Karen's Big Year 2021

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karentwemlow
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Karen's Big Year 2021

Hey all, here's my start for the year, just a few around the property during my morning cuppa. It was a work day, missed a few (particularly the very common but hard to see Grey Butcherbirds taunting me with their beautiful sounds) but I wanted to make a start.

I have lots of Rainbow Lorikeets at the moment which is unusual, they must have been nesting nearby as there are quite a few young ones. Along with Red Wattlebirds. Before them I had Noisy Friarbirds nesting and chasing everyone else away but they moved on as soon as their babies fledged.

I did just recently notice quite a few Scarlet Honeyeaters were visiting daily, I got a pic last week of them in a very tall gum tree near the house, then a few days later the tree was struck by lighting, right in front of my eyes and I watched as a massive branch came down. It was the loudest crack of thunder I've ever heard, would have been less than 15m from my kitchen window where I happened to be standing. The tree has since been taken down which made me sad, but it was split down the trunk and cracked all the way to the ground. In fact we think the current ran along the roots to the house as our meter box also blew a few fuses at the same time.

Anyway, I will have to chase down the Scarlet Honeyeaters another day, I'm sure they are still around. This morning my son set up some chairs at 'Lightning Cafe' for breakfast before work. I'm glad we kept the stump.

Excuse my typical EBC shots :-)

1. Australian King-Parrot

2. Australian Magpie

This is baby who fledged on the 6th November from a tree close to my house, and still screams for food. Mum and dad are still feeding. Dad swooped me a lot while she was nesting, even though I tried putting food out for him. Mum was ripping into my husband's hanging pots for more coconut coir the day after fledging. She was still stealing this from us up to a week or two ago, so I'm not sure what she's up to, nesting again?

3. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

4. Channel-billed Cuckoo

5. Common Bronzewing

6. Laughing Kookaburra

7. Little Wattlebird

8. Rainbow Lorikeet

9. Red Wattlebird

10. Sacred Kingfisher

11. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

12. Superb Fairy-wren

Alex Rogers
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Great start! Love the Bronzewing shot :-) You have such great birds at your place - I've never seen the Scarlet Honeyeaters, would love to see them one day. 

Pity about your tree - but I see you have a decent supply of mulch now lol

dwatsonbb
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You are also off to a great start. Agree pity about the tree, but I guess that's Mother Nature. Nice start to another year. Please keep them coming, I do enjoy the labour's of everyone else's work.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Thanks, yes plenty more mulch and firewood.

Mr King Parrot stopped by to ask for some food this morning, he does that once a week or so, doesn't always get anything but he is the only bird I feed at all. Pretty sure this is the one who sat on the table, peering over my laptop, complaining about the native grass seeds I tried to feed him. Anyway here's my much needed replacement shot for #1 Australian King-Parrot.

Got a few more on a trip up to see my mum on the central coast today, will post soon.

karentwemlow
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Some new ones from yesterday, first is another at my place and the rest are either on the way to, or at my mum's place on the Central Coast.

13. Noisy Friarbird

14. Common Myna

15. Australian Wood Duck

16. Magpie-lark

17. Chesnut Teal

18. Welcome Swallow

19. Masked Lapwing

20. Pacific Black Duck

21. White-breasted Woodswallow

22. Noisy Miner

23. Royal Spoonbill

24. Australian White Ibis

25. Grey Shrike-thrush

26. Willie Wagtail

27. Purple Swamphen

28. Silvereye

29. Square-tailed Kite (bottom right, this pic caused a lot of debate on the ABID FB page, but a consensus was eventually reached!)

Alex Rogers
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A good set to get you off and running :-) Love your replacement King Parrot shot (what a beauty!) and your Miner is very handsome too 

I can't tell from the photo whether it is Little or Australian Pied Cormorant - but chances are good you'll see both over the year, why not hold off that bird until you get a shot where you can clearly identify it? 

karentwemlow
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Thanks Alex, yep will hold off on the cormorant.

I also got this lovely lady, but I know she's a hybrid. Are we recording hybrids here?

