Tom's Big Year 2021

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TommyGee
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Just one today, from Lysterfield Lake.

65. White-Eared Honeyeater.

sue818
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Great work, Tom, you have captured some nice birds this year already. Wonderful that you can move around as you will find lifers come your way. Like that Kingfisher shot with lunch!

Devster
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Well done on reaching last years total already. Love that kingfisher shot

TommyGee
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Thanks all :) the Kingfisher lunch pic was one of my "carpark" photos... seems every time I get back to my car and start packing up, I see one last bird in the distance atop a tree. It's happened 4 or 5 times just in the past few months! 

Found a couple of new birds on this morning's walk around Berwick Springs Lake... I didn't expect either of them. None of these photos are high quality but I'm pretty sure I've got these right.

66. Australian Reed-Warbler. 

67. Striated Pardalote.

TommyGee
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sue818 wrote:

Great work, Tom, you have captured some nice birds this year already. Wonderful that you can move around as you will find lifers come your way. Like that Kingfisher shot with lunch!

Won't be moving around much for a while Sue... lockdown's back here in Victoria. Glad I got out and about while I had the chance!

TommyGee
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Went for an evening walk to make the most of the day before our snap lockdown starts tonight, and I got lucky. I really struggle with the Welcome Swallows, my camera isn't fancy enough (and I'm not experienced enough) to get decent shots in flight, and I can never find them stationary. But this evening, I finally got one. It's heavily cropped and enlarged but I'm really happy with it... it looks just like the illustration in my Pizzey's Field Guide :)

68. Welcome Swallow.

sue818
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So sorry to hear of the new lockdown. Stay safe, Tom.

TommyGee
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Another couple from Berwick Springs lake from the past few days.

69. Domestic Duck.

70. Little Black Cormorant.

TommyGee
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Our daily walk around Berwick Springs lake is a habit we started during Melbourne's first comprehensive lockdown. It was our one hour of allotted daily exercise, and we quickly developed a real appreciation for the lake, the surrounding bush and the birds and animals that lived there. As restrictions lessened and then were lifted altogether, it's a habit we maintained... now I can't imagine not going for that walk every morning! It's an important part of our day and our self-care routine.

Also, it was noticing the birds on these walks that first got me interested in birdwatching. As a lockdown hobby it was a wonderful diversion but it quickly became more than that; I caught the bug, as Sue might say :) Funny how one thing leads to another, to another, to another.

We still walk the lake every morning; even in lockdown 3.0, that's allowed. I still take my camera. And I still keep seeing new birds for my list. One of the joys of being new to this hobby is that I am getting so many lifers!

Just a replacement pic today, for 48 - Pied Currawong. Spotted this morning, catching some rays.

Devster
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Looks like the one Cormorant is saying, "I once caught a fish this big" and the other is going "yea right, sure you did" Great light on the Currawong. Love their intense yellow eyes

sue818
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Well said, Tommy. So wonderful to watch as someone new to the game gets all these lifers and this is a healthy bug if you must catch one. Greatshot of the Pied Currawong and wonderful news that lockdown is over at midnight. Stay safe.

dannyka6
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Love all these lifers, and glad you got some time in QLD for a bit of variety as well. Thank goodness we're out of that 5 day lock down but looks like you made good use of it anyway :)

TommyGee
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Thanks all... yes, it's nice to be out and about again. Glad we stayed the course.

Now, I'm looking for confirmation on this one. I was at ParkRun on Saturday morning, and snapped what I thought was a pair of Little Corellas flying overhead... only to see what looks like Long-Billed Corellas instead! I didn't expect to find them here in south east Victoria but it's not unheard of, apparently. 

What do you think? Am I right, or am I dreaming?

71. Long-Billed Corella.

sue818
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Hi Tom, they are certainly seen in Melbourne and the photos are pretty clear cut with that red crescent on the throat, long bill and red above the bill. Well done.

Devster
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Yes well done Tom. Definitely Long-billed Corellas as Sue mentioned

AbbyGrace
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Yep they are Long-billed Corellas Tom. We get a few in Pakenham as well. 

Devster
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I can't remember where I was but I had a Parks and Wildlife person (I think thats who they were) tell a group I was with that we don't get Long-Billed Corellas in SE Qld. I laughed and said that's not true, I photograph them all the time. She asked where I said in Samford, but I said they are everywhere and hang out with the Little Corellas. She didn't like me after that. Ooops.

TommyGee
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Well I've learned something today. Thanks all for the confirmation!

TommyGee
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A quick couple of additions. I was driving through Pakenham yesterday afternoon and decided to stop at Edenbrook, after reading Abby's last post... and sure enough, the Royal Spoonbills were still there! Which made me very happy, it's the first time I've ever seen one in real life.

And on this morning's walk, I came across my first Great Cormorant.

72. Royal Spoonbill.

73. Great Cormorant.

Devster
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Well done Tom. Such a great feeling to get a lifer.

sue818
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Congrats on another lifer! One of my first birding photos but it took me ages to find a Yellow-billed Spoonbill.

AbbyGrace
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I'm glad I could help you get a lifer Tom. Nice photos of them too. Love the Great Cormorant as well.

TommyGee
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Thanks all :)

Yesterday I headed over to Shepherd's Bush in Wantirna... I've been keen to start walking the Dandenong Creek wetlands and seeing as I had the little guy and his stroller with me, I picked this one as it has decent walking tracks. I went at completely the wrong time of day, mid afternoon and it was hot! But I was not disappointed. Three lifers! Mind you, I only started late last year so I'm getting plenty of lifers ATM.

