Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lifer Do-Overs and Dolphin Fun

Bird listing is incredibly personal. What is a great “lifer look” to one birder may not be good enough for another. I have heard the expression, “experiencing the essence of the bird” and I reckon I agree. I do want to experience the essence of the bird, but exactly what does that entail? With a Noisy Scrub-bird, its essence is a very loud, mostly invisible, little dark bird that dashes across the road in fractions of a second. That is what I experienced, and I was very grateful for it. Tick! I was also extremely lucky a few days later and saw one again and managed to get a couple of barely recognizable recording shots. I am truly grateful.
A previously unpublished photo (of mine) of a Noisy Scrub-bird capturing its essence. I did get two better ones that I put in the blog, "New Dear Friends, New Wonderful Birds."
Ok, one more unpublished shot of mine of the essence of the Noisy Scrub-bird.
There are those who only tick birds that they have photographed and of which they have i.d. recording shots. I have been working on pulling away from the emphasis on getting a photo, and putting more emphasis on grokking the bird. However there is no way around the fact that I enjoy having an identifiable image of a life bird to look back at and reflect upon (and share on the Facebook or in the blog). But, it is not imperative to my enjoyment of the lifer. I have learned that, and I occasionally continue to relearn it. I am grateful that I will never be too old or too curmudgeonly not to learn and change. I am in process and I will be until the day I depart this earthly plane. I am grateful.

In the Stirling Range we had seen what the owner of the caravan park (a long time birder and certainly in his “patch”) wanted to call as an immature Western Thornbill. They are a regular bird there and he knew I wanted it. I also am sure he was sincere. He looked at the few photos that I had managed to get and pronounced it as such. So... Lynn did the eBird list and we went on with our lives. Later, I reviewed those photos in depth and I had very serious doubts. So, I really wanted to see another one. This past Tuesday morning, thanks to excellent information from Sean Van Alphen, Lynn and I ventured into Dryandra Woodlands and in only about half an hour, found a beautiful, absolutely for certain, Western Thornbill (and I got photos). Lifer do-over. I am grateful.
Hello, I am a Western Thornbill.

Currently my favorite Thornbill (until I see a Slaty-backed).
Do-over Lifer Selfie in The Dryandra Woodlands.The Thornbill was in the trees behind us.
During our WA Triple Twitch (a few blogs back; it was wondrous) we had seen a pair of Laughing Doves at the Lake where we had stopped by to tick our Aussie Mute Swan. I had sort of blown them off, and only really realized after the fact that they were lifers for us too. I was thinking, “Spotted Dove,” or more accurately, I was not thinking. So, I had just forgotten this tickable little dove (another plastic, I know). It did get onto the eBird list and our lists. We had seen it. But… I hadn’t really grokked it, had I? No friends, I had not. Well, Tuesday evening whilst sitting behind Troopi in a caravan park in Beverley, WA, I saw a Laughing Dove on a branch. As I got the camera, it flew but I re-found it on a wire and made its photo. I am grateful. It was another “lifer do-over” (not that I really needed to get a photo…).
Laughing Dove (in a serious moment). They are literally under-foot here and call a lot. It is a lovely dovey sound!
And lastly and unrelated, here are a few bonus photos of a Pied Cormorant and Bottlenose Dolphin (of some kind) in the river off our campsite early Monday morning. I liked them and wanted to share them with y'all.
Cheers from Western Australia!
"Hey, what are you guys doing? You're not sharks right?" 
"Seems a bit crowded here. I think I'm going to move along."
"Yeah. You guys have fun. I'm going to find a new spot."
"I think I'll just jog over there."
"How did you get here so quick?"

Birds. Peace. Love.


  1. I've seen you use the word plastic a few times in your blog or your FB status. What does it mean in this context?

  2. An introduced species is called a 'Plastic.' I am not sure at what point it stops being a plastic and is just called an Australian bird. If it is wild and breeding here, it can become 'tickable' as we say. And if it is on the IOC (International Ornithological Congress) list for AUS. That is the list that we are using for what we tick.

  3. Well I am a birder who only counts a bird I photograph and can identify 100%.....so not even if it is just 'probably' that bird. I have too many times seen birds which I think is a particular bird only later looking at the photographs and discovering it is something very different. But that is just the rule I impose upon myself; everybody has there own rules......its a very personal thing and in the end the only one who you are accountable to is yourself.

  4. Exactly, everyone's list is their own, as it should be!
    (You need to get over here to WA soon too).


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