Danika's Big Year 2021

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dannyka6's picture

Last stop, Winton Wetlands (AKA the old Lake Mokoan). This place is a raptor paradise and pretty good in places for other birds too. It's still in progress as far as developing into a birdwatching sight but its got fun art installments and great history plaques about when they moved a whole town to make Lake Mokoan then drained the whole lake to make Winton Wetlands. You can glamp at one end, there's a cafe and some terrific walk but most of it is driving around. We saw some terrific birds!

98) A shaky Nankeen Kestrel taken leaning over the driver as he hastily pulled to a halt! It had just dropped off its perch for a moth or something and returned

99) Red-rumped Parrot - in patches there are established stands of gum trees which are better for smaller birds than the typical old dead trees that the raptors use

And we have 100) Brown Treecreeper - a terrible long shot but a definite ID and I have other shots if needed

Some Brown Falcons, usual and dark form seen. 

And the mythical male of the species, stalking its way through a deepish puddle to make sure we don't flood the car on this our last day of 4WDing!!

Winton wetlands from the car window - worth a look if you're passing by on the Hume Highway

AbbyGrace's picture

Wow, some great finds! I bet you are glad you got away before this lockdown. And you have made it to 100! Awesome stuff!

sue818's picture

Well done on reaching the century. Cannot believe we are there so early in the year. I think we will see some wonderful birds between us this year.

Are the raptors not beautiful? Nice photos. Good on the male of the species for doing the test walk, much safer that way. I insisted mine came into the mallee with me after the rain as getting bogged was a possibility.

TommyGee's picture

Congrats on the 100!!! Bright is fabulous, I love that whole region. My mother was from Bright and we spent every school holidays there when I was a lad... a long time ago now! Mind you, I haven't been back since I started "twitching" so I'm looking forward to doing so.

Devster's picture

What a wonderful set of birds Danika. Hard to pick a favourite but I would say the White-crowned Babbler as we don't get them where I am (mainly the Grey-crowned) and Babblers are such characters

dannyka6's picture

Tommy you should definitely get up to the Bright area again now that you are interested in birds, its a paradise :) 

TommyGee's picture

dannyka6 wrote:

Tommy you should definitely get up to the Bright area again now that you are interested in birds, its a paradise :) 

Definitely! Not sure if we'll be able to get there before winter, but a spring break might be a good idea.

dannyka6's picture

Let's hit out into the second century then!

Today was meant to be a magical day out at the Western Treatment Plant with the birdlife Melbourne bird photography group but covid-19, you evil beast, stymied us again and we had to change locations at the last minute to Point Cook coastal park. This is actually a terrific set of locations in its own right but you know, its not the treatment plant. 

Apart from getting rained on for the first 10 minutes, and it being rather a quiet day bird-wise we did end up seeing some nice things and of course the most important thing is I got some photos for this expanding list :) 

101) A lifer!! Yay! Seen several times well throughout the morning singing away on top of bushes and grasses, Striated Fieldwren - sadly the photos aren't the best - no factsheet

EDIT: NOT a Leaden Flycatcher, now considered a female Satin Flycatcher so not an extra species - excuse the poor quality, the light was appalling but I was just pleased to finally get a shot in the clear! Also, this species had never been reported for this site before so we were all pretty stoked about that!

102) Satin Flycatcher - a difficult angle but a beautiful specimen

103) Singing Honeyeater - I don't usually see this honeyeater but today they were everywhere, and I've finally learned their call. Of course now I won't hear it again for forever so I'll forget it again...

104) Yellow Thornbill - one of my favourites and just snapped by accident, what a darling

105) Another bird that I love but don't see often enough, the Little Wattlebird

106) Little Grassbird - we had a lot of fun tracking the calls of the grassbird to where they would pop out of the reeds

107) Golden Cisticola - hiding in the bushes in the rain but I got it!

dannyka6's picture

Flashback to our recent camping holiday when we spent the rainy day driving around and found ourselves at Mount Beauty for lunch. This little cutie was keen to join us

108) House Sparrow - taken on my phone

dannyka6's picture

After checking out The Tower, Cheathem wetlands, the Homestead, the beach picnic area and lake at Point Cook coastal park, a couple of us finished up the day by touring Skeleton Creek boardwalk, a fabulous bird habitat that resulted in the best sighting I've had in ages!!