Alex Rogers
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Ah, hybrids. Its hard to say whether a bird is "pure" without delving into its genes... But I think the spirit of this comp is 1 point per species - so if you chose to illustrate your Pacific Black Duck with a bird that had some mallard in it, for example, I don't see why not - but you couldn't then claim Pacific Black Duck/Mallard hybrid as a separate bird. Does that sound reasonable? (I'm not claiming any rights to dictate / arbitrate the rules - this is just my suggestion for us all to consider)

She is a beauty, I agree :-) 

dwatsonbb
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 Some nice photos, I also like Mr King Parrot.

I would agree with Alex, claim the duck as  Pacific Black, and replace it with another photo if you get a better shot. You can also claim a Mallard when you find one (don't reckon that will be hard!).

Also just for reference and statistics, your Purple Swamphen might get listed a an Australasian Swamphen (Purple Swamphen has been split I think into 6 separate species). BiBY has not updated fact sheets, so it is found under the old name.
 

I hope you don't think I am being too critical, I am still very much a beginner, and will be happy to stand corrected if I am wrong.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Thanks Dale. Yes it is an Australasian Swamphen, but this comp is using the WLAB which seems to still be out of date. I'll keep an eye on it for any changes.

https://birdlife.org.au/conservation/science/taxonomy

And I'll claim this lovely lady as my Pacific Black Duck for now :-)

dwatsonbb
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No worries Karen. If your prepared to keep the stats again, you will be aware if I label mine as the Australasian Swamphen, so we don't end up with 2 listings of the same bird!

It gets confusing when there are so many differences according to which list your using.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Hi Dale, yes we did have that problem last year too and Sue helped me clean up the duplicates. I think I can go off the factsheets that people add. But I have also changed my tracking sheet so that I can only select from species in the WLAB list so should be simpler this year.

dannyka6
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Loving all of your shots, so many coming in thick and fast, well done!

karentwemlow
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Thanks Danika, it's a pretty fast pace so far, keeping me motivated!

I got a few more just around my place today, isn't it nice when work doesn't get in the way of birdwatching :-).

I will post the others later but had to give this gorgeous group of Variegated Fairy-wrens a post of their own. I think the first pics may be a juvenile? A bunch of them were fighting over a tiny puddle of water. I did end up putting a shallow tray of water for them after taking pics, they were down the back of my property not near any of the bird baths I've got, though I do see them there too. 

30. Variegated Fairy-wren

TommyGee
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I do love the Variegated Fairywrens Karen :) definitely deserving of a post of their own!

karentwemlow
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My other two from today are birds I hear ALL the time, but don't often see. I had to stalk the Grey Butcherbirds through some bush, while trying to avoid tearing down any spider webs. I'm fairly sure they nested in there last year as I've been hearing so many from that spot and I also had a few juveniles turn up on the bird bath cam a few times. I just love their call.

The Oriole sat high in a tree above me for quite a while so wasn't such an adventure.

31. Grey Butcherbird

32. Olive-backed Oriole

dwatsonbb
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Sovely birds there Karen, thank you.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Thanks Dale.

And I've just realised that we used Australasian Swamphen last year rather than Purple Swamphen, however the WLAB version that I'm using (it says current version on the birdlife page) still has Purple Swamphen. I had thought I was changing it to Australasian Swamphen to match the WLAB. So now I'm confused!

I will stick with this list for now, but if there's a later version somewhere I can switch to that.

karentwemlow
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Two more from me today, just around home. The Yellow-faced Honeyeaters nested here last Spring. They are probably the most common species that I see, they love the bird baths here. 

33. Oriental Dollarbird

34. Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Devster
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Great start Karen. Love what you did to take advantage of the tree and turn it into a cafe table. lol. I can see why the STK caused controversy. I would have said Whistling Kite from the photo. BTW is that a WBSE in the top right of that pic?

karentwemlow
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Thanks Dev, I'm hoping to get another STK to replace this one, one that is more identifiable! May remove this if I can't though.

The top bird was identified as most likely a Masked Lapwing. They first ID'd it as a WBSE but I know when I saw it that it was definitely not that big. It was a smaller bird harrassing the larger one and Masked Lapwing fits with what I saw.

