Big Year

Subject: Big Year
From: John Weigel <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 12:28:43 +1100
Thank you Scotty and Dave, it has indeed been a very 'big'  year.

Just a quick wrap-up of the final death-throws of the year. I was lucky enough 
to not have latest attempt to fly into Melaleuca from Hobart cancelled.  That 
was the good news. The not as good news is that I only saw one pair of OBPs, 
and I couldn't help but wonder what the feeling might be like should I visit 
the site again in say five or then years.  

After missing White-throated Nightjar at several well known spots, I decided to 
take the best shot - being well known haunt at Samsonvale Qld in backyard of 
colourful birding identity Tom Tarrant and Marie. Tom and Marie were incredibly 
helpful, and seemingly more determined than myself to ensure success. Unlike 
previous visit a month or so earlier, when rained out, the regular suspect WTNJ 
arrived an hour or so after sunset. Relief.

After putting in a couple of days at home for Christmas, my understanding wife 
allowed one last week for that bad-boy of the wetlands, Australasian bittern. 
Chased it at a range of SA and western Vic hotspots, but of course, 
post-breeding summer is not a time for great expectations. Despite the best 
support and assistance from Mr Bittern of Portland, Vic, Rob Farnes, and Mt 
Gambier birdo Bob Green, I came up with only 'bittern disappointment', giving 
the game away last night with the onset of New Year's fireworks over Portland, 
and a bittern-sweet (sorry, once was enough, I know) end of an absolutely 
unforgettable year. Absolutely exhausted after untold kilometres trudged 
through waist deep swamp.  Unfortunately lost I-phone number two for the year 
by forgetting to remove from pocket.

In the end, my year-list count appears to stand at 745.  This is two lower than 
the count might have been if I hadn't realised last week that the new IOC list 
shifted the Christmas Is 'Variable' Goshawk back to Brown Gossie, and because I 
reached a decision to not count the Ostriches I sighted at Barham NSW - though 
this is no judgement of anyone who does feel confident of the feral status of 
that population. An additional frustrating reality that there were four or five 
'almost good enough' sightings that I couldn't quite turn into ticks, and 
another half dozen that I really should have seen (e.g. should have nailed A. 
Bittern in winter). Despite practically joining the Navy, there are another 
four or five pelagic species that I really should have seen. But with only 
three mainland breeding species left unseen (A Bittern, Western Ground Parrot 
and Night Parrot), I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that I did give it 
everything I had in the tank, and then some.

Thank you to everyone who helped me out this year. Virtually everyone who owns 
a pair of bins! I'll do my best to thank you all personally over the coming 
days or more likely weeks, when I readjust to normal life. A special thankyou 
is due to my co-worker Tim Faulkner. Without Tim's help there is certainly no 
way my 'Big Year' would have happened, and my species list would have been far 

I'll make a priority of getting the blog updated with trip reports for at least 
some of the amazing places and adventures of the past few months, and a range 
of summary stuff, including lists of species and subspecies seen in 2012, on 
both IOC and C & B templates. In the mean time, please accept my sincere wish 
for a wonderful 2013 for everyone on Birding Aus and in the wider birding 
hobby. You are most certainly on the right track.

John Weigel

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU