I hope this blog is interesting and ultimately worthwhile. Glenda and I have been planning this trip for about eight years, a time when the light of actually making it to retirement was beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel.
Basically we want to travel all over Australia in the next 12 months and try to photograph as many Australian bird species as we can to set or break a record for this undertaking. Until a month ago I didn't think there were any other eccentrics crazy enough to be interested in or who would even want to do this. I was reassured and at the same time a tad dismayed when I was referred to a website by Drew Fulton, an American bird watcher who "from July 2006 to July 2007, .. dedicated his life to traveling and photographing the endemic birds of Australia. This opportunity was made possible by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation and the foundation's annual fellowship."
Drew photographed 377 species during that year and has posted a great record of his trip at the following site:
With this "record" in mind it is my hope (Glenda is my sole support person! ...."soul" support person?) to photograph at least 378 birds and spot the magic "600" which was my dream when I got the twitching (bird watching) bug 30 years ago. Today there are over 800 species of bird that call Australia home but realistically I won't see anywhere near this number. Sean Dooley has the record for spotting the most birds in 12 months, achieving this in 2003 when he managed to see 703 different species. Sean's manic adventure saw him drive, fly and crisscross the continent in a fantastic series of adventures which he recorded in his book, "The Big Twitch".
I don't have the resources that Sean had on his epic race around the country, the legacy left by my parents enough to make us debt free and to have purchased a great caravan and a Nikkon D300 camera. We won't be flying to destinations by aeroplane on the advice of a friend but I'm sure we'll be flying by the seat of our pants at times to try and thoroughly explore the many places we intend to visit in our van.
This blog then may help keep us on task and hopefully some birdwatchers and like minded enthusiasts can contact us along the way and help us find the birds we're seeking. Local knowledge goes a long way. We've called the site, "the Bird Shoot" as a play on words for a photography session, not to be confused with shooting the poor blighters which is a practice I'm dead against (no pun intended). The outcome might be a bit like "The Big Twitch on Valium" but I'm pretty sure there'll be enough happening during this trip to make it interesting. Your feedback will be most welcome!
On September 1st 2010 retired school Principal, Gary Oliver set off on a 12 month Challenge to break the record for photographing the most Australian bird species in a single year. With his support team of one, (his wife, Glenda) they set off on a journey that would clock up over 55,000 kms and take them to every State in Australia.
The trip was not without incident; sticky swamps, unfriendly crocodiles, seasickness, hot and dusty deserts and devastating floods added to the difficulty of the task. Yet 12 months and six car tyres later they had established a staggering record of 518 different birds photographed.
On the way they met other quirky birding enthusiasts and photographers who helped with local knowledge and suggestions. Told with enthusiasm and a dry sense of humour, this book is the result of that 12 month adventure.
Join Gary and Glenda on their journey, meet some interesting characters, some delightful yet frustratingly unco-operative birds and most importantly, enjoy a trip around this great country from a different perspective, with an outrageous Challenge to ensure that the pace is kept right up to the end.
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