Friday, 13 June 2014

A (temporary) farewell to Bird-a-Day

When I started this Bird-a-Day (BaD) project I commented that perhaps we in the Southern Hemisphere were lucky that we get migrants returning about the time life gets tough.  That is still possible, but first you have to get to the point where the migrants return. Unfortunately, that isn't early June when I dropped out.

I had expected my last bird to be Australian Magpie, seen every day from my study window.  However after being reduced to that species on 8 June I encountered an Eastern Great Egret while walking past Kelly's Swamp on the 9th!
Then an Australian Bittern appeared in Northern Belconnen and was found and ticked on the 10th.  I was beginning to wonder if I might in fact limp along to the end of June!  The wheels got another drop of lubricant on Wednesday the 11th when I heard a Crescent Honeyeater calling near a patch of Grevillea juniperina on the banks of the Murrumbidgee.  I was beginning to feel like Nellie Melba!

However on the 12th another famous show business persona appeared in the form of the Wascally Wabbit, saying "That's all folks"!  I did refrain from writing this until the morning of Friday 13th since there are three species of Owl possible in the area, but none of them obliged.

It has been very enjoyable and I expect to be back in the formal game next year.  I am also going to set up a small (ie one person) version for myself starting on 1 July.  What follows is a summary of my activities together with a few awards.  My progress is shown by this graphic in which 'code' refers to the 7 point scheme within BaD while Index is the system I developed to indicate the probability of ticking a bird in my local area.
 As should be the case the average code drops (with a small Bittern-induced flick at the end) while the Index score rises.  From glancing through the BaD message Board it seems that a code average of 3 is about 'normal'.

The great majority of my observations were made within 50km of our home.  We had a few short trips away and a couple of longer ones to Mallacoota in Victoria and to Adelaide, South Australia.

As I have noted in previous posts on this topic the year began well with a number of unusual birds being driven into the area by dry conditions 'out West'.  The best of these was Singing Honeyeater.
Overall best bird was Elegant Parrot.
The Australasian Bittern placed on the podium for this award but the parrot got the silverware because:

  • it was a lifer;
  • It was a bit tricky to identify; and
  • it seemed to be regarded as a good bird by others, who tried for it in the same location' but dipped.
The most annoying choice by me was picking Blue-faced Honeyeater at Young.  The reason for my annoyance is that it meant I rejected a Little Friarbird ... 
... seen at the same time.  2 weeks later Blue-faced Honeyeater was all over the place at Wagga but I didn't see another Little Friarbird anywhere!  Bugger.

Best bird seen in our garden was a toss-up between Rufous Fantail and Red-capped Robin.  Both were additions to the garden list (and quite uncommon in the area generally) and very spiffy looking birds.  However I decided that the Red-capped Robin gets the metal as it really is a little stunner:
In terms of dips, the most obvious group missing were Cuckoos: of the 7 species in our area I only scored 1 (Shining Bronze-Cuckoo) as the members of the family seemed to leave the area - or at least stop calling here - rather early this year.

So, that is me done and dusted until next year.  I will close with an apology for putting the Red Junglefowl image on BaD but it seemed amusing to show that Chickens are tickable in the right place!


Ian Fraser said...

Ahhh.... I've been enjoying this challenge, and you made an impressive fist of it! Well done that boy! Better hope we're still in drought next year (or plan your trips better)!

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Ian. I noticed that one of the Floridians who fell out last week commented about 'time to start planning for next year".