days to hear or see any sign of them. Of course after that I was tripping over them everywhere!! I'm not sure I'd like them hissing and spitting in my garden at home, but I like them for other people

89) I had an excellent encounter with a flock of Striated Thornbills. I was desperately trying to get a shot above my head for ages, when suddenly they all descending to eye level and started feeding on blackberries and other plants!! Super!! One of my favourite birds

90) I stuffed it up last time but I believe that I have it right this time, Female Golden Whistler

91) Red-Browed Treecreeper - lifer!!! I was tremendously excited when this bird flew down beside me. I actually was thinking it was a Brown Treecreeper to start with but I was thrilled to have it so close and get such a shot! Then a suspicion crossed my mind about it being the red-browed, I ran it by the ABID group on Facebook who confirmed it and here we are! I'd love to see an adult but I'm content with this

92) This Olive-backed Oriole posed so beautifully that I hardly had to make an effort! I love that

93) I could hear White-Naped Honeyeaters but didn't see any until 2 juveniles landed right in front of me in a bush just off the path. One immediately took off but this one stayed and posed. You can see the white nape and the colour starting the form around the eye.

94) Noisy Friarbird - this young bird had me confused for a while thinking it might be a Little but when I saw the photos I could see the proper dinosaur features!! What a shocking clatter they make! 

95) White-throated Treecreeper - something I see closer to home but hadn't photographed this year, a really beautiful bird when you get close up and found everywhere where we were camping!

96) Wonga Pigeon - a really beautiful pigeon that I've only seen once before in NSW so a lifer for Vic, and it just sat there for me. Unfortunately there was a big bank so I couldn't get as close as I would've like but I really enjoyed making its acquaintance.

And thank goodness we were camping last week not this week, if we'd had to come home early for lockdown I would have been so mad!! Because there are more to come from last Sunday's adventures...

sue818
sue818's picture

Oh, gorgeous set of shots... love that Thornbill and the Whipbird and the Oriole... hard to pick one. Sounds like a very successful and well-timed trip. Well done, Danika.

dannyka6
dannyka6's picture

Thanks Sue, it was very enjoyable spending time in the Bright area, I always love it around there for the birds and beautiful scenery.

On the way home we made 2 stops. The first one was inspired by a Facebook group I belong to called 'Women Birders' which has a member who owns a caravan park at Glenrowan and is always posting photos of amazing birds. We hoped to stay there a night but it didn't work out so we called in instead; for $10 she's happy for you a wander her park and check out the birds. It had just rained very heavily and while this was good for birds in Bright, she said it was the opposite for her, usually the birds come to her baths in the dry but when it rains they go elsewhere to bigger better water sources. There was only one bird to add to the list from that site but since its a lifer again I'm very happy!!!

97) White-browed Babbler - these are a lot smaller in the flesh than I thought from my bird book but I love them! So cute and they challenged me a lot for a good shot by hiding in dense bushes

And it wouldn't be a visit to ANYwhere near Glenrowan without a Ned Kelly statue!! You just can't avoid them.

sue818
sue818's picture

I agree , all the Bbalers are fun birds.. noisy families busily turning over everything in search of a feed Lovly colouring in your shot.

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