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Jan 15: Knee-deep in it


I arrived at Nudgee Beach at 0430 just as light was dawning – the shoreline was beautiful and there were plenty of shorebirds and gulls on the extensive tidal flats. But disappointingly the wind had completely dropped and the weather was fine – displaced seabirds seemed an unlikely proposition. The tide was incoming so I decided to walk the tidal flats first and then scope out into the Bay afterwards. I only had 1.5 hours so needed to move fast. I sorted through flock after flock of shorebirds, but didn’t come across anything new for the year. There were good numbers of Curlew Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrels, Great Knots and Red-necked Stints. Among the gulls were a few Little Terns. The tide was coming in quickly and I was knee-deep in it by the time I got back onto dry land.

Scoping into the Bay produced five species of tern (Crested, Caspian, Gull-billed, Little and Whiskered), but nothing rare. Still, it was a lovely morning nevertheless. Back home for 0630 and then off to work – no more significant birding during the day, but received a text message from the wonderful Mat Gilfedder, my primary “competition” in this most friendly of Big Year races that he had found and photographed a Red-browed Treecreeper at Lawton’s Road on Mt Glorious. A great bird, with very few records in Brisbane, although perhaps overlooked because most folks go to a known site beyond the Brisbane boundary at Wivenhoe Outlook. While I didn’t need to rush there immediately, I resolved to look for this bird within a week, as finding it could offset the need for time-consuming searches later in the year. With a busy few days at work ahead, I needed to work an early shift tomorrow, so couldn’t go birding in the morning. I was looking to Thursday morning and then the weekend for my next birding sessions. Any rarities, of course, would need to be accommodated…

With no year ticks today, my year list at the end of the day remained 194 species. I spent 1 hour 34 minutes birding, walked 1.773 km and drove 48.2 km.

Jan 14: Everything’s up in the air


Tragically I slept through my alarm this morning – probably a cry for help from my ageing body. Shame turned to pain when I saw Matteo Grilli’s excellent list from Sandy Camp, where I was planning to go. Photos of Fork-tailed Swift, Black Bittern and Little Bronze-cuckoo!!! He also heard Lewin’s Rail, so that was four year ticks I could have got. Could’a, should’a, didn’t.

Still, after my musings on blue sky thinking, I had my bins round my neck and my eyes to the sky when we pulled into Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens car park heading to Jeannie Baker’s exhibition of art from her amazing children’s book Circle, about the migration of Bar-tailed Godwits. I saw a small group of swifts – the first one I looked at was a Fork-tailed – BINGO!!!!!!!! There turned out to be about 4 Fork-tailed with 2 White-throated Needletails. I was elated, as this can be a very tricky species. After we came out of the exhibition we grabbed morning tea at the cafe, and then amazingly I had another good flyover species, a White-necked Heron! Not a year tick, but a great bird to see nevertheless. Several other Brisbane birders had Fork-tailed Swifts today, clearly an influx. Very strong winds picked up in the afternoon. This convinced me to try Nudgee Beach in the morning, to see if any terns or other seabirds have taken shelter in northern Moreton Bay. Black Bittern etc at Sandy Camp could wait for later in the week.

My year list at the end of the day was 194 species. I spent 0 minutes birding (my botanic gardens list was incidental because I wasn’t focused on birding), walked 0 km and drove 0 km (all birding was incidental).

Jan 13: Lazing on a sunny afternoon


Big news last night with the reappearance of the wandering Black-necked Stork at Tinchi Tamba – the bird stayed until dusk on 12th Jan, and so I set off this morning with a good sense of anticipation. Black-necked Storks are rare, but highly detectable – I wasn’t especially worried about missing it for the year, but always good to get these sorts of wandering species under the belt. Young birds have been seen in the Brisbane area, but there haven’t been any nailed down spots where birds are reliable as far as I know.

