Big Year

To: John Weigel <>
Subject: Big Year
From: Paul Dodd <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 17:30:19 -0600
Wow! Congratulations John! An incredible effort - really well done!

Paul Dodd
Docklands, Victoria - though currently in Costa Rica

Sent from my iPhone

On 31/12/2012, at 7:28 PM, John Weigel <> wrote:

> 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 shorter. 
> 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
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