Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Bird-a-day 2015 is done and dusted!

Well it has taken a little longer than I thought, but I have finally admitted defeat in my contribution to Bird-a-Day 2015.  The last bird to be contributed was Australian Magpie, seen as usual on our lawn yesterday morning (and again this morning, but that is not helpful).

My final two prospects in this area were Golden-headed Cisticola and Australian White Ibis.

Whatever.  The main point is that I managed to get 5 days further than last year which was objective 1!
As I used a different index base for the two years it is difficult to compare the two series on that basis.  However a comparison is possible between the latest effort and my "special" which started in July 2014 (and achieved a slightly longer 'life', mainly due to a month long trip to Northern NSW).  Here is a chart of average index scores:

The overall shape of the two series, once they settle down is very similar.

It is always difficult to choose a 'best bird'.  Here are some 2015 contenders:
  • The Turner Powerful Owl gets a run for being such an impressive beast and for being so cooperative in hanging around for ages.
  • Next up is a Great Crested Grebe.  This is unusual in the Canberra area (and I record them rarely) but this one scores particularly highly as it was in the unusual environs of the Queanbeyan Sewage Works.
  • On our trip to Adelaide in April Purple-crowned Lorikeet - my second ever tick of this species - at Clare and an Australasian Gannet flying just off the shore at West Beach both get a stroll up the red carpet but I don't have a snap of either.
  • Satin Flycatcher is a spiffy bird and I recorded the first ever in our Carwoola garden this year.
  • I also don't have an image of the Southern Emu-wrens we saw at Shipwreck Creek Mallacoota in early June.  They were in Allocasurina nana heath and didn't hang about.  

The winner is the Emu-wren.  It was only my second sighting of the species and I have done a lot of looking for them so this was a good outcome.  I also got excellent views, and Frances got a decent look at one as well.

So what did I dip on this year?  I'll define that as a bird I saw last year but not this.
  • A first group are ones where I have seen or heard the bird but they have been beaten by a better bird on the day.  This includes Eurasian Skylark; Pied Butcherbird (which were much sparser than I expected on the Hay Plain en route to Adelaide); several Honeyeaters at Mallacoota; Yellow Rosella; Rainbow Bee-eater (beaten by Yellow-tufted Honeyeater at Gigerline) and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.  
  • There were a series of less common birds which I scored last year.  Foremost in these is Elegant Parrot which were everywhere at Maslins Beach last year but, despite searching, none this year.  Then I had Red-capped Robin and Rufous Fantail at home last year, but nowhere this year.

As well as the contenders described in the podium contenders above there were a few goodies found this year but not last.
  • Hooded Plover at Mallacoota - a pretty little bird and severely threatened by hoons on the beach;
  • Square-tailed Kite at Mallacoota, only my second ever and my first good look (hmmm - could have been a contender);
  • Southern Boobook - always nice to see an owl.
  • Crested Shrike-tit: much less common than they used to be and this site just in NSW near Hall ACT is about the most likely spot.
  • Restless Flycatcher: these have been hard to find near Canberra for some years but in 2015 were a dime a dozen.
  • Chirruping Wedgebill: another second sighting - as with my Life Tick; at Broken Hill.
So that is me for this year.  Many thanks to Trey and his colleagues for setting it up again.  Good luck to those still running.

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