Devs Big Year Challenge 2020

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Devster
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Thanks Sue. Still very low in the count though

sue818
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It's the quality perhaps rather than quantity. At least birding can be an activity which allows social distancing... I was all alone on a walk today post lunch but I wish that I had seen more birds. All our travel plans have been cancelled until things settle. I have some bird pictures to post once processed but my numbers will stay low for some time. I am too close to the dangerous age zone and as someone said, by practising social distancing, I am taking part in an 'act of the mass cooperation intended to protect the collective whole'.

Stay safe.

Devster
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Went to Bribie with my mum to see some of the waders before they migrate. Most of them were sleeping right in the middle of the beach so I couldn't really get great photos of them. I did manage a few of some of the other species that were wandering around.

77. Striated Heron - Not the best perch but it flushed and landed just across a little stream of water.

78. Buff-banded Rail - There were two of these darting in and out of the path. This one was soo close I had to back up to try and get the shot

79. Pied Oystercatcher - Plenty of these guys along the beach

80. Sooty Oystercatcher - This one was amongst the Pieds and I nearly missed it. It was looking out for the other Oystercatchers and took off warning the others when we ventured close. I didn't take much notice and just presumed it was another Pied as they don't get a lot of Sootys there. My mum pointed out that it was much bigger than the others and was all black.

81. Beach Stone-curlew - These were my favourite for the day. There were 4 of them and at first they were a bit skittish but then just went about their business. I added a couple of photos as I liked them.

82. Pacific Golden Plover - These have a roost on the rocks near the harbour. At first glance they are hard to see then as you look around there are quite a few. This one was colouring up nicely before he flies off on his journey overseas.

dwatsonbb
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Beautiful Dev, love the last Bush Stone Curlew, same here with the Oyster Catchers, heaps of Pieds, very few Sooties, and the others (all your pics) are all great!

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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Beautiful set of shots, Dev. The Beach Stone-curlew is to too common down my way but a striking bird. I also love the Golden Plover putting on its breeding coat as we tend to miss out on that. Well done, getting out safely.

Devster
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So its been a while since I have posted. Just about fogget how. Here are a couple of birds from Sandy Camp.

83. Lewins Honeyeater

84.Pacific Baza - All the birds went nuts, so we knew something was up. We looked up and there were two of these. I think this is a younger one as it doesn't have a crest and has more buff on the legs

85. Olive-backed Oriole - There's that stick in the way of the shot again! This one was actually fairly low in the tree which I find unusual as they are normally up fairly high.

86. Rainbow Bee-eaters - Male & Female. A bit of a crop so not a great shot but happy with the pose

87. Brown Honeyeater - Again I think this is a younger one as the skin behind the eye doesn't seem fully developed

88. Blue-faced Honeyeaters - Again younger ones as they haven't developed the blue face yet.

89. Scarlet Honeyeater

90. Comb-crested Jacana - Yet another young one. The bird life really seems to be flourishing here

dwatsonbb
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I'd be happy with all those photos Dev, both for the photo and the subject. Well done, nice to see your back.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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91. Little Egret - A couple I forgot to include from Sandy Camp

92. Australasian Figbird (Male)

93. Australasian Grebe (In camo)

Now to a few up at Mt Glorious

94. Green Catbird - Worst shot ever but enough for an ID

95. Rose-crowned Fruit-dove (Juv) - This little one was in with a bunch of Wompoo Fruit-doves gorging itself on these pink berries

Devster
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Replacement shots

Wompoo Fruit-dove (Replacement for 23) - I couldn't decide which one to post

Little Friarbird (Replacement for 51)

sue818
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Fantastic shots, Dev especially those Fruit-doves. They are such marvelous colours. Looking forward to more soon.

Devster
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Thanks Sue

dwatsonbb
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Hey Dev, some really nice photos of some really nice birds, thanks.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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It's been a while so I will add a few more. About to do a big trip in central Qld so should get a couple more.

96. Torresian Crow - North Lakes

97. Rufous Whistler Boy and Girl - North Lakes

98. Brown Goshawk in flight - Petrie

99. Common Bronzewing

100. Brolga - This is Bruce. He is wild and just hangs around an estate on Brisbanes North Side. I have a few photos of him because he is so obliging. Oh and he has a broken toe but doesn't seem to bother him.

sue818
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Wonderful shots, Dev. Nice to see the Whistler pair and love Bruce.

Good news that you are about to travel... I recommend Chinaman's Reservoir if you are near Cloncurry. Looking forward to more interesting birds. Stay safe!

Devster
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101. Tawny Frogmouth - Taken with my car headlights, (no flash) so this is a very EBC shot but an identifiable shot none the less

102. White-headed Pigeon - Going through some photos I found this one I forgot to post. Taken at my place in Wights Mountain

103. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Another one I forgot to load. Taken at my work place in Samford

sue818
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Another great set... good effort on getting the Tawny in headlights! Also a nice shot of the White-headed Pigeon as I don't usually see them in the clear like that. More please?

Devster
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Thanks Sue, you're always very encouraging. We are literally driving right past Chinamans Creek Dam so I will be sure to see if we can check it out. Was there any unsual species there or any specific birds of interest?

Devster
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I just found these I took a few weeks ago and I had to add as they are soooo cute. It is a replacement for my Black Swans (19)

sue818
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Love those cygnets.... so very cute.

I have sent you a message listing a few... Varied Lorrikeet, Grey-headed Honeyeater, Budgerigar, Pictorella Mannikin and Painted Finch come to mind but numerous others were present last visit including many raptors. The lake and surrounds offer fantastic light in the morning and late afternoon. You can drive around and use the car as a hide if necessary or put up a stool and wait. I always visit if in the area.

Devster
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Thanks again Sue. I will be sure to check it out

dwatsonbb
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Great to see some more Dev. Love the all but the Brolga and Cygents would be my faves.

Hope your trip goes well. Looking forward to some more from you.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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Hey guys I'm back from my trip arount QLD and have a heap of photos to go through. We managed to see 130 different species between us all, 30 of which were lifers for me. I did see a couple more lifers but I didn't manage any photos so I don't count them. I will however make a note as I don't think I will ever get a chance to photograph them again. Here are some I have started to process.

104. Yellow-throated Miner

105. Australian Raven - We were so focussed on other birds that I think this is the only one I took 

106. White-necked Heron & 107. White-faced Heron (Photobombing)- Are very common but hadn't photographed them yet. We saw a lot of these out there but again never really photographed them.

108. Hooded Robin - Now we get to some that we don't get in Brisbane. Plenty of these out there

109. Diamond Dove - A lot of these guys out there as well

110. Chestnut-breasted Quail Thrush - This guy was a lifer and very cooperative. We spent a good 10 mins photographing him.

111. Red-capped Robin - How cute is this little guy with his punk hair do. He was not shy at all. I also managed a photo of an adult male with his bright red head and chest

112. White-browed Treecreeper - Another Lifer for me. I didn't realise at the time that both the male & female were on the tree. I actually think this is one species where the female is better looking than the male, especially with her little redish brown brow and upper chest

113. Chestnut-rumped Thornbill - This guy was gone as quick as he came and didn't hang around to say goodbye

114. Splendid Fairy-wren - We were just about to go then we heard these guy and boy they were curious little things. Managed some really nice photos of them which i was so happy about.

Thats all I have for now. Still have a few thousand photos to process. I hope you enjoyed.

sue818
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Another fantastic set of birds! I am quite envious of the Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush as it has eluded me but those Robins are all beautiful and the Fairywren... I could go on...  Location of these beauties would be interesting if you find some time as it seems to have been a wonderful trip.

Devster
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Thanks Sue. Apart from the first 3 they are all in Quilpie

Devster
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A few more from my trip. These were in between Quilpie and Birdsville.

115.Crested Bellbird - This guy was on fire! Calling all morning. We were looking at another bird and could here him around. Then he flew right up to this branch in front of us and started calling. It was a little elevated but still made for a good photo. Got one with him calling and one with his crest up. While not a lifer for me, these are certainly the best photos I have of them.

116. Chirruping Wedgebill - This one was very hard to photograph as he didn't want to sit out in the open. Was taken between Quilpie and Windorah

117. Brown Falcon - You don't get many opportunities when you turn around because you see a Falcon on a post and he just sits there and looks at you in perfect light. Again between Quilpie & Windorah

118. Pied Cormorant & 119. Australian Pelican- Nothing special other then they were all basking in the afternoon light together and I hadn't photographed these yet. At Birdsville

120. Black Falcon - A very EBC shot as it just flew buy at a rapid pace and it is a very large crop. Looks like it had something in its talons but can't tell what.

121. House Sparrow - Just because I didn't have one

122. Red-rumped Parrot - Late afternoon in the shade. Hi ISO so not a great shot. Can you see the other 2 feeding in the background

123. Little Grassbird - Still in Birdsville. Could hear him calling but took a while to work out what it was. A lifer for me. Very cute but again would not come out of the long grass.

124. Crimson Chat - On the sand hills (Big Red) Looking for Eyrene Grasswrens

Thats all I have processed for now. Soo many don't have factsheets for them. I did the last ones with this one as I forgot to do it last time

sue818
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Another wonderful set of shots and great birds! Those Crested Bellbirds are easy to hear but a devil to get a clear shot, well done. Love the pale Brown Falcon and great to see the Black Falcon. Of course, the Chat is a stunner. Looking forward to seeing more from such a successful trip.

Devster
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Thanks Sue. You're always so encouraging. 

Alex Rogers
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Hi Dev - what a great set of photos. Your trip looks awesome, I'd love to do a birding trip around QLD - hopefully the borders might relax by the end of the year, and I can plan something for early next year. 

Its always great to see dramatic or colourful birds, but I really loved some of the more unusual ones you shot - that wedgebill, the bellbird, and your well captured grassbird. I know how difficult and frustrating those little reed birds can be - nice capture! 

Devster
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Thanks Alex. The less colourful ones do seem to be harder to photograph. I guess they are less colourful for a reason. Hope you do manage to do a trip next year. There are some amazing birds in QLD. But I may be a bit biased :)

dwatsonbb
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Hi Dev, some lovely birds in there, and some great photos. Without looking back through all your posts, have you got the Spoonbills previously, there appears to be a Royal, and maybe a Yellow billed (2 with the lighter bill) in the Pied Cormorant photo, and of course a Pelican to boot. Love that photo with multiple species just hanging around! Lots of species which would be new for me. Just glad I can see them from my arm chair.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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Thanks Dale. I do have both the spoonbills but it appears I dont have the Pelican.

May have to do some adjusting

Devster
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So I have added the Pelican in and adjusted the numbers. A few more shots, mostly EBC as I slowly go through the 5000 odd photos. Firstly some of the Raptors from the trip then a couple of regulars.

125. Whistling Kite

126. Black Kite

127. Nankeen Kestrel - A very EBC as the sun was behind it.

128. Spotted Harrier - This is probably the biggest EBC shot I have taken so far. Saw a lot of these but they were always on the move and at a distance. This one may have a large Lizard of some sort.

129. Rufous Songlark - These guys were everywhere with perculiar but distinct call. I just couldn't get very close to them

130. Cockatiel - Just one or two of these about. lol. I would normally get excited to see 3 or 4 of these together, but WOW they were everywhere! I've never witnessed so many in the wild. Even managed an ok BIF shot

Alex Rogers
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Oh wow those cockatiels! Fantastic sighting - this is what I think of when I think birding road trips :-) Must have been very exciting to see. And I like your flying kites too - I really need to do some work on BIF settings to try to take more like this. I'm looking forward to seeing more from your trip. 

