I wish to publicly express my admiration for Sean’s
achievements. Firstly, for breaking the previous record of the number of bird
species seen in one year in continental Australia. Secondly, for setting what
must be an almost unbeatable annual total for the number seen within Australia
and its Territories (703). Thirdly, and most impressively, for passing what I
considered was his ridiculous target of 700! An amazing feat. The anticipation
of those last few days made my hair stand on end.
I say almost unbeatable because I don’t think there will be
many years like 2002. The drought in central and southern areas forced many
inland species closer to the coast making them more accessible. And the
frequency of vagrants was exceptional. One measure of this was the number of
species reported not previously established on the Australian list. In any
normal year, I might expect two or three at the most. Without research,
off-the-cuff, I can think of over ten!
Working back over the year, I recall the following:
Mascarene Petrel at sea off WA
Isabelline Wheatear at Mt.
Carbine, Qld. (under review by BARC).
Canada Goose at Shoalhaven, NSW,
(volunteer for BARC submission required!).
Common Kingfisher on Christmas Is.
(under review by BARC).
Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove on
Darnley Is, Torres Strait (under review by BARC).
Raptor on Boigu Is, Torres Strait.
(Chris Lester et al., BARC submission pending)
Grey Heron in WA, twice. (Info
with photos sent to BA HQ has not been passed to BARC).
Cory’s Shearwater off Wollongong, NSW by Peter Milburn. (BARC submission
Cinnamon Bittern on Christmas Is.
(accepted by BARC).
Oriental Honey-buzzard on Christmas Is. (accepted by BARC).
Others, with less detail, include Chinese Goshawk and Orange-fronted
And there were several second-only reports such as Blue-and
White Flycatcher and Kentish Plover.
On a personal level, I got four, possibly five, new for my
Australian list. These were Kentish Plover, Collared Imperial Pigeon, Red-capped
Flowerpecker, Isabelline Wheatear and possibly Canada Goose if accepted as
coming from the feral population in NZ. This is two or three more than in any
recent year taking my total to 772 or 773.
As against one only in each of the two previous years, I even
got two new for my Victorian list, Grass Owl and Cook’s Petrel, bringing my
state list to 447.