Friday, 8 May 2009

Birding Australia, 2008-9

New Holland honeyeater

But first, and to be interspersed throughout these posts, the story of how my life list climbed from 850 to 1058 of the world's 10,000 species of bird. It took one trip, principally to Australia, which I had been promising myself since spending a mere week in the country, back in 2003. The landscapes and the birds had captivated me. I needed to see more of both.

The trip would never have happened but for the combination of a mental landlady and her psychopath son. I was homeless in Edinburgh, which is not a pretty prospect, and had to decamp to my mate’s house in Redditch. This seemed the perfect platform from which to launch Round-The-World Mark Two.

I needed a route. I never reckon on wandering aimlessly. Certainly, I wanted to take in Perth, and Queensland was a must. How to fill in the gap between? I also needed a quest, apart from generally boosting my life list. I settled on the 73 species of honeyeater, a very Australian family of birds. I would try to see most of them, which determined the route: southern West Australia; Adelaide to Cape York via the outback; and Tasmania. I figured only a definite couple of misses that way, and a couple of extremely unlikely birds.

I was set. Now I only had to buy the tickets, and pay for them.

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