Devster
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Thanks Alex. Yes there were thousands of Cockatiels and Budies, it really was a sight to behold but very noisy.

Devster
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A few more from the Birdsville area

131. White-winged Fairy-wren - Happy to get the boy and girl in she same shot even though its just an average photo

132. Eyrean Grasswren - A very EBC shot and huge crop. Just could not get a solid lock on these guys with the camera. A lifer for me so I was happy anyway.

133. Budgerigars - Lots and lots of these checking out possible nest sites

134. Cinnamon Quail-thrush - Another lifer for me and very happy with ths shot

135. Zebra Finche - Literally saw thousands of these but none as close as this. While lying down taking photos of the CQT this guy landed just in front of us.

136. Orange Chat - Boy and girl - Another lifer!

sue818
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Wow, what a set of birds! I am envious but very happy for you... Eyrean Grasswren and Cinnamon Quail-thrush would be lifers for me but a stunning picture of an Orange Chat. Will have to put this trip on my list when we can travel freely again.

Devster
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Thanks Sue. Certainly was an amazing trip for birds.

Here are some more I have managed to finish.

137. Flock Bronzewing - While looking for the Eyrean Grasswrens we bumped into an older gentleman who said he had seen the Flock Bronzewings gathering at a particular waterhole in the afternoons. So one afternoon we decided to get to this waterhole, lay down in cow poo with some camo netting and wait. Unfortunately they landed a bit further away than we had hoped but still managed some lovely photos. Again this was just outside of Birdsville towards the sand dunes.

138. Inland Dotterel - While photographing the Chats and Cinnamon Quail-thrush we stumbled onto this ones nest with 3 eggs. We took a couple of photos and then let her be.

139. Gibberbird - Heading for Mt Isa now we spot a Gibberbird that flushed from the side of the road just outside of Carcory. We pull over and there he is checking us out. I found out that these birds are actually a species of Chat. They are even sometimes called a Gibber Chat. I was pronouning them "Jibber" but it is Gibber. The G is like in Goat. They are called a Gibberbird because the live amongst the Gibber stone. Apparently 'Gibber' is the aboriginal word for stone. You learn something everyday.

140. Kalkadoon Grasswren - Heading for Mt Isa we stop at Coorabulka (I think) to see if these little guys are around. It is quite windy so we weren't hopeful but after only about an hour of serching we find them and they are most cooperative and curious.

141. Indian Peafowl - Arriving in Mt Isa we head to lake Moondarra where we find a huge amount of Peafowl just chilling in an area around the lake. Apparently they have been here for years and are breeding quite well unfortunately.

142. Varied Lorikeet - Lake Moondarra

143. Spinifex Pigeon - These were everywhere out there. They are so funny to watch with their little heads, plump bodies and little legs

 

Interesting note - Only the Inland Dotterel has a factsheet. All the others in the post don't have one. I wonder why that is. Especially the Varied Lorikeet and Spinifex Pigeon. I thought they would have been quite common birds

sue818
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I think that I am now green, with envy! Fabulous set of birds which are notoriously difficult to find, let alone photograph. I looked for that Grasswren with no success so well done. Looking forward to seeing more. 
 

Lake Moondarah is good but assume you also went to Clearwater Lagoon on the way in. I will ask you for more detail about this trip when we can start travelling further afield. Were you camping?

Devster
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Haha thanks Sue, thats how I am with a lot of your birds as well. Yes we were camping in swags. Not the most comfortable things but did the job. I don't believe we went to Clearwater Lagoon as they knew where all the birds were we needed to find and I think they said all the birds there we would already see. I went with a couple that run tours and they really know their stuff and where to find it. I did manage to see Opalton and Carpentarian Grasswrens but they were too quick and I couldn't get a photo. We tried for a few days to get the Opalton ones but they just wern't interested in hanging around and just kept diving into the Spinifex and not coming out. The Carpentarian I saw for a brief moment and then it was gone and I never saw it again. So we dipped on a few of the hard ones as well.

