Karen's Big Year 2021

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Devster
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How that looks like a great spot for birding. That view looks hard to take. lol

sue818
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Nice to be rewarded for the effort, what a view and some lovely birds.

karentwemlow
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Thanks, such a great spot, I may go back on my next day off on Tuesday.

Today I took the little guy up to Mt Tomah Gardens today and had a walk around in the morning mist and drizzle. Such a beautiful spot, I particularly love the Jungle Walk. Picked up a few new birds.

70. Gang-gang Cockatoo

One of my favourites and they visited my place a lot this time last year. But haven't seen any this year. Just spotted the one couple here today.

71. Eastern Whipbird

So many of these around the gardens, calling often. I'm guessing this is the female? I don't think I've ever seen one before. I've had them visit my place but only managed one photo once, and that was of a male. Took a lot of stalking to get this pic and they were moving so fast.

72. White-browed Scrubwren

These gorgeous little birds weren't too fussed by us being near them.

73. Pied Currawong

I hear these a lot at home, though admittedly most of the time it's the Superb Lyrebird down the back. Oddly haven't seen one in a long time, they used to visit in large groups and eat fruit I had left out for the possum. Another that I haven't seen in 6 months or so.

Update: just checked my bird guide, seems my Eastern Whipbird is a juvenile perhaps? 

karentwemlow
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Also got this guy today, had thought he was already on my 2021 list but seems not.

74. Lewin's Honeyeater

sue818
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Nice set of shots, Karen. Yes, it is a young Eastern Whipbird as no white patch apparent.. juveniles have none and immature are mottled white. Mt Tomah is on my list of places to revisit soon.

karentwemlow
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Thanks Sue, it's such a beautiful spot. Shame the restaurant there has closed but the takeaway fast food place with the courtyard is still open so coffee and hot chips were on the menu.

We went to Taronga Zoo today. I got a few species of birds who were not captive there, assuming they would count? But I know the captive ones don't. 

I've generally not been a fan of zoos most of my life, but hubby and son have been nagging me to go and I know that Taronga do some great conservation work. I'd prefer if they moved the elephants, giraffes and other large animals out to Dubbo but the rest of the setup seemed fairly good to me. There was one Lyrebird in a fairly small enclosure but it was adjacent to the larger walk in aviary so maybe he gets to come out occasionally?

75. Australian Brush-turkey

Plenty of these guys around the place, outside and inside the zoo. One stole a banana but I managed to get it back. He ended up with an apple from hubby's backpack though.

76. Plumed Whistling-Duck

I have never seen these guys before, they seemed happy to be hanging around parts of the zoo where they could find water. They were not in an aviary.

77. Dusky Moorhen

Fairly sure I got it right this time?? Another bunch of water birds who seemed to enjoy the surroundings and also not captive.

78. Rock Dove, 79. Silver Gull

A couple of quick snaps on the way to the ferry when I realised I didn't have these on my list this year, not common around my place.

80. Australian Raven

Snapped from the train on the way home, hopefully I can replace this one at some point as I do get these at home.

81. Wandering Whistling-Duck

In among the Plumed Whistling-Ducks.

Devster
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Oh the Gang Gangs are by far my favourite. I've yet to see these beautiful little birds. Also isn't your Pacific Gull a Silver Gull. Doesn't have quite the same size bill or the lipstick. Also I'm not sure if you have it but you also have a Wandering Whistling-Duck in with your Plumed Whistling-Ducks.

karentwemlow
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Oh yes I definitely meant Silver Gull, oops, I will change that, thanks Dev. And no didn't realise I had a Wandering Whistling-Duck, thank you for that too!

TommyGee
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Great birds Karen, I especially like the Gang gang. And how good was that sneaky Wandering Whistling Duck? 

sue818
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Well done, Karen, I bet the boys enjoyed the day out. Stunning views of the harbour from there. Good catch getting both Wandering and Plumed Whistling-ducks in one photos.

karentwemlow
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I went out for a bushwalk this morning to the Blue Gum Swamp/Shaws Ridge Trail in Winmalee. I spent about 3 hours doing the loop, there were a lot of birds and many that I missed. I need to go slower next time or allow 5 hours maybe.

