Thinking About Birds

My focus for birding is Australia and its territories. When I travel overseas, I always keep a record of what birds I find and I often will include a few days during the trip when I go to some places which seem prospective for finding birds. In the past, many of my overseas trips were work-related. If I was lucky I might get one day of a weekend when I could go birding. Now, the majority of my overseas trips are with my wife, and are aimed at general tourism but with me ducking off some times. I've also done some trips to Japan, focused on visiting sites for Grey-tailed Tattlers.

Although I don't formally keep a world bird list, I do have a reasonably good idea of what I've seen before and what are new species for me!

These have been my “recent” trips (NB short trips involving less than a week away are ignored)

Year & trip


July: Northern Territory/Kununurra


March: Cairns /Atherton Tableland


November: South-west WA

June/July: Northern Territory

April: Western NSW

February/March: NSW/Victoria

January: NSW/Queensland


June: Western Australia

May: Scotland, Shetlands, Denmark


November: Victoria/South Australia


September: Sri Lanka


AugustDenmark, Iceland, UK

June-July: Queensland

March: Perth and South-west WA


Oct-Nov: Mt Isa area

May: Japan

April: Denmark


October: Strezlecki track

August: South-west WA

May: Japan


August: Japan

April: Macquarie Marshes, Bowra


November: Cape York/Iron Range

May: Newhaven Reserve (NT)

April: USA / Canada

January: Norfolk Island


October: South Australia (Gluepot)

September: South Korea, Russia (Vladivostok)

February: South Africa (4th such work trip)


October: Pilbara Region (WA)

June: Albany/Cheynes Beach

March: Patagonia (Chile & Argentina)

February: Tasmania (Eaglehawk, Melaleuca)


August: Jupiter Well (WA)

May: King Island and Werribee


November: Vietnam (second visit)

August: Tasmania (Eaglehawk)

July: Bowra (Qld)


Nov/Dec: NZ and Macquarie Island

August: Cape York/Iron Range


December: Christmas Island (and briefly on Cocos Island)

December: Cheynes Beach (WA)

October: Torres Strait

January: Vietnam

New Birds

This was a trip I'd been wanting to do for a long time - it took me into new country with lots of potential for adding birds to my Australian list. I saw 13 new species including the two Rock-Pigeons, the three missing finches from my list, and some other endemics. One highlight was a group of three Chestnut-backed Button-quail, including one bird which sat for ages and allowed us to get close enough for great and extended views. Another highlight was to see my 750th species for Australia - the Arafura Shrike-thrush. I had terrific views of it.

No new birds but I was delighted to get some new species photographs e.g. Mountain Thornbill, Tooth-billed Bowerbird.

No new birds but I was quite pleased to see Western Thornbill and Gilbert's Honeyeater again, and the WA race of Regent Parrot.

Masked Finch, Arafura Fantail, Hooded Parrot.

No new birds but I was quite pleased to see Grey-fronted Honeyeater and Gilbert's Whistler again.

No new birds but I was able to get to the Western Treatment Plant (Werribee) for a day and see thousands of ducks again. Also I caught up with Hooded Plover and Pacific Gull once again.

No new birds but I was able to get better photos of Albert's Lyrebird, and saw a Marbled Frogmouth for the first time in a couple of decades.

No new birds, but it was great to see some old favourites again. A focus for the trip was to join the Noisy Scrub-bird recovery project team for a week. I learnt a lot about scrub-birds and was able to look at a bird in the hand (and then to follow it around using radio telemetry).

I saw 24 new species (outof a total of 98 species), with the highlights of these being Red Grouse (in Scotland), Northern Gannet (in the Shetlands) and Green Woodpecker (in Denmark), and Guillemots and Razorbills (Scotland and Shetlands). And, I really enjoyed seeing Atlantic Puffins once again.

Ostrich (at Barham). Also it was great to catch up with some old favourites (e.g. Western Whipbird, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Cape Barren Goose).

I saw 143 species in three weeks, of which about 120 were completely new birds for me. The one which impressed me the most was the Malabar Pied Hornbill but there were plenty of other great sightings too, including endemics such as Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Sri Lanka Crested Drongo. I saw the majority but by no means all of the Sri Lanka endemic species, I didn't tally it up as there also were quite a few endemic sub-species alsoseen and I was just as happy with those sightings.

Many, especially in Iceland (which has no endemics but I was relatively new to northern European birds). My favourite was the Atlantic Puffin; I was also pleased to see lots of Northern Fulmars.

Albert’s Lyrebird, Eungella Honeyeater, Southern Cassowary

Eurasian Hobby (and, it was great to see the Noisy Scrub-bird again!)

Kalkadoon Grasswren, Carpentarian Grasswren

Rock Thrush, Gadwall, Pacific Diver (but my focus was Grey-tailed Tattlers)

30+ new birds(my favourite was the Wren)

Western Grass-wren

Nil (but I was pleased to find many species that I don’t often see)

Dunlin, Black-billed Spoonbill, Black-headed Gull, Wigeon (but my focus was Grey-tailed Tattlers)

Many (but my focus was Grey-tailed Tattlers)


Spotted Whistling Duck, Black-winged Monarch

Rufous-crowned Emu-wren


Norfolk Island endemics

Scarlet-chested Parrot (#700), Barbary Dove (#699, tracked it down in Adelaide prior to going to Gluepot)

Several, mostly on Jehu Island. Unfortunately,Vladivostok was very ordinary for birding!

Several in the Cape Town area

Red-necked Phalarope, Oriental Pratincole

Western Whipbird


Cook’s Petrel

Princess Parrot

Orange-bellied Parrot

A handful

Grey Petrel

Black Honeyeater

Several including 4 species of penguin

Most of the Iron Range endemics

Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Common Kingfisher, all the Christmas Island endemics, Green Jungle-fowl

Western Bristlebird, Noisy Scrub-bird, Red-eared Firetail

Several including Shining Starling (650th Aust. bird)