About Us.

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.

Contact us at gg.oliver@bigpond.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Greetings all!
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!


  1. Well, let me be first to say good luck. I hosted Drew here a couple of times, a great lad. I'm sure you've got it in you to easily rack up 400.

    Best of luck, need anything in Sydney just call;-)

    Alan McBride

  2. I'm jealous of your trip and hope you can see and photograph way more than I did. Set a good record so when I get the chance to come back and repeat things I'll have something new to aim for.

    I look forward to reading the blog.


  3. Bring it on!!!! Make sure you stop at the Big Desert near Ouyen and take a picture of the Malee fowl. I have pictures as when you go the property owner near the sand dunes will take you out and show you where they nest. It's an amazing experience to see these birds in their natural environment. I lived in Ouyen and never EVER saw one. Then I went on Holiday with the kids and saw a whole family and got to sit in bushes waiting and watching. Great moment!! Have an awesome trip. I'll be coming here regularly to see what you're up to!! Matt Norman.

  4. I know you have both got the drive and enthusiasm to carry out this adventure. I wish you bon voyage and look forward to envyously following your trip.
    Sheila and Ron Millington.

  5. Gary & Glenda

    Congratulations on embarking on your adventure!!! I hope you have a great time and return to us with all your goals and objectives fullfilled!

    I'll periodically visit your blog to check up on your progress.

    Tony Corrigan

  6. Wow! For want of a better word I'm stoked by the response to this challenge. Thankyou to the people who have become followers and to the many friends who have emailed us or made comments here.
    we were met with steady rain this morning so any hope of good photographs is not looking good! Still, I should see at least 25 birds today and maybe photograph one just to get a score on the board!The quality of the photographs is a poignant question but I'll make the parameters of this challenge a part of the blogsite when I get going.
    Thanks again friends.

  7. This is a dream of mine too...
    Best of luck and I look forward to following the great adventure

  8. Hi Ian,

    fortunately we all have our dreams and can follow them if we work towards it realistically. The outcome of this venture is not as important as the journey.


  9. Hi you two. Wally would like to see the bird photos as soon as they are available !!!!
    Hope all is well and I hope to map your travel on my map so stay in easy to find places please.
    I am teaching Luca about birds so that will be good.
    Cheers Esma and Wally

  10. Hey Golivers!!!

    You've read our blog...now it's your turn to be having all the fun and for us to be reading all about it!

    I must say the blog looks swish too! No guess who was responsible for that... You have both put a lot of work into this adventure. Now you can enjoy it and take it as it comes. Who knows what treasures and unexpected finds you get along the way. I guess that's what makes it so exciting!

    Anyhoo...I'll stop babbling and wait for your next instalment...

    Lots of love


  11. Nice blog about the Australia birds and the points which are described are also interesting to read.