Two other cars were already present when I arrived – Stephen Murray and Felicia Chan / Rick Franks. I quickly checked the lagoon from the bridge, and sure enough the stork was there, and it appeared to be struggling with eating something quite large, possibly a duck. Its ghoulish breakfast out of the way, it continued foraging on the lagoon. But my attention quickly turned to looking for Little Grassbird, a very difficult bird in Brisbane. Stephen pointed out a couple of spots where he had been seeing birds over the past few months, but mentioned they rarely seem to call. I circuited the main lagoon, but couldn’t turn up a Little Grassbird. I did flush three Latham’s Snipe, which was nice. At the culvert along the road running east of the lagoon I briefly heard two Spotless Crakes, and saw one very briefly.

After more than 2 hours I gave up on grassbird, but returned home pretty happy to have the stork safe and sound on the list. I reckoned I would be spending more time at this site looking for Little Grassbird during the year.

It was a hot, sunny day and we lazed around for much of the afternoon. I was watering the plants in the garden with the kids in the late afternoon, when I suddenly heard the harsh chatter of a Little Wattlebird! I looked up and saw two birds perched in a tree. Grabbing the camera I got a couple of shots. This is a very difficult species on mainland Brisbane – much easier on Moreton Island. I moved in to the present house in June 2017, and have so far had Little Wattlebirds on 1 August, 20 September and 9 October. I’m not sure where they are coming from – perhaps there is a local group of breeding birds somewhere nearby. I’ll have to try and track them down one day. This was the third year tick of the day (Black-necked Stork, Spotless Crake, Little Wattlebird).

My year list at the end of the day was 193 species. I spent 2 hours 13 minutes birding, walked 4.216 km and drove 76.2 km.

Jan 12: Downtime


After yesterday’s exertions I needed a rest, so didn’t get up early this morning. After work, I went ahead of the family to Lota Foreshore, hoping to see a few shorebirds on the rising tide. I arrived a bit too late and the tide had already pushed most shorebirds off towards their roosts, although got the overdue Caspian and Gull-billed Terns for the year list. Clearly I need to try on a falling / low spring tide. I had a little bit more time, so checked the roost on the Wynnum Esplanade at Penfold Place, which had 12 Pied Oystercatchers, 11 Pacific Golden-Plovers, 9 Lesser Sand-Plovers, a Whimbrel, 85 Bar-tailed Godwits, 41 Great Knots and 2 Red-necked Stints.

My year list at the end of the day was 190 species. I spent 54 minutes birding, walked 1.232 km and drove 36.7 km.

Jan 11: Border patrol


Up at 0230, I drove up to Mount Glorious in search of nocturnal species, mainly thinking of Sooty Owl, Masked Owl and Marbled Frogmouth. My first stop yielded only a distant Southern Boobook, and so I headed to Lawton Road where I have seen both Marbled Frogmouth and Sooty Owl in the past. Sure enough, almost straight away I heard a Sooty Owl calling, and eventually got good views, although my pics were rather dark. A nice rainforest speciality under the belt, but the fact that a sooty owl was vociferously calling meant my chances of Marbled Frogmouth were diminished. In any case, light was beginning to pierce the darkness so I headed to the spot where the Common Blackbird had been seen the day before. I set up just on the Brisbane side of the border, about 100m from where the bird had been yesterday and listened expectantly. Almost straight away I heard the Blackbird singing, even though it was well before dawn and only a few other birds had started up. A mix of Green Catbird and Common Blackbird song – strange times indeed. With the bird safely on the year list, I walked over the border into Moreton Bay Regional Council territory and got brief views and a photo of the bird. It flew as close as 50 metres to the border at one point, and I think if one waited long enough it would eventually cross over into Brisbane.

Enough of this shenanigans, I wanted to get into the rainforest. I birded several spots along the road, noting many of the rainforest specialities, and then birded Joyners Ridge Road. There were lots of Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves and Black-faced Monarchs calling, a nice White-headed Pigeon, Paradise Riflebird, Eastern Spinebill, Crimson Rosella, Pale-yellow Robin, Noisy Pitta, Russet-tailed Thrush, Logrunner, and Satin and Regent Bowerbird. I searched fairly hard for New Holland Honeyeater along the road near the Community Centre, but couldn’t find one. This is a localised species in Brisbane and one I’ll need to keep an eye on.