Alex Rogers
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Nice! The Dollarbird was a good catch (I've only seen them once last year) and love the fairywrens and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. 

karentwemlow
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The first time I heard a Dollarbird here I thought it was a duck of some kind! This one did not make a sound though, I only spotted it as I was looking for the Scarlet Honeyeaters. There were two in aerial combat way up high and moving really fast, so I missed them completely. But I got the Dollarbird :-).

One more to add today from wandering around the yard after work.

35. Rufous Whistler

sue818
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Off to a great start, Karen, some nice birds there. I'm still trying to catch up with everyone's posts!

karentwemlow
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A few more here from just around my property.

36. Crimson Rosella

37. Scarlet Honeyeater (Finally! These little ones have been taunting me for weeks, I always hear them, had to stalk into the bush to get this pic).

38. White-throated Treecreeper (collatoral bonus from stalking the Scarlet Honeyeater)

And a couple of more common ones from a visit to the village and local park. Don't see these ones at home often.

39. Crested Pigeon

40. Galah

And finally, a few more from a lovely afternoon trip up to Bilpin Cider today.

41. Bell Miner

42. Satin Bowerbird

43. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

karentwemlow
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I went for an early drive to Bushells Lagoon this morning. I might need some help to confirm some of the IDs here, but I will have a go...

44. Australian Pelican

45. White-faced Heron

46. Great Egret

47. Little Black Cormorant

48. White-plumed Honeyeater

49. Australian Reed-Warbler

50. Black Swan

51. Eurasian Coot

52. Golden-headed Cisticola (if this is correct, I didn't realise these birds were so tiny, they look much smaller in person than in the pic).

53. Red-rumped Parrot (through my windscreen on my drive out, I had stopped the car but still a pretty bad shot!)

sue818
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All look good except that I think the Dusky Moorhen might actually be a Purple Swamphen. Looks like a huge bill and some bluish purple to me. Also some Masked Lapwing lurking in the first photo behind the Pelicans.

The Golden-headed Cisticola are small but gorgeous. Some nice shots there Karen. Wonderful that you found some water birds.

karentwemlow
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sue818 wrote:

All look good except that I think the Dusky Moorhen might actually be a Purple Swamphen. Looks like a huge bill and some bluish purple to me. Also some Masked Lapwing lurking in the first photo behind the Pelicans.

The Golden-headed Cisticola are small but gorgeous. Some nice shots there Karen. Wonderful that you found some water birds.

Ah yes, thanks Sue I think you're right, I'll fix up the Dusky Moorhen.

karentwemlow
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Had to share this pic of my dog from the bird bath cam :-)

sue818
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At least he /she is smiling!

karentwemlow
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Yes she is definitely pleased with herself!

One more from around home on the weekend.

54. Grey Fantail

Alex Rogers
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Some lovely photos there Karen :-) Yes, the cisticolas are tiny - but aren't they sweet? I normally see the males, singing from the top of a tall reed early in the morning, and they are so brave and singing their challenge to the world from on top of their spindly little legs lol

dwatsonbb
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Wow Karen your also racking up some good numbers. Nice photos Thanks.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Thanks Dale, hoping to add a few more from around my place today.... 

karentwemlow
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Two more from my evening bike ride/bushwalk down my street. 

55. Golden Whistler

56. Spotted Quail-thrush

karentwemlow
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I have another couple, also from a bike ride/bushwalk to the end of the street. Neither of these are very clear and they aren't birds I am at all familiar with. I did get IDs for both of them on the ABID Facebook group and there didn't seem to be any conflicts so I'm thinking perhaps these are identifiable by people who know these birds?

Let me know what you think about including them.

57. Swamp Harrier

58. Painted Button-quail

Devster
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Wow, you got those down your street. I am very jealous

karentwemlow
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Thanks Dev, the quail is number #92 for my yard list (or #96 if you count the 4 nocturnal birds that I have seen but not photographed). Hope to get to my century this year.

karentwemlow
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59. White-throated Needletail

A flyover last night at my place. Of course way up high and moving fast.

karentwemlow
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60. White-throated Gerygone

I've heard these guys a lot lately, finally got a pic during my morning cuppa before work.