109) Common Sandpiper!! What a beautiful creature! How do they keep that belly so white in all that mud??

110) Little Egret - this was one of my target birds when I went to Sale Common and I missed it but there were 6 lovely creatures at the boardwalk today and one flew in and paraded around for me - thank you sir

111) Common Starling - there were so many at the boardwalk and even creeping around in the mud, confusing us into thinking they might be crakes or rails

112) Grey Teal - I've been trying to get one of these for a while but its been all Chestnuts

And a fun replacement shot because I've never seen Little Black Cormorants trying to balance on the electric wires before, especially not in a high wind! And pooping on the heads of the poor birds in the creek underneath! Hilarious!

sue818's picture

Great set of pics, Danika... very successful outing. Leaden and Satin Flycatchers in one outing is pretty impressive. Good start on towards that double century!

AbbyGrace's picture

Wow Danika that looks like a great out! Glad you got your Little Egret.

Devster's picture

Some great birds there Danika. I've yet to see a Satin FC so well done!

dannyka6's picture

Well in fact Sue I have a retraction to make on that head because after much consideration the heads have decided that in fact it was not a Leaden but a female Satin FC so I'll have to adjust my count sadly...but still seeing the two birds was very exciting!

dannyka6's picture

My latest little trip was to the curiously named Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve which usually yields an amazing number of water birds, as it did today, but sadly no shorebirds or raptors today.

What I did get was:

113) A very playful Australian Reed-Warbler in full view

114) Great Crested Grebe pair with 3 chicks, about 1 month old I'm told

115) Pied Stilt - a poor long stilt but it'll do for now (fact sheet under Black-winged Stilt)

Replacement shots of Blue-billed Duck pair, Chestnut Teal and Australasian Swamphen also included - much closer shot of the Blue-billed Ducks and much nicer light on the Swamphen and Chestnut Teal.

sue818's picture

I love the Great Crested Grebes and how lucky to see them with chicks and the Blue-biled Duck shot shows that bill very nicely. I cannot see the Swamphen photo so perhaps it failed to load.

Leaden and Satin Flycatchers females are very alike so easy to be fooled. You are getting out to some lovely places, Danny.

AbbyGrace's picture

What an awesome shot of the Blue-billed Duck. Oh the Great Crested Grebe chicks look adorable.

TommyGee's picture

Wow, a great lot of birds since I last checked in! I love the reed warbler, and the grebes are so cute :)

Devster's picture

Oh wow.Lucky you. I really do like that Blue-billed Duck photo. We don't get them up this way very often

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Some lovey birds and cool shorts. I love hearing the stories of your road trip, thanks :-)

Devster's picture

Alex Rogers wrote:

Some lovey birds and cool shorts. I love hearing the stories of your road trip, thanks :-)

Whose wearing the cool shorts Alex? lol

dannyka6's picture

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments, it's been a lot of fun getting out and taking photos :) 

Thanks for noticing my missing Swamphen Sue, I've put it up now.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My latest days out have been local to some fun seaside destinations.

Labour Day - Mushroom Reef Marine Reserve

Sadly it rained most of the day but I still managed to get some shots,

mainly of the 116) Sooty Oystercatcher and also an interesting shot of a leucistic White-faced Heron.

On Thursday Abby and I checked out Stockyard Point so we might have a few similar photos from this wader roost.

I picked up:

117) Double-banded Plover,

118) Australian Tern - fact sheet is still under gull-billed tern,

119) Red-capped Plover,

120) Caspian Tern and

121) Pied Oystercatcher - a nice comparison shot with Sooty Oystercatcher.

