Michael's belated Big Year Challenge

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michaelrt71_1
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Michael's belated Big Year Challenge

Locked down to 10km from-home-zone currently, so a fine time to start a new project, only 8 months late.

Going back to Jan 21 to begin the catch-up from St George's Basin area. I'll start slow and see if my tech skills are up to it...

1. Chestnut Teal - one male and two females

2. Rainbow Lorrikeet - usual suspects

3. Azure Kingfisher - fuzzy but it counts?

4. Australian Pelican - team-pose as we paddled past in canoe

5. Eastern Osprey - beside creek entering the basin.

dwatsonbb
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Hi Michael, welcome. Some great photos.

Your Azure Kingfisher will count, but only if you add the photo! At least I can't see it. It is easy to get caught up and make such mistakes.

I am looking forward to seeing it though.

Thanks for posting.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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Hmmm. Difficult to count to 5...apologies. I have added it now...I hope.

Thanks

Alex Rogers
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Hello Michael - how excellent, another one to join in :-) And a Sydney local too - welcome! Some lovely pics to get you started - and some cool birds as well. Love the pelican shot! 

michaelrt71_1
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Bawley Point first photos and ID of these 2 (Easter)

6. Red-capped Plover 

7. Scarlet Honeyeater - flew under the outdoor table, wouldn't be coaxed into a better light for photo

Back to the Basin

8. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo 

9. Crimson Rosella

michaelrt71_1
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Local beach back home, Wollongong.

10. Nankeen Kestrel - nice wind for a hover and a hunt. Second pic: you may see the little legs of Fairy-wren catch in left talon.

Local trail - Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest (June)

11. Spotted Pardalote - Good pose, but dark in the bush.

12. Red-browed finch

13. Eastern Yellow Robin - always keen to have their photo taken

michaelrt71_1
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Into LGA July lockdown, so safely confined to my local beaches, local creek and rainforest trail runs. Beautiful spots, lucky to be locked down here, if anywhere...

14. New Holland Honeyeater - Port beach

15. Grey Fantail - back on forest trail

Near Port beach: Kelp Gull teaching young to drop and smash molluscs on the exposed rocks

16. Kelp Gull

17. Welcome Swallow - resting on the leeward side of headland

18. Little Pied Cormorant - fishing and then drying out.

19. Sooty Oystercatcher

20. Silver gull: one appropriately silver, the other sadly sooty.

dwatsonbb
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Great photos Michael, your Azure Kngisher is certainly clear enough for ID. Glad to see your adding photos from earlier this year. Some really good birds, most would be new to me. Thanks again for sharing

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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21. Grey Butcherbird

22. Laughing Kookaburra

23. Noisy Miner

24. Crested Pigeon

25. Satin Bowerbird (fml)

26. Willie Wagtail

27. Little Corella

28. Superb Fairy-Wren

29. Australian White Ibis

30. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo

dwatsonbb
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You have got some really nice photos there Michael, and putting some good numbers together. Thanks again for joining in and sharing.

I really enjoy seeing birds which are not found in my neck of the woods.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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Thanks Dale,

I think my input will start to slow as I run out of 'local government area' birds. I have learnt from scrolling other folks' Big Year Challenges that EBC, which is a nice way to revisit and focus on the common and easily ignored birds. A good way to practise the photography, without waiting for the rarity of a new bird.

This is also a big kick in the pants to organise all my digital files!

Cheers,

Alex Rogers
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Michael, great to see all these birds - and some great photos too :-) That Scarlet Honeyeater is amazing, what a good sighting. And I didn't know Kelp Gulls came this far north, I've never seen them in NSW - such cool gulls. Love the shell-cracking photo. 

Yeah, birding is an exercise in patience at the moment. I've made a conscious adjustment to give away my pursuit of big numbers and new birds this year, its just not going to happen - so I'm just having fun observing the locals more closely, and trying to get better at photographing them and learning new things about them. Which is really the point anyway :-) 

Sounds like you have a good variety of habitats in your LGA though, so I reckon you've got a lot of scope to catch up while we are in lockdown - Sue and I at least wont be going too many places for a while either - so I'm looking forward to seeing more of your Illawarra birds :-) 

TommyGee
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Great photos Michael. For me, your Butcherbird (one of my absolute favourite birds) is the pick of the bunch.

