My good mate Bob
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February was a little less exciting than January, which gave me a healthy 79 species, but nonetheless gave a good number of species’ sightings, including 3 new ones for my life list. I also had to say goodbye to a great friend of mine, Bob, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

I am beginning to see how hard a Big Year can be for those people that are really trying to get close to 800 species. Forty-three more species were sighted during the month, which brings the total for the year up to 122 (includng 7 newbies) [only 278 to go! This is gettable!!]

Like January, February was about trying to get more waders added to the list before they departed for overseas, so more trips to the local beaches were in store. I also tried to get some more bush birds on the list as I noticed that January’s list had way more non-passerines than passerines. This might be an easy way to get some more new sightings. I targetted the Budderoo Plateau, which is the top of the escarpment near home, as well as the Chipping Norton Lakes near work, Centennial Park at Homebush and back to the trusty Wollongong Botanic Gardens.

The three newbies for my life list were Great Crested Grebe (Centennial Park [Brick Pit]), Grey Plover (Lake Wollumboola) and Double-banded Plover (also at Lake Wollumboola).

Great-crested Memories of Bob

The Great Crested Grebe will always be a very memorable sighting. I had wanted to see this species for many years, but without success. The night before, I had stayed at the house of a dear freind of mine, Bob. Bob had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2014 and I had wanted to catch up with him and his wife, Ingrid, since Christmas. Finally, we sorted a date that suited him and what a great night it was. Fantastic food, lots of drinks and many many laughs. The following morning I surveyed the damage, nursed my throbbing head and decided I needed a long walk in the fresh air. Centennial Park is only a short distance from their house, so off i went. I eventually found the Brick Pit car park and went for a walk around the elevated circular walkway. I had just started on the circuit and it started to rain – what a bugger, but I was in desperate need of the fresh air, so off I trotted. ┬áMy wife rang me just at the same time I spotted a moderately-sized bird diving in the waters way below me. Juggling the phone and the binoculars I was happy to tell my wife that I was looking at my first Great Crested Grebe. Bob sadly died yesterday, just 3 weeks after our night together, and I will always remember him and all of the great times we shared – especially when I see my next Great Crested Grebe!

February’s New Hatchlings for my (Little) Big Year List:

Freckled Duck
Australian Wood Duck
Australasian Grebe
Great Crested Grebe (New)
Rock Dove
Brown Cuckoo-Dove
Topknot Pigeon
White-throated Needletail
Great Cormorant
Cattle Egret
Striated Heron
Straw-necked Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Brown Goshawk
Grey Goshawk
Swamp Harrier
Australian Hobby
Sooty Oystercatcher
Grey Plover (New)
Double-banded Plover (New)
Greater Sand Plover
Latham’s Snipe
Australian King-Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
White-throated Treecreeper
Green Catbird
Eastern Bristlebird
Eastern Spinebill
Lewin’s Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Eastern Whipbird
Golden Whistler
Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush
Dusky Woodswallow
Grey Fantail
Scarlet Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Common Blackbird
Red-browed Finch

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