82. Rufous Fantail

I saw a few Rufous Fantails, thought of you Sue when this was the best pic I got of one. Do you think it is identifiable?? I can remove if not. There were plenty of them there, I hope to get a better pic if I go back.

83. Fan-tailed Cuckoo

This one posed for me very briefly.

84. Red-browed Finch

These are another little bird that I used to get at home by the dozen, but not since last summer.

I also saw quite a few thornbills, am I right in thinking this last pic is a Brown Thornbill?

Alex Rogers
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Fantastic to see all these lovely birds. Those Yellow-Tufted are one of my favourite honeyeaters, SO smart and striking. And your walk looks great too - I imagine that is the Colo coming out of the BM? Such a lovely part of the world

karentwemlow
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I had the yellow-tufted honeyeaters everywhere last year during the bushfires. I think they struggled to find water and I had plenty out for them. It's the Grose River down there at Vale of Avoca lookout. The Colo River is a little further north (from where I am anyway). I'm going to do this walk again very soon and spend a little more time there, now that I know how long that track is.

TommyGee
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I love the Red Browed Finch Karen, that's a cute little bird indeed.

sue818
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Nice shot of the Fan-tailed Cuckoo as well but I love those little birds.

karentwemlow
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Yes I have a soft spot for the little birds too :-). One more to add from yesterday....

85. White-eared Honeyeater

This one visited me last night. This used to be the second most common bird species I'd see at my place (behind the yellow-faced honeyeater) but I haven't seen one in almost a year I don't think. I just started hearing them in the last month so knew they were around, was good to get a pic, even if a tad blurry.

Devster
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Nice. I've never seen one as we don't get them up hear

karentwemlow
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Out for a walk around the man made lake at Norwest with Grandma and Grandad this morning as they looked after my son while I went to the dentist there.. just the one to add.

86. House Sparrow

dwatsonbb
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Love hearing about your trips Karen. Heading toward 100, you are going well. Some great photos of some nice birds, well done.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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87. Large-billed Scrubwren

Found this one on my camera from another Mount Tomah trip the weekend before last. Have I got the ID correct for this?

sue818
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Looks like a Large-billed Scrubwren to me. Looking forward to all those new birds from Queensland and what a wonderful birthday and honeymoon trip.

karentwemlow
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Just back yesterday from my rescheduled 50th birthday holiday to Thala Nature Reserve near Port Douglas. What an absolutely fantastic place!! We all loved it. Lots of swimming, eating, walking and a bit of birdwatching. 

I had problems with my camera the week before we were due to leave, and couldn't organise to get it fixed as I was trapped at home due to surrounding floods so I ended up ordering a new camera and got it delivered to my in-laws place, received it in time to take with me. It's not as easy to use as my old camera. I heard so many new bird calls up there, I didn't see them all, and of the ones I did see, I didn't photograph them all, and of the ones I did photograph, many were unrecognisable 'blurds'. So, I ended up with just 18 new ones, but I'm happy with that. I did see what I think was a Forest Kingfisher and I saw some Lovely Fairy-wrens but they were too quick for me. The young python my son spotted on a night walk was also too fast as it slipped off into the night. 

Let me know if I've misidentified any of them. I got the Tattler ID'd on the ABID facebook page. For many of them I haven't been able to find factsheets.

88. Bar-shouldered Dove

89. Olive-backed Sunbird (can't find factsheet)

90. Black Butcherbird (can't find factsheet)

91. Australasian Figbird

92. Green Oriole (can't find factsheet)

93. Helmeted Friarbird (can't find factsheet)

94. Metallic Starling (can't find factsheet)

95. Orange-footed Scrubfowl

96. Mistletoebird

97. Spangled Drongo

98. Fairy Gerygone (can't find factsheet)

99. Wandering Tattler (can't find factsheet)

100. Dusky Honeyeater (can't find factsheet)

101. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (can't find factsheet)

102. Rainbow Bee-eater

103. Brown-capped Emerald-Dove (can't find factsheet)

104. Peaceful Dove

105. Double-eyed Fig-parrot (can't find factsheet)

Alex Rogers
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Oh wow - so many amazing birds! What a great trip. I love the Sunbird in particular!