I also picked up either Sharp-tailed Sandpiper or Red-necked Stint doing a flyover but the photo isn't really good enough, so hopefully I'll pick them up later. I'm going back on Monday so fingers crossed for some more waders!

dwatsonbb's picture

I am enjoying the vast variety and numbers of birds being posted this year. Although I have not offered many comments. I have been stalking these threads. and now find myself to far behind to comment on them all. Thank you for your photos and keep them coming.

**Late congrats on 100+

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow's picture

Late congrats on the century from me too... but I do have you at 120 rather than 119, and that's after adjusting for the Satin/Leaden flycatcher.... I think your latest list needs to start from 115? But let me know if I have it wrong somehow.

dannyka6's picture

Thanks Karen, quite right, I had 115 twice, thanks for picking up up, although it looks like we both forgot I listed 114 quite messily so it seems like I'm at 121 :)

dannyka6's picture

Starting at the RIGHT number this time, I have a few additions to make.

122) Pink-eared ducks and duckling - I've been reading about this on Facebook and seeing some pictures from Banyule Swamp, should have gotten there sooner when the duckling was fluffier but I finally made the trip and got some shots, wrong time of day and the light was horrid but it was great to see them. What wasn't great was seeing a Tiger Snake swimming in the same lake when I'd made the mistake of wearing thongs over there on a warm afternoon!

Stockyard Point - there have been 3 trips here recently, one that I've posted about, one amazing trip where my battery died and I didn't have a backup and hence didn't get shots, and one redemption trip with poor light but good birds. This is a great spot for shorebirds at high tide but its a trek in and out so you have to have time and energy, and its ideal to go at the right tide and time so you have to plan a bit, but its worthwhile. I took my tripod this time but with the light being so poor I'm not sure it made a heap of difference.

123) Eastern Curlew - I missed a magnificent fly-by by 4 curlews in the golden hour after my battery went flat so I cried over that, and had to take this fly-by in poorer light by a single curlew a week later, but hey, its still pretty special to me to see any curlew so I'll take it!

124) I wish my Red-necked Stint photos were better because I had magnificent views through my binos on the battery incident day, up pretty close and some in early breeding plumage which you can sort of see here. But this will have to be the photo that stimulates my imagination of the other memories

125) There were such beautiful Curlew Sandpipers in full breeding plumage when I couldn't take any photos but none when I could so here at the very back of the photo is one bird to represent the species

126) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - last year I had such good shots, this year such average shots but maybe be the time they return I'll improve, mixed in here with RNSs, but especially the second bird from the left is identifiable as a sharpie (I think the one coloured up with its head turned away is one of the aforementioned Curlew Sandpipers).

I still have higher hopes for the shorebirds but this is it for now

dannyka6's picture

And a few replacements, starting at the fact that I seem to have posted a picture of a Double-banded Plover instead of a Red-capped Plover under RCP!! I did in fact see the Red-Capped so here's a shot, in poor light, of the male and female together.

Also a replacement darter shot from Banyule Swamp of the male and female together.

And just a few random replacements to make up for my poor shorebirds to reassure myself that I can take good photos on some days!

Female Gang-Gang from Bright, Victoria

Cuddling Silvereyes from Porepunkah, Victoria

Sulfur-crested Cockatoo from Winton wetlands

Juvenile Common Blackbirds, surprised sunbathing in Porepunkah!

sue818's picture

A great assortment of birds, Danika but i love the Gang-gang. Your outings are very productive. I carry a spare battery now after similar mishaps.... always when you have a perfect shot lined up or see something really unusual. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure.

dwatsonbb's picture

Another great lot, like Sue, I carry spare batteries, not so expensive for aftermarket on eBay (depending on your camera). Was cheaper than the fuel to get to some places, and not get a photo!
Sounds like your able to return, which is a real bonus. 
please keep posting, am enjoying your experiences.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Great to see so many birds, Danika, and am jealous of your gang gang - cracker shot! That leucistic WF heron would have driven me crazy trying to work out whether it was a heron or a reef egret - how unusual. 

dannyka6's picture

Thanks guys, and yes leaving the spare battery at home...big mistake!

