Tom's Big Year 2021

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TommyGee
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Tom's Big Year 2021

Time to get things rolling!

I had such a great time last year, despite joining in the 2020 Challenge late (end of October) so this year I'm raising my sights. 150 birds is my target! Aim high, I say.

It's funny; as the year ticked over, I've found myself looking at all the common birds around here with a fresh eye... they're back in the game :) I could definitely get used to this annual challenge caper.

We had a few days in Hobart just after New Year's, and I visited a few likely spots, trying to snap some endemics before we left. I found a couple.

1. Common Blackbird

2. Little Wattlebird

3. Silver Gull

4. Masked Lapwing

5. Yellow Wattlebird

6. House Sparrow

7. Rock Pigeon

8. Tasmanian Nativehen

9. Laughing Kookaburra

10. Pacific Black Duck

11. Australian Magpie

12. Common Greenfinch. I couldn't find a factsheet for this one.

2021 Common Blackbird by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Little Wattlebird by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Silver Gull by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Masked Lapwing by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Yellow Wattlebird by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 House Sparrow by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Rock Pigeon by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Tasmanian Nativehen by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Laughing Kookaburra by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Pacific Black Duck by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Australian Magpie by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Common Greenfinch by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

TommyGee
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Back home again, and the weather cleared up nicely... just in time for me to make the most of the rest of my holidays!

13. Superb Fairywren (male and female)

14. Magpie-lark

15. Dusky Moorhen

16. Purple Swamphen

17. Eurasian Coot

18. Greater Crested Tern

19. Little Raven

20. Rainbow Lorikeet

21. Australasian Grebe

22. Chestnut Teal

2021 Superb Fairywren (male) by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Superb Fairywren (female) by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Magpie-Lark by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Dusky Moorhen by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Purple Swamphen by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Eurasian Coot by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Greater Crested Tern by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Little Raven by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Rainbow Lorikeet by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Australian Grebe by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Chestnut Teal by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

TommyGee
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And today, a late stroll around the local botanic gardens.

23. New Holland Honeyeater

24. Australian Wood Duck

25. Spotted Dove

26. Brown Thornbill

27. Grey Fantail

2021 New Holland Honeyeater by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Australian Wood Duck by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Spotted Dove by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Brown Thornbill by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Grey Fantail by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

dannyka6
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Nice start, everyone is getting right into the game early this year!

karentwemlow
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Great variety Tom, and awesome start to the year, I reckon you are going to smash 150! 

A question though, I can't find Crested Tern in the WLAB, only Greater Crested Tern or Lesser Crested Tern. I know it's possibly because WLAB is not up to date but that's the list we are working off - do you know which one yours fits into? Sue may know too?

TommyGee
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Thanks Karen! Definitely a Greater Crested Tern. The only factsheet I could find was for "Crested Tern" but upon opening it, it actually was referring to the Greater, so I ran with it.

TommyGee
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I met this little beauty while hanging out the washing today :) he obligingly hung around while I went back inside for my camera.

28. White Plumed Honeyeater.

2021 White Plumed Honeyeater by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

karentwemlow
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Thanks Tom, I will update to Greater Crested Tern. I had hoped that the factsheets would match the list as I'm just copying and pasting from factsheets on each post. But nothing is ever that simple it seems!

I love the White-plumed Honeyeater :-). They are so much smaller than they look in photos, and such pretty little things.

karentwemlow
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Oh also, number 12 from your first post, is that a Common Blackbird?

karentwemlow
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Sorry ignore my last post I was looking at the wrong photo!

dwatsonbb
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Tom, great start to the year. Thinking 150 should be easy, although as year  gets older, it also gets colder, and perhaps more difficult.

Well done. I also think I see some improvement with the quality of your images.

Look forward to seeing plenty more from you, thanks for sharing.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

TommyGee
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Thanks Dale. I'm taking more photos now, so I'd say having more to choose from makes a difference... also being a little more relaxed definitely helps.

TommyGee
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A few more from the weekend.

29. Australasian Darter.

30. Australian White Ibis.

31. Galah.

32. Noisy Miner.

2021 Australasian Darter by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Australian White Ibis by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Galah by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Noisy Miner by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

Devster
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Oh wow. 32 species already Tom. You have hit the ground running. I agree with Dale, I also see an improvement in your images. It does help when you don't have to rush.