On the way back home, I dropped in at Kedron Brooks Wetland for Red-necked Avocet, and had about 80 birds.

My year list at the end of the day was 187 species. I spent 4 hours 30 minutes birding, walked 4.323 km and drove 119 km.

Jan 10: Year listing vs birding


I had a couple of hours this morning before taking Tom to daycare. From a birding perspective I was keen to go up to Mount Glorious to search for rainforest species. Yet from a yearlisting perspective I knew these species would be available all year and that really I should search for seasonal species. One particularly tricky summer visitor is Australian Little Bittern, which visit from northern Australia / New Guinea to breed. They are rare and irregular in Brisbane, possibly not even breeding every year, and certainly not easy to connect with. I decided on Metroplex wetlands, close to my house, and where breeding probably occurred in 2013/14, although no records since. I thoroughly searched the southern lagoon, but was only rewarded with year-ticking Buff-banded Rail for my efforts.

I had a quick look for the Peregrines on the Gateway Bridge, but the perch was empty.

In the afternoon, Chris Sanderson texted me the news that Chris Attewell had relocated the Common Blackbird at Mount Glorious, first detected on 16th December 2017 when it was recorded by a resident. Common Blackbird is spreading northwards in Australia, and is already fairly common in Stanthorpe. It seems likely to eventually colonise the upper slopes of the Brisbane Forest Park, yet for now it remains very rare in Brisbane – there was an amazing record by Elliot Leach in Moorhen Flats in the city in September 2016. Looking carefully at the maps, I realised Chris Attewell’s bird was actually about 100m outside the Brisbane LGA boundary. For the bird to count for my year list I would need to hear it from within Brisbane LGA. I therefore decided to go for the bird in the morning, when traffic noise would be minimal and the wind would be calm. Blackbirds normally start singing very early, so I was hopeful it would sing before the dawn chorus made it hard to hear from some distance away. I wanted to try for nocturnal species before the blackbird, and the site being an hour’s drive from home I would need an early start, so I set the alarm for 0230.

My year list at the end of the day was 171 species. I spent 1 hour 43 minutes birding, walked 2.89 km and drove 19 km.

Jan 9: Birding in the most unusual places


We arrived back from the Gold Coast and took our daughter to a gymnastics try-out lesson in Mansfield. Looking at Google Maps, I decided to wander along to Bulimba Creek and see what birds I could see. I ended up an an industrial estate, but running through it was a sewage solid waste interceptor, set in a small creek. With a foul smell, this seemed like a good birding spot. I spent half an hour or so, and although I didn’t see anything particularly special this was a place worth visiting while our daughter is in gymnastics class in future.

My year list at the end of the day was 170 species. I spent 32 minutes birding, walked 1.573 km and drove 0 km (birding was incidental).

Jan 8: Going out of town


We went down to the Gold Coast for an overnight stay, so I did essentially no birding within Brisbane today. Best birds were the long-staying pair of Little Friarbirds in the garden. I didn’t even do a 5-min point count in the garden, which was a poor show.

My year list at the end of the day was 170 species. I spent 0 minutes birding in Brisbane, walked 0 km and drove 0 km.

Jan 7: “I’ve never seen so few birds here”


With all of the available rarities under the belt, I decided to put in a big morning at Gold Creek Reservoir, one of Brisbane’s premier bushland birding sites. Centred on an 1885-built reservoir at 95 m above sea-level, the area supports extensive eucalypt woodland interspersed with gullies containing rainforest vegetation. This variety has given it a decent bird list of 198 species so far.

I set the alarm for 0300 and jumped straight in the car, arriving on site at 0345 to listen for nocturnal species, primarily hoping for White-throated Nightjar. Sadly I heard no nightjars, logging only the common Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth for my efforts. As dawn broke I birded the approach road to the reservoir, often the birdiest part of the area. I was pleased to hear a White-eared Monarch, which is a highly localised species around Brisbane, and here at one of its most reliable spots. A couple of Noisy Pittas were calling to each other across the road, and they are presumably now breeding at this site perhaps in part due to rainforest restoration efforts. Just after 0500, Hugh Possingham and Jaramar Rosas arrived as planned. We added Spectacled Monarch to the tally, amongst other common species, and began to walk around the reservoir, noting a couple of calling Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves below the dam. While we were scanning for waterbirds on the dam itself, Hugh picked up a cuckoo flying overhead – it had striking black and white patterned underwings and bars underneath – a splendid Oriental Cuckoo. Only the second record for the site – Chris Burwell had one on 15th Jan 2017.