Happily for me I've just had a camera upgrade on the weekend and they assure me the battery is extremely long lasting!! Even so I'm being very picky about charging it every single outing! So now I'm having so much fun with the Sony A7 M3 and a 200-600mm lens, up from my previous 18-300mm!! I hope you'll see the difference in the photos.

Today we visited the beautiful Alfred Nicholas Gardens in the Dandenongs on a tip about some Rose Robins that had been seen there. A veritable gaggle of chatting photographers were grouped in the spot where apparently a bird was seen yesterday but we moved on to the arboretum and were very excited to find a male Rose Robin there! It was a stunning autumn day and just perfect for birds, and if you didn't see a dozen Eastern Yellow Robins you might need to be checked for cataracts. We could hear a Whipbird calling temptingly close by but didn't manage to see it but after several attempts finally got the Lewin's Honeyeater. 

127) Rose Robin

128) Bassian Thrush

129) Lewin's Honeyeater

Replacement Eastern Yellow Robin

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Ooooh exciting re new camera - thats a nice combo of body & lens, and should give you a lot more capability. I'm sure you will enjoy it - have fun! 

Very nice to see a Rose Robin, and love your EY Robin shot - such friendly little birds and always posing obligingly :-) 

karentwemlow's picture

Some more great pics Danika. I still have you at 128 though. I don't take much notice of the numbers so even if you use a number twice it won't affect my count. I just copy from the factsheet section. 

I am about to leave for a holiday to far north QLD, but will send you a list of what I have for you and if you can let me know which one I have missed, I will fix it up when I get back.

karentwemlow's picture

1Australasian Grebe
2Purple Swamphen
3Australian Wood Duck
4Chestnut Teal
5Eurasian Coot
7Common Myna
10Straw-necked Ibis
11Wedge-tailed Eagle
12White-faced Heron
13White-winged Chough
14Grey Fantail
15White-eared Honeyeater
16Dusky Woodswallow
17Australian Magpie
18Australian White Ibis
19Brown Thornbill
20Dusky Moorhen
22Gang-gang Cockatoo
23Nankeen Night-Heron
24Noisy Miner
25Pacific Black Duck
26Rainbow Lorikeet
27Red Wattlebird
28Spotted Dove
29Superb Fairy-wren
30White-browed Scrubwren
31Australian King-Parrot
32Spotted Pardalote
33Crimson Rosella
34Laughing Kookaburra
35Grey Shrike-thrush
36Red-browed Finch
37Grey Butcherbird
38Australian Pelican
39Eastern Rosella
40Crested Pigeon
41Whistling Kite
42Fan-tailed Cuckoo
44Little Raven
45New Holland Honeyeater
46Willie Wagtail
47Common Blackbird
48Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
49Blue-billed Duck
50Black-shouldered Kite
51Hoary-headed Grebe
52Little Pied Cormorant
53Brown Goshawk
54Swamp Harrier
55Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
56Silver Gull
57Cape Barren Goose
58Little Penguin
59Yellow-rumped Thornbill
60Black Swan
61Pacific Gull
62Masked Lapwing
63Great Egret
64Tawny Frogmouth
65Eastern Spinebill
66Pied Currawong
67Rock Dove
68Domestic Duck
69White-plumed Honeyeater
70Australasian Darter
71Grey Currawong
72Great Pied Cormorant
73Greater Crested Tern
75Common Bronzewing
76Great Cormorant
77Little Corella
78White-necked Heron
79European Goldfinch
80Eastern Yellow Robin
81Little Black Cormorant
82Yellow-billed Spoonbill
83Royal Spoonbill
84Australasian Pipit
85Welcome Swallow
86Yellow-faced Honeyeater
87Eastern Whipbird
88Satin Bowerbird
89Striated Thornbill
90Golden Whistler
91Red-browed Treecreeper
92Olive-backed Oriole
93White-naped Honeyeater
94Noisy Friarbird
95White-throated Treecreeper
96Wonga Pigeon
97White-browed Babbler
98Nankeen Kestrel
99Red-rumped Parrot
100Brown Treecreeper
101Satin Flycatcher
102Singing Honeyeater
103Yellow Thornbill
104Little Wattlebird
105Little Grassbird
106Golden-headed Cisticola
107House Sparrow
108Common Sandpiper
109Little Egret
110Common Starling
111Grey Teal
112Australian Reed-Warbler
113Great Crested Grebe
114Pied Stilt
115Sooty Oystercatcher
116Double-banded Plover
117Australian Gull-billed Tern
118Red-capped Plover
119Caspian Tern
120Australian Pied Oystercatcher
121Pink-eared Duck
122Far Eastern Curlew
123Red-necked Stint
124Curlew Sandpiper
125Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
126Rose Robin
127Bassian Thrush
128Lewin's Honeyeater
dannyka6's picture