I hear you on being stuck in your LGA, I'm in Melbourne and we totally get it. But as a newcomer, I was amazed at just how many birds I could find in my local area... close to 50 species at our local lake alone! It also made me appreciate the birds I saw frequently, rather than going crazy trying to find new birds.

Looking forward to seeing more photos :) 

Devster
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Welcome Michael. Always great to have others join the challenge. It really has been a challenge this year with all the lock downs. Loving your photos. BTW I recon thats a juv Male Satin Bowerbird with that pale beak. Females tend to have a dark grey beak. Is that Silver Gul just really dirty or is in Melanistic?

dwatsonbb
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Dev, it was posted in Identifications, and with Michaels permission posted elswhere - general consensus was coal or oil contaminated water, or possibly tannin. There is still a chance of some melanism (apparently a few have been sighted), but as Sue mentioned, the legs and bill were darker (on the melansitic bird).

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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Hi Alex,

Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, an effort in investigating my local spots is healthy in lots of ways. In particular, I have never spent time birding at the beach (which is for surfing), or around other water environments; it was mainly an activity for the bush.

My son found the scarlet honey-eater, and we all thought it was injured because it wouldn't fly away - turns out it was just waiting for us to go away :)

michaelrt71_1
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Thanks Devster,

I see what you're saying about the beak; in this situation, should I alter/edit the original post? In saying that, if I take a clearer shot of the same species (which I am hoping-to catch an older male) do I just post it in the next set, without notching up the count?

Gull is really dirty; got a severe talking to from it's mum for 'not washing properly'.

Cheers,

Michael

michaelrt71_1
michaelrt71_1's picture

TommyGee wrote:

Great photos Michael. For me, your Butcherbird (one of my absolute favourite birds) is the pick of the bunch.

I hear you on being stuck in your LGA, I'm in Melbourne and we totally get it. But as a newcomer, I was amazed at just how many birds I could find in my local area... close to 50 species at our local lake alone! It also made me appreciate the birds I saw frequently, rather than going crazy trying to find new birds.

Looking forward to seeing more photos :) 

Cheers Tommy,

The butcherbird still fascinates with it's gurgling song and will often pose long enough for me to get the lens cap off, unlike many other locals.

michaelrt71_1
michaelrt71_1's picture

Snuck out early to local spots before work and picked up a couple more.

Puckey's Reserve - some usual suspects

31. Australian Magpie

32. Silvereye

33. Red-whiskered bulbul - skipped around in the shadow before presenting nicely in the sun.

34. Little Wattlebird

Bellambi Lagoon

35. Dusky Moorhen

36. Little Egret - think I got this one right; the long feather at the back of the head.

Coomaditchy Lagoon

37. Great Cormorant 

38. Fan-tailed Cuckoo - the eye just caught the light

39. Pied Cormorant

Alex Rogers
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Great shgots, keep them coming! Love the Little Wattlebird and Bulbul pictures especially. 

sue818
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Wow, Michael, you are off to a great start. Welcome! Love the variety and difficult to pick a favourite... maybe the Red-capped Plover and Scarlet Honeyeater. Also impressed with your ID skills.

A couple of comments, if I may:

A Silver Gull from the Illawarra has been posted on ABID (Australian Birds ID facebook group) in last few days and consensus is that it is soiled. It appears to be the same gull as yours.

Love the Bronze-cuckoo but wondering how you decided on Horsfield's rather than Shining as the indicative dark eye-stripe is not very evident. I realise that photos only tell so much and you may have seen it clearly on the day. Either one is a great bird to see, so well done. 

Looking forward to more as you explore your neighbourhood.

michaelrt71_1
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sue818 wrote:

Wow, Michael, you are off to a great start. Welcome! Love the variety and difficult to pick a favourite... maybe the Red-capped Plover and Scarlet Honeyeater. Also impressed with your ID skills.