We were stoked by this and full of excitement for what lay ahead. The excitement proved totally misplaced as there were extremely few birds present along the track around the reservoir. Bell Miners and Eastern Whipbirds dominated, and very few birds were seen or heard – the tally stalled at 59 species. Hugh heard a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, but I didn’t hear it, which was disappointing as it’s a scarce bird and one I’m keen to catch up with. We checked a couple of spots for Painted Button-quail but to no avail. I will come back one morning for a serious effort for that species.

My year list at the end of the day was 170 species. I spent 6 hours 2 minutes birding, walked 7.767 km and drove 67.6 km.

Jan 6: Going the extra mile, and not going the extra mile


Hugh Possingham is Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, and a Professor of Biology and Mathematics at the University of Queensland. In the unlikely event he should find himself out of a job, maybe he should consider bird guiding. He went the extra mile today, meeting me at 0450 at Sherwood Arboretum for a morning’s birding. White-headed Pigeon was the bird I was after, and literally seconds after getting out the car, one called from a tree not far into the park from where we stood. Primarily a rainforest species, they wander widely but are never particuarly common or predictable in their appearance. Hugh had seen one the previous evening so I was keen to connect with the species while the opportunity was there. We eventually saw the calling bird, and then another four flew over, a bumper morning for the species. With the key bird in the bag, I relaxed and enjoyed a lovely morning’s birding in what is essentially a suburban park.

Having birded Sherwood Arboretum many times, Hugh knows the place intimately, and he pointed out a spot where Pale-vented Bush-hen is reliable, and sure enough a bird called briefly. The third year tick was to come in the form of a Long-billed Corella. There was a straggly corella flock around all morning, but they eventually came down to ground and began feeding as a tighter group. There were several larger corellas with lots of pink around the face and on the chest. But most had bills that were rather too short for Long-billed, and were probably Long-billed x Little Corella hybrids. Eventually we got onto one bird that looked really good for pure Long-billed.

On the way back home, I drove past Oxley Creek Common, and half thought about trying for Australian Kestrel and Peregine, both of which had been seen in the past few days but that I still needed for the year. I elected not to take the half hour walk to Jabiru swamp where the birds are usually seen on pylons, but instead lazily decided to scope the pylons from the main road. I was handsomely rewarded with a smart Peregrine sitting on one of the pylons, but couldn’t see any kestrels.

My year list at the end of the day was 151 species. I spent 1 hour 54 minutes birding, walked 2.319 km and drove 31.4 km.

Jan 5: Blue sky thinking


For the first time this year, I didn’t get out of bed at an unearthly hour, although our young son made sure our night’s sleep wasn’t completely peaceful! Spending much of the day at home, I kept an eye on the sky. Luckily we have a reasonably good vista from our house, and something rare flying over is always a possibility, especially in the afternoon when soaring birds seem to drift around, such as two Australian Pelicans yesterday afternoon. Nothing notable today beyond a small group of Straw-necked Ibis, but I’ll keep an eye on the sky whenever I remember.

In the afternoon we took the kids swimming at Manly Pool, and I grabbed 15 minutes to check the tidal flats off Manly Esplanade. It’s usually a good spot for Black-tailed Godwit, and it was nice to see 11 birds on the flats in a loose flock. These, and Grey-tailed Tattler were the only year ticks of the day.

My year list at the end of the day was 147 species. I spent 32 minutes birding, walked 0 km and drove 30 km.