What camera did you get? Its always tricky learning new gear, but it can be very rewarding if it extends your possibilities. 

karentwemlow
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Thanks Alex. The new camera is a Nikon Coolpix A1000. I just find it hard to get my bearings through it. I have a Nikon D3500 with a 70-300mm lens which keeps detatching itself. I find it much easier to locate what I'm looking for, though the zoom on the A1000 is better and it also allows me to do 'normal' photos, plus it was much smaller for traveling.

The sunbirds were awesome, there were many around. I didn't realise how tiny they were. The butterflies up there were bigger than the sunbirds and there were plenty of them around too. 

dwatsonbb
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Nice work Karen, congrats on your 100 also. Lovely birds with some great shots.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

AbbyGrace
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Looks like you had an amazing holiday Karen. Would love to get up that way sometime. Love the Sunbird.

sue818
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Lovely shots, Karen. The trip sounds wonderful and you have seen some great birds... I love th little Sunbirds and the Mettaic Starlings are so iridescent with those amazing red eyes. However, the Wandering Tattler is my favourite. Well done.

karentwemlow
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Dale - thanks! My son wants to visit Tasmania next, so probably next year. He says we should visit all around Australia before we go to another country (we may have no choice, but I'm happy with that anyway :-)).

Abby it was beautiful, I absolutely recommend it. The place I stayed was kind of expensive but it was really worth it I think. They are having a 'flash sale' on at the moment and accommodation is half price for stays until December this year. https://www.discoverqueensland.com.au/book/step-0.php?property_id=353

Thanks Sue, yes I had an email from one of the guys in the garden department who told me they were all very excited about the Wandering Tattler. Lucky I went back for that second shot hey? I was reading that they breed in north eastern Russia and Alaska, they certainly do wander far!

karentwemlow
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106. Jacky Winter

I visited a friend nearby and Leo had a playdate with her grandkids. Her husband watched the kids while we birdwatched around their beautiful property. I borrowed her P900 camera and found it SOOO much easier to use than my A1000, if only I'd had that in Queensland. Oh well.

And got my first Jacky Winter pic of the year.

karentwemlow
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And a couple more but with my camera (sigh).

107. Double-barred Finch

108. Wedge-tailed Eagle

sue818
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That is a lovely shot of a Jacky Winter, Karen. More play dates planned?
Hindsight never helps so just practice a lot with your new camera till you have it sorted. Also helps to sit low & wait & the birds will come closer. 

karentwemlow
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Thanks Sue. I have rented a P1000 to play with for 3 months. The A1000 has been returned as the screen was dodgy, it flickered off while using. It was so hard to use, everything was so tiny through the viewfinder. Am enjoying the P1000 but it is heavy. It is also not the same quality of photo as my D3500 but it does get me closer to the birds. I may keep it. I have an option to buy after 3 months.

I have a uni assignment due next week and an exam on the 10th June so will be organising another play date after that for sure!

sue818
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 Good luck witch the exam and I hope the camera works out well. I have heard it is a little heavy which makes it shame there is not a tripod mounting ring. Try resting on a wheat bag for stability.

karentwemlow
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It does have a tripod mounting ring, I have used it to take some pics of the moon :-)

dwatsonbb
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Nice work (it is not really work tho is it) again Karen. Jacky Winter is not something we have, so am loving seeing all the "big island" birds.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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Sorry Karen, thought I read there was no tripod mounting ring. Great shot of the moon so I should have realised, silly me. Looking forward to seeing more form the new setup.

Devster
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Oh wow Karen so many great birds there. I am jealous of the Fig Parrot and the Emerald doves as they always seem to elude me. Great shot of the Metaclic Starlings. So many wonderfu; birds hard to pick a favourite. I am quite partial to the Sunbirds. I know what you mean about how small they are and about the big butterflies up there. Cairns Birdwing - Largest Butterfly in Australia compared to Sunbird - about finch size

TommyGee
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What great shots Karen! I love the Sunbird in particular. Never seen one before, just gorgeous.

karentwemlow
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This is the view from the verandah where Leo does piano lessons once a week. So I stay out here with my cuppa and camera for half an hour. I'm not sure what these white birds are, can anyone ID? Are they domestic ducks??

Great zoom with the P1000.