A couple of comments, if I may:

A Silver Gull from the Illawarra has been posted on ABID (Australian Birds ID facebook group) in last few days and consensus is that it is soiled. It appears to be the same gull as yours.

Love the Bronze-cuckoo but wondering how you decided on Horsfield's rather than Shining as the indicative dark eye-stripe is not very evident. I realise that photos only tell so much and you may have seen it clearly on the day. Either one is a great bird to see, so well done. 

Looking forward to more as you explore your neighbourhood.

Horsfield's or Shining Bronze-cuckoo? I think it's a rookie error, as I wasn't even aware of the shining one, but having asked dr google images, I see what you mean by the eyebrow mark. Do I edit the original or scrap it as unclear? Another photo of same bird, same day, attached might clarify as Shining...

Cheers,

And thanks for the help :)

sue818
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Yes, that photo clinches it as Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Just edit the previous post to the correct ID and fact sheet now that it is clarified. We all get confused by similar species so don't be too concerned. Any of us will help if we can.

FYI: Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo has a dark eye-stripe, broad white supercilium (think eyebrow) and rufous sides to base of uppertail all of which this bird is lacking. Hope you don't mind that bit of learning.

michaelrt71_1
michaelrt71_1's picture

sue818 wrote:

Yes, that photo clinches it as Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Just edit the previous post to the correct ID and fact sheet now that it is clarified. We all get confused by similar species so don't be too concerned. Any of us will help if we can.

FYI: Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo has a dark eye-stripe, broad white supercilium (think eyebrow) and rufous sides to base of uppertail all of which this bird is lacking. Hope you don't mind that bit of learning.

That works for me! The Shining Bronze-Cuckoo is a bird I've never seen before.

Much appreciated.

dwatsonbb
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Some more great birds Michael. I am yet to see any cuckoos, here them often at certain times of the year, but can't get one in view.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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Local - Mt Keira

40 Golden Whistler - over-exposed, but took off before I could adjust

41 Lewin's Honeyeater

42 Olive-backed Oriole

43 Topknot Pigeon - dark, but hoping the 'orange mullet' is enough to ID, the white stripe on the tail feathers too.

44 Australian King Parrot

Back to the beach and Bellambi Lagoon

45 Magpie Lark

Pelican - already counted, but I love the pose

46 White-faced Heron - flew past as I was high (altitude!) on a dune

sue818
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Well done, Michael. Some nice birds there including a definite Topknot Pigeon. Lovely capture of the bird in flight. Bring on 50!

karentwemlow
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Welcome Michael! What a great 'belated' start to your big year challenge. 

I will try to get you added to our stats sheet today :-)

michaelrt71_1
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karentwemlow wrote:

Welcome Michael! What a great 'belated' start to your big year challenge. 

I will try to get you added to our stats sheet today :-)

Oops; apologies! I didn't realise I was creating work for someone. But, thanks when it happens!

sue818
sue818's picture

Seems Karen was quite timely as you are now represented in the Stats, Michael. You will find it under the Forum of Big Year Challenge. A wonderful way to see what common birds you are missing apart from other things. Great to se yo7 off to such a good start.

michaelrt71_1
michaelrt71_1's picture

More local's from parks, powerlines and ponds.

47 Galah

48 White-headed pigeon

49 Spotted dove

50 Sulphur-crested cockatoo - a classic for the half-century? (if I can count properly)

51 White-throated tree-creeper - distant but hopefully passable, couldn't believe I couldn't get closer, then once I got back to the car, I realise the lens (new, not used to it yet) had crept back to 150mm.

52 Grey Shrike-thrush - same

53 Pied currawong

54 Common Myna

55 Eurasian Coot

56 Australasian figbird (ml and fml) together in the same tree

57 Common blackbird

58 Masked lapwing - have seen them nearly everyday for as long as I can remember, first photo ever.

59 Australian Brush-turkey

Thanks for the stats Karen, and hints Sue; I am on to it.

dwatsonbb
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Again some great photos. Your "hopefully passable" shots or more than passable, they are really good - not that I can confirm ID, but others will (not that your having any problem with ID anyway).