Jan 4: Who gets primetime? And going back to the same place twice


Along with many other places around the world, birding around Brisbane is at its very best just after dawn. This the primetime of birding, a precious half an hour when birds seem at their showiest and most relaxed. This is especially critical on a fine midsummer’s day here when everything heats up so quickly and it is burning hot by 0830. This morning as I headed west at 0400 with two target birds in mind, I mused on who should get the primetime slot – Oriental Cuckoo or Grey-crowned Babbler? I’d tried and failed on 1 Jan for the cuckoos, and needed to force myself to try again. The incredible Rod Gardner had found a couple of Grey-crowned Babblers on 1 Jan at Hawkesbury Road, and I was also keen to try to relocate them. Given their extreme rarity and the real possibility these would be the only gettable birds this year, I decided to go for them first.

I pulled up at the spot on Hawkesbury Road and 0450 in the silence of a misty, dewy morning and almost immediately had a couple of Apostlebirds, a localised species in Brisbane, and heard a Common Bronzewing booming. I wandered a hundred metres up the road enjoying the peace and quiet, and was almost startled when a Grey-crowned Babbler started calling loudly from roadside bushes just by the dam at 212 Hawkesbury Road. Elated, I watched them at close range for about 15 minutes, getting a few pics and a sound recording. This such a rare species in Brisbane I hadn’t really expected to see any this year.

I then drove up the road to Anstead SES Depot, parked and walked to the spot where several folks had been seeing Oriental Cuckoos recently. I walked down the little path the river from the SW corner of the big mown paddock. I had been here before, spending over an hour on New Year’s Day and I had to persuade myself it was the right choice to spend more time here. I was to be rewarded – almost straight away a splendid grey morph Oriental Cuckoo flew in to a tall eucalypt! It didn’t show brilliantly, but I got some passable photos and decided to move on quickly to try for one more target bird before the day really heated up, the last currently available scarcity – White-necked Heron at Oxley Creek Common. On the way back to the car a Plumed Whistling-Duck flew over calling, and a couple of Plum-headed Finches flew through the meadow with tall grass between the car park and the river – an incredible run of 5 birds in three different sites since the year began.

Arriving at Oxley, I walked out to Jabiru swamp and scanned for the herons, up to three of which were seen yesterday. But no joy, they were simply not there. After about 15 minutes of scanning, I looked up and amazingly saw one circling around above Pelican Lagoon – BINGO!! With the three target birds for the day well and truly in the bag, I went home very happy.

No more rarities are currently available for me in Brisbane, so I can relax a little. Maybe target a few resident species, or chase up some of the more enigmatic recent reports, such as Eastern Rosella. Or even do some work or get some sleep.

My year list at the end of the day was 145 species, although of course at this stage of the year the total is not particularly important, rather the fraction of available rare and transient birds seen. Fork-tailed Swift is probably the trickiest bird recorded so far in Brisbane this year that still eludes me – hard to twitch, I’ll just have to hope to find one myself. I spent 3 hours 1 minute birding, walked 6.437 km and drove 77.6 km.

Jan 3: Asian Dowitcher


The alarm set for 0400, I headed to Sandy Camp Road Wetlands to see what was about, vaguely following up on previous reports of King Quail and Australian Little Bittern, but not really expecting to see either. My low expectations were confirmed, but it was nice to bump into a Rufous Night Heron, albeit a rather skinny looking one, on the northeasternmost lagoon. I then went to Kianawah Road Wetlands, picking up 6 Marsh Sandpipers, and a flock of 15 Mangrove Gerygones feeding on the Casuarinas at the back.

After dashing back home to take my young son to daycare, I went to the Port of Brisbane Shorebird Roost to look for the Asian Dowitcher, and after collecting the key from the Port Office, expectantly went into the northern hide about 9.20, an hour or so before high tide. I was utterly despondent as very few shorebirds were present, only a tiny group of Bar-tailed Godwits with no sign of the dowitcher. I wasn’t sure whether to try another roost, or to wait it out. I decided on the latter course of action since there was an hour to go until high tide, and this was a king tide and most of the alternative roosts would be flooded. Luckily this proved to be the correct decision, and about 10 15 minutes later a nice flock of 830 Bar-tailed Godwits arrived and settled in front of the hide. I quickly began scanning though them before they settled and put their bills under their wings. On the second scan through I finally found the dowitcher – BINGO! A nice selection of other shorebirds was also in the flock, helping the year list on, but with the one that really mattered safely under the belt I could relax. I dropped in to Lytton Wader Roost, but nothing was about with the roost being completely flooded by the king tide. Satisfied and happy, I returned home.

