Australian Wood Duck feeding on the surface of a pond with floating pond weed and green plants in background
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An Australian Wood Duck feeding in the rain on a pond

My first attempt at a (Little) Big Year has hit the skids a little. My goal was 400 Australian bird species for the year but, as of the end of March, I had seen only 129. My other goal was to see 50 new Australian bird species for my life list, and I had only seen 8. This is harder than I thought.

January was a great start with 79 species, February added 43 more and March only 7 more. If there is a trend here I don’t like it! April needed to bring something special.

In order to get this mission back on track a trip to Capertee Valley was in order. Capertee Valley is the world’s second largest canyon and is located between Lithgow and Mudgee, just to the west of the Great Dividing Range in central eastern New South Wales. The valley is home to over 350 species of birds, making it one of Australia’s (and the world’s) best birding hotspots. Surely I could bag 100 species in a long weekend.

Rain Stopped Play

Sadly not! It decided to rain solidly for two days and we were unable to get around due to the dirt roads being mostly unusable. I did still manage to see and photograph some great bird species, but most of them were already on the list. On one of the trips I did manage to do I ended up driving into a rather large pothole, and cracked the sump on my car, which was really rather annoying!

Disappointingly, just 13 species were added and, worse still, a meager total of just 17 for the whole month. To add to my woes there were no new species added to my life list. I am now up to 146 species, and still only 8 new species for my life list, and I am now a third of the way through the year.

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

Peaceful Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove
Wonga Pigeon
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Azure Kingfisher
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Bell miner
Grey-crowned Babbler
Olive-backed Oriole
Black-faced Woodswallow
White-winged Chough
Jacky Winter
Golden-headed Cisticola
Fairy Martin

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