My First Pelagic Trip

A Shy Albatross in flight over the ocean in the Pelagic region off of Kiama
Shy Albatross

I was well on track to achieve my primary goal of 400 species after the first two months, with 122 species already seen. My secondary goal was also on track with 7 new species already in the bag. Unfortunately, the next four months have not been as fruitful and, at the end June, I had only managed to add another 47 species to the main list and just one species to my life list. I was getting very worried. I needed a good July count, and was hoping that a boat trip out to the Pelagic region was going to get some, much needed, momentum happening.

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Byron Bay and Beyond

A Lewin's Honeyeater image taken in Byron Bay Wastewater Treatment PlantRapidly approaching the half way stage of the year and my goal of seeing 400 Australian bird species in the 2015 calendar year is looking very shaky! My secondary goal of adding 50 new Australian species to my life list looking even more in trouble, but I was hopeful that a trip up the north coast, with a visit to Byron Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, could dig me out of the … preverbial!

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The Hard-to-see Eastern Ground Parrot

This is not an Eastern Ground Parrot. It is an Australian Darter sitting on a branch!
Australian Darter (much easier to photograph than an Eastern Ground Parrot!!)

For those who missed reading my first post on the subject. After watching the movie The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, I (Peter) have decreed that 2015 will be my first attempt at a (Little) Big Year. So far this year I have seen 122 species (including 7 new sightings), with the highlight of the month being my first Eastern Ground Parrot.

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SOSSA Seabird Study Association

A Great-winged Petrel seen on my first SOSSA trip
Great Winged Petrel

What is SOSSA? Well, SOSSA is the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association, and it runs boat trips out past the Continental Shelf from Kiama (mainly) and Wollongong, NSW. I have been on three trips with them now, July 2015, November 2015 and February 2016, and they were all fantastically well run and very informative. Not only that, I got to see [and photograph] dozens of birds that I have never seen before, and that I probably never would have seen unless I was in a boat way out at sea!

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Slightly Confused Sandpiper

A White-rumped Sandpiper shelters in a scrape in the sand
White-rumped Sandpiper

My (Little) Big Year got off to a flying start in January, (sorry about the pun!), with 79 species recorded, including a Sandpiper that ended up in Australia instead of South America.

The 1st of January (recovery day from bringing in the new year) was a casual bird watching day – from the verandah while drinking several cups of tea!. Easy to spot a few species by just scanning the yard [Spotted Dove, Little Wattlebird, New Holland Honeyeater, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Common Starling, Common Myna and House Sparrow]. At least there were two native species for the first day!

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