My year list at the end of the day was 139 species. I spent 3 hours 39 minutes birding, walked 4.649 km and drove 74.1 km.

2 Jan: Musk Duck


With family commitments I only had a couple of hours in the early morning, so I had to decide whether to go for the Asian Dowitcher, which has been roosting over high tide with Bar-tailed Godwits at the Port of Brisbane Shorebird Roost, or the Musk Duck, which has been at Dowse Lagoon since it was found by Chris Attewell on 13 July 2017. I decided on the latter because the dowitcher seems very well settled with the godwit flock and this is usually a time of year when shorebirds don’t move around much in Moreton Bay. The dowitcher would have to wait until tomorrow, when I will be able to visit over high tide.

I started the morning at Luggage Point, but was dismayed to see that about half of the site has now been destroyed by the building works for the new cruise ship terminal. I looked out over the river and carefully checked through the Whiskered Terns and assorted shorebirds, but could turn up nothing out of the ordinary. After about an hour I moved on to Dowse Lagoon and after much searching eventually connected with the Musk Duck after it was located by another birder at the site. It put on a good show feeding actively in the south-west corner of the lagoon. A Latham’s Snipe there was nice too – they’ve been a little scarce around Brisbane in the last few years.

My year list at the end of the day was 116 species. I spent 2 hours 39 minutes birding, walked 1.869 km and drove 77.6 km.

1 Jan: Hat trick on day one!


After agonising about which lingering rarities from 2017 to target first, I decided on the Plum-headed Finches that had recently been found at Oxley Creek Common. This species usually occurs to the west of Brisbane and is rare and erratic within the city boundary. Up to 8 birds had been seen feeding on thistle heads near Pelican Lagoon, and Rae Clark had very kindly provided me with details on exactly where to search. So, at 0347 on New Year’s Day I walked to the spot on Oxley Creek Common under cover of darkness and waited expectantly for dawn. A calling Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo was a good bird, not common in Brisbane, although Oxley is a reliable spot for them. Double-barred Finches and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins began to show in small groups. After about 40 minutes of searching at the known spot, a cracking Plum-headed Finch suddenly appeared on the track in front of me and gave brilliant views for about five minutes before disappearing. A great start to the new year with a very tricky species under the belt.

I decided not to dally, walked briskly back to the car, and drove to Priors Pocket Road, where both species of songlark had been long-staying. Both are from drier country to the west, and Brown Songlark is extremely rare in Brisbane. I was keen to see these two. At the farm dam, I heard a Brown Songlark singing almost straight away, although I couldn’t see it. On the dam itself were 6 Plumed Whistling-Ducks and 16 Pink-eared Ducks, both scarce species that were pleasing to connect with. Scanning the fence line beyond the dam, I was amazed to see a pair of Plum-headed Finches! They gave distant views at first from about 0740, them came quite a bit closer and eventually flew onto the power lines by the road, calling, and then flew off high SE at 0803. Always a thrill!

With no Rufous Songlark yet heard, I tried further down the road by the old quarry. After quite a bit of searching and waiting, I eventually heard the characteristic notes of a Rufous Songlark, and also briefly a Brown Songlark (probably the same individual as heard from the dam). I was delighted with this hat trick of difficult Brisbane rarities.

On to Anstead, where I tried for Oriental Cuckoo, unfortunately in vain, before retreating back home for the day. A good start to my Brisbane Biggish Year. I finished the day on 93 species. I spent 6 hours 12 minutes birding, walked 8.521 km and drove 85 km.