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Devster
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Wow look at you go Michael. Love the enthusiasm and the photos. Keep it up! I've come to a screaming holt and haven't picked up my camera for a few weeks now.

sue818
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Well done, Michael. wonderful to see your posts... I especially like the White-headed Pigeon as I have not seen one in ages.

michaelrt71_1
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Thanks for the support, Devster. I imagine I am approaching a similar halt, as travelling is further confined. For now its also a good excuse for me to get fresh air and I have just got a new heavy-weight lens (for me at least) that I am trying to learn. 

Cheers Sue: I sometimes see the white-headed pigeons as I drive to work, and they appear quite regal...but the one I captued last week looked like it had suffered a long and emotional night.

michaelrt71_1
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Pre-morning walks and out the car window on the way to/from work

60 Australasian Darter - having a wingspan competition with a cormorant. Coomaditchy Lagoon

61 Black Swan - Lake Illawarra

62 Eastern Curlew - first timer for me. Could not believe the length of bill. Lake Ill.

63 Pacific black duck

64 Variegated Fairy-wren - Puckey's/Fairymeadow beach

65 Caspian tern - fairly sure on this one, given the red/orange bill as opposed to the yellow of the crested tern? Lake Illawarra.

66 Australian Wood Duck - living up to it's name

67 Brown thornbill - cheeky rascal would not sit still - Mt Keira

Wollongong Golf Course

68 White-browed Scrubwren

69 Australian Raven immature - brown eye playing golf, older with white eye

70 European gold finch

71 Red wattlebird

sue818
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Wow, Michael, you are really getting into it. So pleased that you are finding some good spots for exercise. I had not realised that European Goldfinch are found so close to Sydney. Love the Red Wattlebird and the Eastern Curlew.

dwatsonbb
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Oh wow Michael, your going great guns. Some great finds there. I also love the Eastern Curlew, there are so many birds that would all be new to me.Thanks for sharing, I enjoy almost as much looking at others photos, as I do taking my own.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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72 Eastern Great Egret 

73 Intermediate Egret - no fact sheet but is in the BIrdlife working list.

replacement upgrade - 11 - sharper spotted pardalote

Devster
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Wow look at you go Michael. Love the size comparision from the Darter & Cormorant

Alex Rogers
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Some great shots, and cool birds. I've never seen a White-headed Pigeon, how cool. Didn't know they were donw here, but apparently their range is extending southwards - will keep an eye out, I wonder if I've just been dismissing too many pigeons as ferals!

michaelrt71_1
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74. White-bellied Sea-Eagle - along the southern edge of Lake Illawarra

75. Eastern Spinebill - Mt Keira

76. Wonga Pigeon - Mt Keira

Replacement Grey-shrike thrush (52) - also Mt Keira

Alex Rogers
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Some nice photos, you are going strong! You've got a decent variety of birds in your area! I haven't seen a Wonga Pigeon for years :-) 

dwatsonbb
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Again Michael, some great birds you have captured well.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
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Well done, Michael. Love the Eastern Spinebill hanging in there but so nice to see a Wonga Pigeon.

michaelrt71_1
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77. Yellow Thornbill - mt Nebo area walking trail

78. black-faced cuckoo-shrike - neighbour

79. Grey Goshawk - mt Nebo area walking trail

80. Common Starling - neighbour, lovely green sheen

dwatsonbb
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Some more great shots of some fantastic birds. We don't get the Yellow Thornbill, and our Grey Goshawk is the white morph (not yet sighted this year - hopefully soon!). Starlings can be very colourful with the right light and time of year.

Thanks again.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

michaelrt71_1
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81. Rock Dove - on MM beach

82. Purple Swamphen - Coomaditchy Lagoon

83. Australian Reed-Warbler - Coomaditchy Lagoon

84. Yellow-faced Honeyeater - Mt Nebo firetrail. 5 other species bouncing around this same coral tree yesterday morning.

Alex Rogers
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Good to see you getting new birds. Very dramatic shot of the honeyeater in the coral tree, lovely :-) 

sue818
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Great set, Michael. Good to see your late start has not held you back. Looking forward to more.

dwatsonbb
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Keep em coming Micheal, I am enjoying your work.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

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