Alex Rogers
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Nice work Tom! Some great birds, and its fun when you see your photography improving, isn't it? Yes, taking lots of shots helps, not just to have more to choose from, but to see what works and what doesn't. Love your White-plumed Honeyeater and Galah shots. 

TommyGee
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A grey morning in Berwick today.

33. White-Faced Heron.

34. Red Wattlebird.

35. Eastern Rosella.

2021 White-Faced Heron by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Red Wattlebird by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

2021 Eastern Rosella by Tom Cummings, on Flickr

sue818
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Wow, great start to the year, Tom. I also think your photography is improving.
 

Should be an interesting year with the East Coast and Tasmania pretty well covered. You will enjoy yourself, finding new birds for the challenge and for your life list.

TommyGee
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36. Common Myna. Quite striking up close! 

TommyGee
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Thanks Sue! So many birds are new to me, I didn't even know what "lifer" meant until I looked it up just now. Now I know :) and I have 4 lifers this year already!

I will be getting up to Queensland and down to Tasmania again in the next few months, so hopefully I'll be able to get good coverage up and down the coast. Fingers crossed.

karentwemlow
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The Common Myna has beautiful eyes. I agree they are lovely up close, nice pic :-)

dannyka6
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Some great photos coming through, love the baby Galah and Myna shots, as well as the Darter - those wings look so good!

TommyGee
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A couple more from today's lake walk. For a suburb, Berwick has quite a few birds!

37. Common Starling.

38. Australian Pelican.

TommyGee
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39. Crested Pigeon. Such manic eyes!

40. Black Swan. I couldn't do anything about the wires in the foreground (it's a section of the lake that's being rehabilitated) but this will do for now.

41. Little Pied Cormorant. Such a cute bird :)

TommyGee
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We went for a walk along the Balcombe Creek Estuary Boardwalk this morning, which was just lovely. Most of the birds were staying away, but this little fella posed quite happily. Another first :)

42. Eastern Yellow Robin.

TommyGee
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Dropping the little guy at day care this morning, and I came across three Straw-Necked Ibises just wandering around nearby. Ducked home and grabbed the camera, they weren't going anywhere!

43. Straw-Necked Ibis.

dannyka6
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Love those Yellow Robin shots, so adorable and how close up!!

sue818
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Beautiful shots, Tom. I think you may have caught the birding bug when you race home for the camera!

TommyGee
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Sue, I think you just might be right :)

TommyGee
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I popped over to Pakenham last week, to try and find the blue-billed ducks that Danika found... and I did! But when I tried to upload my photos, the card corrupted and I lost the lot.

Today, I went back and thankfully they were still there. No lost files this time!

44. Blue-Billed Duck.

sue818
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Oh Tom, we have probably all had that happen. I reformat my cards for a fresh start quite often to avoid these things if possible. It may still happen but a bit less likely.

So pleased you managed to find the Blue-billed Ducks again.

dannyka6
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Nice going! I'm excited you found the ducks, and looks like a much nicer day when you were there. I'm watching your locations with interest too, it's great that we can share bird spots since we're relatively near to each other

TommyGee
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I've had my eye out for a butcherbird at our local lake for a while, but it wasn't until this morning that one showed up.

45. Grey Butcherbird.

TommyGee
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I'm back in Gatton for a few days :) with the wife and (some of the) kids, visiting our granddaughter who is now 7 weeks old and so very wonderful <3

And of course, I brought my camera. 

46. Blue-Faced Honeyeater. Found a few of these hanging out on the power pole out the front of my daughter's house.

47. Pale-Headed Rosella. At least, I think it is... the head is quite yellow though.

sue818
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Yes, definitely Pale-headed Rosella. I did a double-take until I realised you were in Qld not Victoria! You definitely have the birding bug now! Nice ones, Tom.

TommyGee
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48. Pied Currawong.

49. Australian Brush-turkey.

Alex Rogers
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Some great photos Tommy - love the Yellow Robin shots :-) I think they are one of the most cooperative of all the birds - they will often follow me through the forest, perching neatly in an attractive pose, watching what I am doing. I wonder if they are really curious, or if they habitually follow larger mammals hoping we will stir up some bugs for them. 

