Birding Victoria in 2006

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Subject: Birding Victoria in 2006
From: "Tim Dolby" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 21:56:07 +1100
Hi all,

2006 proved to be an interesting year of birding for me, mainly because I'd 
organised a silly competition to see how many Victorian bird species could be 
seen in a calendar year (VicTwitch 2006). By the end of the year I'd seen 330 
Victorian species (although this total excludes any pelagic birds i.e. birds 
seen while out on the open sea on a pelagic boat trip).

The following message is bit self-indulgence, so apologies in advance.

To get 330 Vic species in a year I had to travel over most of Victoria, 
basically visiting all of the major Vic national parks. For instance during the 
year (from east to west) I'd birded at Croajingolong NP, Lakes Entrance region, 
Phillip Is & Westernport Bay, Port Phillip Bay, Bellarine Peninsula (many 
times), greater Melbourne including Toolangi, Kinglake, Western Treatment Plant 
(far too many times), Brisbane Ranges, You Yangs, Otway Ranges, around 
Ballarat, Clunes and Warrnambool, the Greater Bendigo region (such as the 
Whipstick, Kamarooka and Spring Gully), Terrick Terrick, Rushworth, around the 
Barmah forest, Chiltern & Rutherglen, Goschen, Lake Boga, Lake Tutchewop, Lake 
Tyrell, Grampians, Little Desert, Wyperfeld (Nth and Sth), Yarrara, Hattah 
Kulkyne & the Murray-Sunset, and most of these a couple of times. (Admittedly 
many of these I would probably have visited, as a matter of birding facts, 

The experience was rewarding; I managed to see virtually all the Victorian 
birds in a year. Here are some of the highlights: a pair of Malleefowl in Nth 
Wyperfeld, Brown Quail on four occasions, 15 species of duck, White-faced 
Storm-Petrel seen while on the Queenscliff-Sorrento car ferry, good numbers of 
Artic Jaeger, 2 (and possibly 4) species of albatross (and a probable Sooty at 
Parker Hill), 16 species of raptor, both Painted & Little Button-quail, 
Plains-wanderer at Terrick2, all the rails and crakes (including up to 6 
Lewin's at the Spit), 37 species of wader including Long-toed Stint, Little 
Curlew and Pectoral, Wood & Common Sandpiper (the later seen while riding home 
from work), Grey-tailed Tattler, Red-necked Phalarope, Painted Snipe (including 
8 in one bino view), 9 Sternidae (terns) including Caspian, Crested, Common, 
White-fronted, Whiskered, White-winged Black, Gull-billed, Little & Fairy Tern, 
8 pigeons including Topknot, 6 cuckoos including Black-eared, 26 species of 
parrot including Ground Parrot and Swifties (seen on five separate occasions - 
and also seen while riding home from work in Royal Park), unfortunately dipping 
on Orange-bellied (which was the first time in quite a few years), 6 species of 
owl (and interestingly in 2006 I saw every mainland Australia owl species 
except 1, Masked Owl), 3 species of nightjars (including all four Aussie 
mainland nightjars), 4 species of treecreeper including White-throated, Brown, 
Red-browed & White-browed, all the Victorian Maluridae which includes Superb, 
Splendid, Variegated & White-winged Fairy-wren, both Southern & Mallee 
Emu-wren, and Striated Grasswren, Redthroat, Pilotbird, Speckled Warbler, 
Chestnut-rumped & Shy Hylacola, Striated and Rufous Calamanthus, 31 species of 
honeyeater including Regent, Black, Painted, Purple-gaped, Striped, Scarlet, 
etc, all the Petroicidae (robins) and Pachycephalidae (whistlers etc) including 
Red-lored Whistler, 3  flycatchers, a monarch, 5 Woodswallows, 8 finches, 4 
Corvids including Little Crow, Apostlebird, Red-whiskered Bulbul, and a 
partridge in a pear tree (just kidding).

I did have a few Victorian dips (which I'm not going to tell you about) but 
alas for another year, ad multos annos or perhaps memento mori. So far in 2007 
I've managed to see only 3 additional Vic species to the 330 seen in 2006 - 
Eastern Bristlebird, Eastern Reef Egret and Common Koel (which I saw at 10:00am 
New Years Day 2007). Another interesting and perhaps somewhat unsettling aspect 
about VicTwitch 2006 was that during the Twitchathon I managed to see 210 
species in 24 hours, while it took a 364 days to see an additional 120 species. 
(If I'd kept up my Twitchathon average I would have seen 76650 species.)

So what's a good total for a calendar year in Vic? Given that in 2006 I've 
welcomed the birth of my second son James, and also that we sold, and then 
moved into a new house, 330 sounds pretty good. I reckon anything over 300 is 
good stuff (meaning you've done some serious birding) and over 320 is 
fantastic. 330 plus is attainable, with a possibility (if you went totally 
crazy) 340 to 350. We'll see! Good luck.

Finally, if you add the birds that I'd seen elsewhere in Australian in 2006, 
which included Red Goshawk, Gouldian Finch, White-throated Grasswren, Chestnut 
Rail, Banded Fruit-dove, Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, 
Rufous Owl, Rainbow Pitta etc, 2006 was a pretty good year of birding for me.


Tim Dolby

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