As at the end of November my 2015 Australian bird list was a respectable 275 which, although a long way short of my 400 species goal, was very pleasing considering the busy year I had. I had also added 37 new Australian bird species to my life list, which now stands at 466 in total – nice!
About five minutes drive from my house is Tallawarra Power Station, which has a series of ponds/wetland areas on its grounds. I have often seen some nice pictures of birds from this site, and had long wanted to go and explore there.
Spring is here!! Well, I am a believer in Spring starting after the equinox, which was on the 23rd of September, and, when I hear the first unmistakable call of a Channel-billed Cuckoo for the year, I start getting excited. This year, the first call was on the morning of the 14th September.
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.
Rapidly 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!
My first attempt at a (Little) Big Year has hit the skids a little. My goal was 400 Australian bird species for the year but, as of the end of March, I had seen only 129. My other goal was to see 50 new Australian bird species for my life list, and I had only seen 8. This is harder than I thought.
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.
February was a little less exciting than January, which gave me a healthy 79 species, but nonetheless gave a good number of species’ sightings, including 3 new ones for my life list. I also had to say goodbye to a great friend of mine, Bob, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
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!
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!