74. Golden Whistler. I love this photo.

75. Fan-Tailed Cuckoo.

76. Red-Browed Finch. I had one opportunity to get this shot so it's not great but I'm just happy to have seen it.

77. White-Browed Scrubwren.

Devster
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Love the Golden Whistler.! Cracking photo. You're smashing the lifers Tom. It gets harder as you go along which makes it even more exciting when you get one :)

TommyGee
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An unexpected visitor at Berwick Springs lake this morning! Haven't seen one of these here before.

78. Eastern Great Egret.

sue818
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Well done, Tom... another lifer! Love that Golden Whistler.

AbbyGrace
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Love the Golden Whistler!

TommyGee
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Thanks :) I was surprised when he flew out in front of me but luckily he stayed put for a few minutes.

Fun fact: more than half of my birds so far this year (42 out of 78), I've seen at my local lake. I never thought a suburban wetland in an area like Berwick could have such diversity!

AbbyGrace
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Thats pretty awesome really! Need to visit there again, but park in a place I don't get a parking ticket :D

karentwemlow
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That Golden Whistler pic is fantastic, love it! And how great that your local lake is full of so many species :-)

Alex Rogers
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Tommy, some cracking shots - I also really love the Golden Whistler shot. But I was particularly happy to read your story about your local park/lake, and how it has contributed to your interest in birding. Same for me, my (very humble) local park was a bit of a revelation - when I slowed down and really looked, and spend repeated time over weeks looking, it was just amazing what I saw! It can be good to be forced out of our routines, and to slow down and take more time. 

Fantastic to see the fun you are having with new lifers - I'm still a bit like that, a LOT of AU birds to see for the first time, and its very satisfying. But I'm also getting to the stage where I'm so enjoying learing more about familiar birds, and trying to photograph them well. Its all good fun :-) 

TommyGee
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Thanks for the kind words Alex :) "Revelation" is the perfect word, I'm seeing so much more every time I go out and taking so much more time to pay attention to the world around me. It's been life-changing, TBH.

TommyGee
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Spent the long weekend camping in Yarram in East Gippsland. Not a great weekend for birding, I think the crowds of people kept the birds away, but I did get a few.

79. Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo. As I said in Alex's thread, I never seem to have a camera on me when these are about... so I was stoked to get even this terrible, heavily cropped pic. Love these birds.

80. Grey Currawong. At least, I think it's a Grey Currawong! Happy to be corrected.

81. Eastern Spinebill. Refused to come out from behind that bark but I'll take it.

82. Pacific Gull.

sue818
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Great to see you getting so much from your outings, Tom. There is so much to the experience. Typical Gull looking somewhat haughty.

TommyGee
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Went for a walk along the Casey Aqueduct Trail today... lots of activity, although nothing really new. I did finally snap a decent pic of a Silvereye, which was nice; they normally hide! And a replacement for 76 - Red-Browed Finch. There was a flock of Finches having lunch, and this one obligingly posed for me. :)

83. Silvereye.

dwatsonbb
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As a late starter last year, you have reallly gotten into the spirit Tommy. You appear to have improved with your photos as well, heading closer to 100, and bringing in some nice photos. Well done and keepem coming.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

TommyGee
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dwatsonbb wrote:

As a late starter last year, you have reallly gotten into the spirit Tommy. You appear to have improved with your photos as well, heading closer to 100, and bringing in some nice photos. Well done and keepem coming.

Thanks Dale, I'm really enjoying it. The bug does appear to have stuck!

TommyGee
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The wife booked us a bird walk at Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick on Sunday, where we were accompanied by Graeme Hosken from BirdLife as he was doing his six monthly survey. So that was a lot fun :) 

84. Hoary-Headed Grebe.

karentwemlow
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Oh wow what a treat, what a great wife you have :-). 

dannyka6
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Lovely shots of the last 3 there, and what a lovely walk on Sunday, sounds delightful! Shame the weather wasn't a bit better for you

TommyGee
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I've been hearing Australian Ravens around here, with their long drawn out rattle :) but could never find them until today. This one obligingly croaked away for a while to make sure of the I.D.

85. Australian Raven.

Alex Rogers
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Great to see all your birds Tommy - you are really going well :-) 

TommyGee
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Another new bird at Berwick Springs Lake today... just spotted it before a larger bird chased it off.

86. Spotted Pardalote.

And a couple of replacement birds, because they were posing so nicely - Red Wattlebird (34) and Little Pied Cormorant (41).

TommyGee
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Happy Easter everyone! We spent the long weekend at Johanna Beach, along the Great Ocean Road. Lovely spot... not a lot to see as far as birds were concerned, I think it was too windy and maybe the wrong time of year? But I did add a couple.

87. Grey Shrike-Thrush (immature).

88. Australian Shelduck (male and female). 

sue818
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Nice ones, Tom. You are seeing some wonderful birds. I love the Shelduck shots and always great to see a pair.

TommyGee
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Thanks Sue. Seeing the ducks saved what had been a pretty lean trip birdwise, although it was a lovely break.

I headed down to Hastings this morning to join a Facebook group walk along the Warringine Park wetlands boardwalk. I never found the group, but the walk was lovely! I didn't know we had mangroves in Victoria. The rain stayed away, mostly, but the wind kept most of the birds hidden away. Never mind, I'll be heading back that way again and I'm sure I'll strike gold.

As I was heading back, the sun came out and the wind dropped, and out came the Dotterels. So I went home happy.

89. Black-Fronted Dotterel.

Alex Rogers
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Some great shots Tommy - I also love the Shelducks, don't often see them, so its a treat :-) 

dwatsonbb
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Your going well Tommy, I was surprised how small the Dotterels are. I also like the Shelducks. 

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

AbbyGrace
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Nice photos of the Shelducks and the Dotterel Tommy.

TommyGee
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Finally caught up with an old friend :) 

90. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo.

Plus a replacement pic for 68. Welcome Swallow. 

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