Intro: Brisbane Biggish Year 2018


Rich Fuller is doing a big year of birding within the boundary of Brisbane City – trying to see as many species as possible within the geographical limits of this amazingly biodiverse city! Brisbane has rainforests, heathlands, various coastal and freshwater wetland habitats as well as extensive eucalypt and other woodlands. This makes for a very rich bird fauna, with 383 species recorded so far in eBird – a citizen science website where birdwatchers can record their sightings. Attempting to see as many species as possible in a year is chance for a bit of friendly competition, and also highlights the very rich birdlife of the River City. All my sightings will be entered into eBird, taking advantage of the new Local Government Authority boundaries made available in eBird Australia in late 2017.

My target for the year is 253 species, but I’m secretly hoping for something a little higher.

To make year listing efforts comparable among observers, I’m working to a few basic rules:

  1. Bird sensibly – the bird’s welfare is paramount.
  2. A bird’s occurrence at the time and place of observation must not be because it, or its recent ancestors, has ever been transported or otherwise assisted by humans for reasons other than for rehabilitation purposes. “Established” is determined by adherence to the ABA rules at http://listing.aba.org/criteria-determining-establishment-exotics/. Note that records of domestic and escaped birds are welcomed by eBird Australia – any species only represented by such records will need to be substracted from your year list total at the end of the year.
  3. Each observation must constitute a valid record in eBird.
  4. Each observation must be submitted to eBird, and checklists must be submitted promptly after the observation has occurred. If submission cannot happen within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. by the evening of the day of the observation), observers should endeavour to contact other year list competitors or otherwise disseminate any records of particularly noteworthy species.
  5. Sensitive records can still be counted in official totals, but observers are encouraged to suppress records from eBird Australia only in the most extreme of circumstances. We encourage observers to work with the review team to display records in eBird Australia a way that recognises any sensitivities involved.
  6. Records that are invalidated by eBird reviewers will not be countable in official totals. As per usual process, photographs, sound recordings or detailed field notes should be provided to eBird for noteworthy records to minimise the risk of invalidation of a good record.
  7. Ideally both the observer and the bird will be within the official LGA boundary. There is some flexbility around this depending on specific circumstances, e.g. distant seabirds are countable. Observers are relied upon to use honesty and good judgement.
  8. If a valid location is erroneously assigned to another LGA, notify the eBird Australia review team and they will endeavour to rectify the issue.
30 Dec 2017: The species list for Brisbane Biggish Year


I’ve been through the eBird records for Brisbane City Council area, and I reckon about 253 species are possible in my Biggish Year. I’ve compiled the list below, and to make it more exciting I’ve emulated the USA code system, where Code 5 are the rarest, and Code 1 the commonest. From the total of 378 species recorded in eBird for Brisbane so far, I have classified them as follows:

Code 1: 166 species

Code 2: 65 species

Code 3: 40 species

Code 4: 37 species

Code 5: 70 species

This is a work in progress – comments to r.fuller@uq.edu.au welcome! And of course, if you find any Code 5 rarities and tell me about it, I would be delighted!