AbbyGrace
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Nice view Karen, I would say they are Cattle Egret. 

karentwemlow
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Thanks Abby I did save the pics on my computer as cattle egret initially.... then looked and thought oh maybe they are ducks! Either way they are new for my list :-) .

karentwemlow
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110. Rose Robin

Went for a bushwalk down near the Vale of Avoca lookout and down to the Grose River today. I hadn't charged my camera so the battery died on me once we got to the bottom, but not before I snapped a pic of a Rose Robin. I wasn't sure of the ID, have only seen them twice and it was a fair way up a tree. But someone confirmed for me on ABID. 

Pretty terrible photo but it's not a bird I see a lot so I'm quite happy with it!

We bumped into the lovely guys from Grose Vale RFS doing a training exercise on the way out and they asked Leo if he wanted to hop into the truck, made his day :-)

sue818
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Well done, Karen... I especialy love Leo in the coat! That camera is proving quite useful and what anamazing range!

Devster
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That is so adorable. Him in the firemans jacket is priceless. That zoom really is good

karentwemlow
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Thanks :-)

Grose Vale RFS posted these pics on their Facebook page too, there were 5 or 6 guys there and they seemed to love sharing their truck with Leo.

This morning I added another 'piano bird' from the verandah of Loe's piano lesson. Thanks for the help with the ID Sue, I have never seen one of these before.

111. Straw-necked Ibis

dwatsonbb
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A budding young firie I reckon. Getting some great birds. I have the P900 to carry at work, love the zoom, but hate the viewfinder. How do you find the viewfinder on the P1000?

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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Aargh, so here's my frustrating camera story.... I have a Nikon D3500 with 70-300mm zoom. The zoom lens broke, cracked at the base and wouldn't attach properly. I thought I might use this opportunity to find a camera with a better zoom. I bought the Nikon A1000. The zoom was great but the viewfinder was shocking! That's the one I took to North QLD and missed many birds I'm sure. I then took it to a friend's place one day and she has the P900, compared to the A1000 I loved her P900, including the viewfinder so I started looking to maybe buy that instead. I sent the A1000 back for a refund. I couldn't find the P900 at a reasonable price so I rented the P1000 to test it out. The P1000 is HEAVY and big. The zoom is great, but the viewfinder is even better, it's fantastic. I don't know that I realised that at the time. But I decided it's too heavy and big and I remembered how I liked my friend's P900 so when I found the P900 at a reasonable price I bought it. Now I realise the viewfinder is horrible in the P900. It makes me feel the A1000 viewfinder must be really really bad because the P900 was great in comparison.

So.... I've come full circle and bought a new 70-300mm lens for the D3500. I now have the D3500 with new 300mm zoom, and the P900. I'm going to stop spending money now.

While the 3000mm (P1000) and 2000mm (P900) zooms are great, if I can see the birds with the naked eye to start with, the 300mm zoom is enough to get a photo of them. Not sure what I'll use the P900 for, maybe will sell it later, will see how it goes.

But to answer your question, the viewfinder in the D3500 is pretty good but the P1000 has the best viewfinder of all of these.

karentwemlow
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112. Restless Flycatcher

Another one from Leo's morning piano lesson. This time with the new P900. This little one flew and sat on a railing right near me just long enough for me to get a photo :-). 

dwatsonbb
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Thanks Karen. It can be confusing, what some find great, others will hate for whatever reason.

I only use the P900 at work, and on my mate's boat, where I can't afford the risk of carrying the DSLR and long lens. I have tried using the "live view" on the screen of the P900, but I just can't get used to it.

I have spent way too much on camera gear, and every time I turn round, I find another gadget, which "might come in handy one day".

While good equipment help, you still need to be able to find the subject, and that is where my old eyes let me down.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

karentwemlow
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I do agree re the P900 viewfinder, it is way too small and hard to see through. I also had trouble trying to get used to the live view, especially being off to the side, I just can't quite get bearing and direction properly. I wear glasses for reading and up close work so if I'm looking at a screen I do better with glasses, but then I can't see distance to find the birds.... Provided the birds are kind of obvious, not obscured by foliage in treetops etc, I can manage it through the viewfinder. But it's difficult otherwise. The new 300mm zoom is waiting for me at the post office, back to what I found most comfortable. At least I tried hey?

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