Alex Rogers
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Oh wow Karen - you are getting some great birds! The quail-thrush and button quail particularly, I've never seen either - and a lovely shot of the gerygone, which is new to me as well. You do have some exceptional birds at your place. 

karentwemlow
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Thanks Alex, the gerygones have been nesting here the last few years, they build a real fortress of a nest. I believe they are noisy mostly around breeding time so could be here all the time but I generally only notice them in Spring/Summer as I hear them and can follow the call. So tiny and cute.

I have some Eastern Spinebills around too, they used to be so common here, I'd see them daily on the grevilleas around the house along with many other little birds. But I haven't seen one since September and the little bird variety is not as good as it used to be, not sure why. But at least I'm hearing the Spinebills now, hoping to stalk and photograph one this weekend :-)

karentwemlow
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Two more for me from another bike ride/bushwalk down the street. Still missed out on the Eastern Spinebill, and the Spotted Pardalote that I hear constantly, but at least managed a couple of EBC shots of these two.

61. White-cheeked Honeyeater

62. New Holland Honeyeater

karentwemlow
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The birds have swarmed by this morning, best morning I've had here in a long time. Not only great variety, but great volume, everyone seems to have brought their mates and their kids!

I've had Variegated Fairy-wrens, Superb Fairy-wrens, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Rufous Whistlers, Golden Whistlers, White-throated Gerygones, Eastern Yellow Robins, Spotted Pardalotes (and maybe Striated, but need to sift through pics to see if I can find an identifiable one), Varied Sittellas, Rainbow Lorikeets, Eastern Spinebills, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Red Wattlebirds, Noisy Friarbirds, Australian King Parrots, a Spotted Quail-thrush, Grey Butcherbirds and just one Australian Magpie (mum.... I haven't see dad or baby in quite a few days for some reason).

But only three new ones with pics:

63. Eastern Yellow Robin

64. Spotted Pardalote

65. Varied Sittella

sue818
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Some lovely birds there, Karen... what a great area in which to live. Apparently there are a lot of Button-quail around this year and someone mentioned that they lack a hind toe which is evident in your photo. Love the little birds especially the gerygone and the Pardalote.

karentwemlow
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Oh yes I see the 'missing' hind toe now, sometimes an EBC photo is clearer than you expect it to be!

My little birds are back it seems, had another 'swarm' of them through last night, two more EBC photos and the first Eastern Spinebill I've seen since September.

66. Brown Thornbill

67. Eastern Spinebill

Devster
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Great to see you finally got your Spotted Pardalote and Eastern Spinebill Karen. Some wonderful birds down your way

TommyGee
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I love the small birds :) and nicely done on the Spotted Pardalote.

dannyka6
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Wow Karen some amazing birds that I've never seen! Terrific to see your photos of them, thanks for sharing

karentwemlow
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Thanks everyone. Yes it was great to finally get the Eastern Spinebill. I haven't seen another one since but I hear them daily. And yeah Tommy I love the small birds too :-).

I WILL try to do a birding trip this year ha ha, I did say at the beginning of last year that 2020 would be my year to get out more. Kind of funny in hindsight, given the year we had. But I'm not tempted to get out at the best of times so being told to stay home was just fine by me. But this year.... definitely at least one birding trip for sure. My postponed 50th birthday holiday has been rescheduled for Easter..... please QLD don't close your borders again! Hoping to see a new variety of birds then.

karentwemlow
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Two new species for me from a short bushwalk at the Vale of Avoca Lookout yesterday. It's a fantastic spot to see the view of the Grose Valley and Grose River. I had been before, but had not done any walks. I followed a trail down the mountain which looks to be set up as a kind of mountain bike trail. Down to a small creek then climbed up the side of the mountain to get back to the lookout. There's a clear path down and a very rough path back up, which was quite a workout, but a great way to start the day.

68. Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

I had so many of these around my place this time last year, I think they were breeding nearby. I haven't seen one at home this season. I think the bushfires of last year actually brought me extra birds as bush nearby was burning but my place was safe, and had plenty of water with my numerous bird baths around the property. Was nice to see one on this walk.

69. White-naped Honeyeater

Another that I have had in the past but not this season. There were plenty of honeyeaters on the walk yesterday, with lots of flowering gums.

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