Thanks for going to all that effort Karen! The one missing is Striated Fieldwren, it doesn't have an information sheet. But we'll sort it after your holiday, have a nice time :)

dannyka6's picture

SO like a lot of people we're doing Easter differently this year and not going away for the whole break but just taking day trips or short breaks.

Yesterday hubby was going riding with a friend in Yarck all day so I took advantage to go up there to the Goulburn Valley to a favourite bird watching spot, and checkout some new spots and came up with some fun new birds, although my overall bird counts weren't high and I certainly heard many more birds than I saw. It was a beautiful day weather-wise, an absolute cracker and if you are ever near Yarck call in at the Giddy Goat and ask for their Blackberry Vanilla Slice!! Sensational!

At the Giddy Goat (gotta love that name!) I picked up my first bird of the day, one I've been hunting since I missed a flock of 50 in the city!!

130) Long-billed Corella

I started out at the Gobur Flora reserve which was reported on ebird and by Birdlife as a great place to go. And it is, if you're prepared for bush bashing. It's just a huge bush block with no paths but I was lucky to pick up:

131) Scarlet Robin, male and female

132) Buff-Rumped Thornbill - one of my all time favourites

as well as so many treecreepers and rosellas and cockatoos!!

It was reported that there was a White-Throated Gerygone and Scarlet Myzomela at Yea wetlands the day before I went but I never saw them at all, or heard them, but there were also hoards of plebs picnicking bless them so that might account for the absence. 

133) Weebill shot into the sun

Then a run over to Bonnie Doon, that classic site of serenity but it failed me for crakes and rails so back to Alexandra Waste Water Treatment plant which you can't enter but the advantage of a long lens standing at a locked gate now reveals itself!!

134) Australasian Shoveler

Replacement: Spotted Pardalote, Red-browed Finch

sue818's picture

I have fixed the list for you, Danny so Karen can relax on her much delayed holiday. Apologies for not posting or commenting lately but have come down with severe conjunctivitis which is very slow to respond to treatment (especially as they treated it as bacterial rather than allergic for 4 days!)... cannot appreciate all the great pictures for the moment.

dannyka6's picture

Oh that sucks for you Sue!! How awful! Hope it clears up soon, must be very irritating!

dannyka6's picture

SO my next plan for Easter was to hit Terrick Terrick National Park and the weather was absolute perfection for it! It's a beautiful park but very big, so a lot of driving and I followed a plan from the Echuca Birdlife group but it must be a bit old because anything referring to water is now obsolete but they've done a lot of hard work putting it together so kudos. You can download it from their website.

I got 2 lifers which I was extremely pleased about, of course I would have been happy with more but I did more driving than walking so I couldn't expect to see as much that way. I still did see 3 wedge-tailed eagles which was amazing! And brilliant views of male and female rufous whistlers which I was super pleased with. As well as seeing babblers for only the second time in my life, and this year!

On the way back to Echuca I went via Kow Swamp which is a gorgeous huge lake near Leitchville, at least the area I was at. On a warm afternoon it was very tempting, and very good for birds too! Nothing new to report but I watched a darter swimming for a while and took my swallow pictures there.

135) Rufous Whistler, I'll include male and female cos I'm just so excited with my views of them

136) Female Hooded Robin

137) Tree Martins, exactly where the brochure said they would be - don't you love that??