TommyGee
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Alex Rogers wrote:

Some great photos Tommy - love the Yellow Robin shots :-) I think they are one of the most cooperative of all the birds - they will often follow me through the forest, perching neatly in an attractive pose, watching what I am doing. I wonder if they are really curious, or if they habitually follow larger mammals hoping we will stir up some bugs for them. 

Thanks Alex, that was a first for me. Gorgeous little bird and yes, so friendly!

TommyGee
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Back from Queensland today... thank goodness for green zones. It's nice to be home!

Here's the rest of the birds I found while we were up north.

50. Cattle Egret. 

51. Little Corella.

52. Black-Faced Cuckooshrike. Pretty sure about this, although the black face isn't well defined. I'm guessing a juvenile?

53. Pied Stilt.

54. Peaceful Dove. A lifer and a lovely little bird.

55. Willie Wagtail.

56. Australasian Figbird. Absolutely terrible photo, I just couldn't get the focus but it's enough for an ID... and another lifer.

57. Magpie Goose.

58. Plumed Whistling-Duck. I never seem to get great shots of these, but this one caught the light just enough to show off the eye and some of the plumes.

59. Grey Teal.

Devster
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Another nice lot there Tom. Did you visit the Gatton Uni? There are heaps of birds there

Alex Rogers
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You are on a good run Tommy, and some nice photos too :-) 

Yes, 52 is a Black-faced Cuckooshrike, the immature birds have much paler faces and its thrown me a few times too :-) 

TommyGee
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Devster wrote:

Another nice lot there Tom. Did you visit the Gatton Uni? There are heaps of birds there

I certainly did. Lake Galletly is looking very low right now but it's still teeming with birdlife. Not as many this trip as in December but still worth the drive. Funnily enough, the UQ Gatton campus is why my daughter and her fiancee moved there... he's just been accepted into Vet Med at Gatton. So there's plenty of trips north in my future :) 

TommyGee
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Alex Rogers wrote:

You are on a good run Tommy, and some nice photos too :-) 

Yes, 52 is a Black-faced Cuckooshrike, the immature birds have much paler faces and its thrown me a few times too :-) 

Thanks Alex! I was pretty sure but it's nice to get confirmation. 

TommyGee
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I was in Drouin on the weekend, helping another of my daughters move house, and spotted a couple of wedge-tailed eagles circling in the distance. Luckily I had my camera in the truck... terrible photos, they were so far away! But EBC. I've cropped and zoomed these considerably. Yet another lifer.

60. Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

Alex Rogers
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Oh nice - always wonderful to see these spectacular birds. I've always only seen them in the distance too - I'd love to see them close up one day. 

dwatsonbb
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Fantastic you able to move around Tommy. You getting some great photos of some nice birds. Looking forward to see how many you can't get over the full year. Please keep them coming.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

TommyGee
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Thanks Alex & Dale, I was really happy with the Wedge-tailed Eagle especially given how far away she was! 

TommyGee
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Running some errands this morning and I found myself near the Casey Aqueduct Trail... decided to spend 20 minutes checking it out (thanks for the tip, Abby). Gorgeous little walk, I will have to go back for a proper stroll.

61. Crimson Rosella.

62. White-Throated Treecreeper having a munch on a moth. Not completely sure, I think this is a juvenile female, so I've posted a terrible second photo to show the white throat. 

AbbyGrace
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Nice photos, especially love the Cattle Egret! Yep the Aqueduct Trail is a great birding walk, glad you enjoyed it. Hoping to get out there again soon.

TommyGee
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Another couple from the Casey Aqueduct trail, the wife and I went for a lunchtime walk today. Have to say I'm loving working from home!

63. Yellow-Faced Honeyeater.

64. Sacred Kingfisher (with lunch).

And that equals my 2020 total, although to be fair I didn't start until late October.

AbbyGrace
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Such a cool photo of the Kingfisher with its lunch! 

Alex Rogers
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Lovely Kingfisher shot! They are such beautiful birds - and often obliging enough to let you know they are in the area by being really vocal. Well done on topping last years total - you are well into what looks like being a real Big Year this year :-) 

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