Alex Rogers
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Awesome photos of some amazing birds, Dev. I'm with Sue, I'd love to know more details of the tour in time, sounds like they really know their stuff, and I'm very much up for planning camping / birding expeditions as borders open up again. So please post details if you are happy to recommend them. 

Devster
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Thanks Alex. The trip was certainly an eye opener for me. I had barely scratched the surface and would never have photographed these birds without their help. Some more from Mt Isa.

144. Grey-headed Honeyeater. Very early morning, limited light but an opportunity for a lifer so I took it.

145. Black-chinned Honeyeater (Golden-backed Race) - Mt Isa. Another EBC as I couldn't get them out in the open

146. White-plumed Honeyeater 

While on the Honeyeater Theme

147. Grey-fronted Honeyeater - I would get these and the Grey-headed Honeyeaters mixed up all the time. I found these guys were a bit of a bully, chasing other birds away.

148. Nankeen Night-heron - An unexpected surprise.

149. Red-winged Parrot

150. Australian Ringneck (Cloncurry) - Not a new bird for me but a new subspecies

151. Little Woodswallows

dwatsonbb
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Wowsers some great shots Dev, glad you enjoyed your trip. Looking forward to more!

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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152. Apostlebird - Mt Isa. Plenty family groups of these around. In fact 2 family groups got into a bit of a scrap when we were there. Was quite a noisy affair

153. Grey-crowned Babler - When the scrap between the 2 family groups of Apostlebirds began, these guys all rushed in and surrounded the action. Just like in school when everyone gathered around a fight and chanted, fight, fight, fight, fight! It was quite funny to watch

154. Green Pygmy-goose - Not a great photo as they were quite far away but a lifer for me so I was happy.

155. Black-faced Woodswallow - It's funny how the Woodswallows with the mask are called Black-faced and the ones with a black face are called Masked. I think they got that one a bit mixed up when naming them

156. Spotted Bowerbird

157. Rufous-throated Honeyeater - He kept being chased away by the Grey-fronted Honeyeaters but I did manage this shot.

158. Pictorella Mannikin - One day we barely saw any, the next day we saw about 20 odd

159. Silver-crowned Friarbird - Another Lifer for me

160. Painted Finch - Yet another lifer. Agian 1 day one or two at a distance, the next day groups of 20 or so

161. Purple-backed Fairy-wren - Another Lifer for me

sue818
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Another great set, Dev. I agree with the confusing names of the Woodswallows as I end up checking every time to be sure that I have it correct. Love the Pictorella Mannikins and Painted Finch.
The Purple-backed Fairywren is still listed as a sub-species of the Variegated Fairywren on the Australian taxonomy list which we have elected to use for the challenge although it is separate on IOC list as DNA has proved the difference. I got caught with that one as well... perhaps next update will show a split.

What a fantastic trip this has proved to be for you! 

Devster
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Whoops I forgot one

162. Long-tailed Finch

Devster
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Thanks Sue. It's hard to keep up with the splits especially when one list shows the split and then others don't. So confusing

sue818
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Agree, very confusing! Aren't the variety of finches wonderful and amazing to see mixed flocks of large numbers! It is always a joy for me.

Devster
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Definitely Sue. To see hardly any one day to flocks of 20 -30 the next was remarkable

dwatsonbb
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Again not much more to say other than wow, great photos, thank you.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Alex Rogers
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Ah, what a cool set - love the finches too, so many new ones for me :-) But while the babblers and apostlebirds are familiar, they are still among my favourites - such noisy, gregarious, funny birds, I love watching them 

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