2003 - A Birders Year In Review

To: <>
Subject: 2003 - A Birders Year In Review
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 22:47:56 +1100
Happy new year to you all.
I hope everyone had some excellent birding experiences during 2003 and I wish everyone good birding in 2004!
Despite seeing zero lifers for the OZ list in 2003 (Yes, I am a twitcher and it was my first year without seeing any lifers since I started serious birding about 15 years ago though I did try. However I did see some new reptiles such as Rough-scaled and Stephens Banded Snakes), I still saw 2003 as a very interesting year and would highlight the following as my best birding highlights for that year:
* Birding at East Lakes in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs (so many good birds in a small area and almost next to Australia's busiest airport) with 2 Little Bitterns, a Black Bittern, Yellow Wagtail, Freckled Ducks and good numbers of waders.
* Raptor watching at the rubbish tips (East Maitland and Eastern Creek) with great sightings of Black Falcons (one of my favourite raptors) and other interesting birds of prey at both tips. The past year has been my best raptor year with the only species not seen in the final few months of the 2003 being Black-breasted Buzzard, Letter-winged Kite, Red Goshawk and Grey Falcon and of course all the vagrants (Oriental Buxzzard, Papuan Harrier etc)
* Square-tailed Kites nesting at Coopernook SF. Another of my raptor favourites and it was a real treat to see.
* Seeing Swift Parrots again at home in 2003.
* Orange-bellied Parrot at Maroubra Sydney. This was definatley the highlight of the year and a truly historic moment. My best Sydney Tick ever. Hopefully 2004 and the years ahead see a few OBP's returning to this area.
* Good birding in the NSW Hunter region (Harrington, Barrington Tops, Newcastle Wetlands, Bulga etc). 
* Assisting several birders adding new species to their life list (both local and overseas birders). I hope many birders continue to do the same and and also add new knowledge about our interesting birds. 
On the down side, I saw fewer sea birds than in past years and I hope 2004 may be a bumper year for them.
Many thanks again to Russell Woodford for providing this great service and for doing an exceptional job.
Edwin Vella
PS  - Would like to hear what others saw as their birding highlights for 2003.
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