138) LIFER: Diamond Firetail, not a great shot but I'm taking it for all its worth

139) LIFER: Southern Whiteface, I was chasing these all day and finally got some shots I could celebrate - no factsheet

Replacement shots: White-plumed Honeyeater, Brown Treecreeper, Immature Grey Shrike-Thrush, Welcome Swallow

dannyka6's picture

Easter Tuesday, is it a thing? We were lucky enough that it was a thing for us this year but with no fixed birding plans I still got lucky.

First we took a drive from Echuca to Torrumbarry Weir, a beautiful spot. The second we got out of the car a baby bird made itself heard piping away trying to get attention. Eventually at a difficult angle I got a few shots but it wasn't until we came back from the weir that I saw the parents and identified:

140) Blue-faced Honeyeater

Then we took a detour on the way back to Melbourne via Gaynor Swamp...hubby is still getting over his bike on the rear bike rack getting plastered in clay dust...not so much water but some nice birds at golden hour

141) Immature Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Replacement photos: Black-shouldered Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle

sue818's picture

Thanks for the sympathy over my eyes, Danika. I missed the birding and could not process my pictures. Much better now and i look more presentable! Hope to get down to Victoria some time this year.

dannyka6's picture

Another Saturday, another boys bike ride organised, another birding day for me, this time in the Macedon area.

A slightly wetter day than I would've liked and I got properly doused at the end of it but a successful outing to the Rise and Shine bushland reserve near Newstead which is not only great for birds but holds some of the history of gold mining from the area as well as a signed flora trail. I ended up with some great sightings and some new birds for the list.

I checked out the Malmsbury reservoir and botanic garden as well but found nothing new, just some fun photos.

142) Brown-headed Honeyeater - finally a decent shot, man they move fast! I love these little guys

143) Yellow-tufted Honeyeater - I missed my best opportunities for shots at this one because I mistook it for another White-eared Honeyeater and I'd already taken lots of shots of these, rats! But its good enough to ID

144) Jacky Winter - in the pouring rain! But never miss a chance for another number hey?

Speaking of White-eared Honeyeaters, here's a replacement shot, and also a very docile Kookaburra from the side of the road today

dannyka6's picture

Oops, forgot to add one to the list, if permissible. 

145) Domestic goose - like domestic duck, living wild in the square in Malmsbury. They were there at 8.30am then vanished during the day and the cutest thing, all came back to the square in a line about 5.30pm at night!! No fact sheet, just regular geese whatever species that is

TommyGee's picture

My word, Danika, Easter treated you well! And I'm so jealous you got a Jacky-Winter...  I thought I'd snapped one last weekend but it was eventually ID'ed as a non-breeding male Superb Fairywren. Now I know what the real thing looks like :) 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Danika, some great pics, your photography is really coming on! And so many birds too. That Black-shouldered Kite is great, love the Rufous Whistler in breeding colour too (I see SOOOO many immatures and females, but so seldom get a crack at a breeding male). Congrats on the lifers - I also saw a Southern Whiteface this week for the first time - its very exciting :-) 

dwatsonbb's picture

Danika, your going so well. Love the Olive Whistlers, one we have, but I have not yet been lucky enough to see. Thanks again for sharing, I also enjoy reading the back story to the photos as well.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818's picture

Another set of lovely shots, Danika. Agree that your photography is improved but you seem to also be visiting some wonderful birding places. Quite envious of the Yellow-tufted HE. You are setting a cracking pace still!

dannyka6's picture

Thank you everyone for your kind messages and comments, I really appreciate it! I'm enjoying my new camera set up and getting out to new and different places.

Today Abby and I took a crack at Wonthaggi Healthland but it wasn't ideal conditions, for anything other than New Holland Honeyeaters it seems. But on the way down we tripped over a paddock FULL of a bird we both had yet to tick so we had fun with that

146) Cattle Egret

Replacement New Holland Honeyeater

Annie W
Annie W's picture

That is truly an amazing list in such a short space of time Canika.  Loving the New Holland, such a pouffie cutie!

West Coast Tasmania

sue818's picture

Oh, waht a beautiful New Holland Honeyeater, a great replacement..


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