Common Name Chance Code
Magpie Goose 100% 1
Plumed Whistling-Duck 90% 2
Wandering Whistling-Duck 100% 1
Freckled Duck 20% 5
Black Swan 100% 1
Radjah Shelduck 5% 5
Cotton Pygmy-Goose 80% 5
Australian Wood Duck 100% 1
Australian Shoveler 40% 5
Pacific Black Duck 100% 1
Grey Teal 100% 1
Chestnut Teal 100% 1
Pink-eared Duck 85% 3
Hardhead 100% 1
Musk Duck 5% 5
Australian Brushturkey 100% 1
Brown Quail 100% 1
King Quail 1% 5
Stubble Quail 1% 5
Australasian Grebe 100% 1
Hoary-headed Grebe 20% 5
Great Crested Grebe 95% 4
Yellow-nosed Albatross 10% 3
Black-browed Albatross 1% 3
Southern Giant-Petrel 1% 3
Cape Petrel 1% 3
Kermadec Petrel 1% 3
Providence Petrel 1% 3
White-necked Petrel 1% 3
Gould’s Petrel 5% 3
Fairy Prion 1% 3
Antarctic Prion 1% 3
Slender-billed Prion 1% 3
Tahiti Petrel 1% 3
Streaked Shearwater 1% 3
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1% 3
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 10% 3
Buller’s Shearwater 1% 3
Short-tailed Shearwater 10% 3
Hutton’s Shearwater 1% 3
Fluttering Shearwater 10% 3
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel 5% 3
White-faced Storm-Petrel 1% 3
White-bellied Storm-Petrel 1% 3
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel 1% 3
Black-necked Stork 90% 5
Lesser Frigatebird 5% 3
Great Frigatebird 1% 3
Masked Booby 1% 3
Brown Booby 20% 3
Red-footed Booby 1% 3
Australasian Gannet 100% 3
Little Pied Cormorant 100% 1
Great Cormorant 95% 2
Little Black Cormorant 100% 1
Pied Cormorant 100% 1
Australasian Darter 100% 1
Australian Pelican 100% 1
Australian Little Bittern 90% 4
Black Bittern 50% 4
White-necked Heron 75% 5
Great Egret 100% 1
Intermediate Egret 100% 1
White-faced Heron 100% 1
Little Egret 100% 1
Eastern Reef Egret 75% 2
Cattle Egret 100% 1
Striated Heron 100% 1
Nankeen Night-Heron 90% 2
Glossy Ibis 90% 5
Australian White Ibis 100% 1
Straw-necked Ibis 100% 1
Royal Spoonbill 100% 1
Yellow-billed Spoonbill 60% 5
Osprey 100% 1
Black-shouldered Kite 90% 2
Black-breasted Buzzard 1% 5
Square-tailed Kite 60% 3
Pacific Baza 90% 4
Little Eagle 20% 3
Wedge-tailed Eagle 40% 3
Swamp Harrier 30% 4
Spotted Harrier 15% 4
Grey Goshawk 50% 3
Brown Goshawk 100% 1
Collared Sparrowhawk 100% 2
Black Kite 70% 4
Whistling Kite 100% 1
Brahminy Kite 100% 1
White-bellied Sea-Eagle 100% 1
Buff-banded Rail 100% 1
Lewin’s Rail 95% 2
Pale-vented Bush-hen 100% 2
Australian Spotted Crake 5% 5
Baillon’s Crake 95% 4
Spotless Crake 95% 4
Australasian Swamphen 100% 1
Dusky Moorhen 100% 1
Black-tailed Native-hen 1% 5
Eurasian Coot 100% 1
Brolga 20% 5
Bush Stone-curlew 100% 1
Beach Stone-curlew 100% 2
Black-winged Stilt 100% 1
Red-necked Avocet 100% 2
Australian Pied Oystercatcher 100% 1
South Island Pied Oystercatcher 5% 5
Sooty Oystercatcher 90% 2
Grey Plover 75% 4
Pacific Golden-Plover 100% 1
Banded Lapwing 5% 5
Masked Lapwing 100% 1
Lesser Sand-Plover 100% 1
Greater Sand-Plover 80% 2
Double-banded Plover 80% 2
Red-capped Plover 100% 1
Red-kneed Dotterel 100% 1
Black-fronted Dotterel 100% 1
Australian Painted-Snipe 10% 5
Comb-crested Jacana 100% 1
Whimbrel 100% 1
Little Curlew 5% 5
Eastern Curlew 100% 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 100% 1
Black-tailed Godwit 100% 1
Ruddy Turnstone 80% 2
Great Knot 100% 1
Red Knot 80% 2
Ruff 20% 5
Broad-billed Sandpiper 40% 4
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 100% 1
Curlew Sandpiper 100% 1
Long-toed Stint 5% 5
Red-necked Stint 100% 1
Sanderling 50% 4
Pectoral Sandpiper 50% 4
Asian Dowitcher 80% 4
Latham’s Snipe 100% 1
Terek Sandpiper 80% 2
Common Sandpiper 75% 4
Grey-tailed Tattler 100% 1
Wandering Tattler 80% 2
Common Greenshank 100% 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1% 5
Marsh Sandpiper 100% 1
Wood Sandpiper 75% 4
Red-backed Buttonquail 10% 4
Black-breasted Buttonquail 20% 4
Painted Buttonquail 40% 4
Red-chested Buttonquail 1% 5
Australian Pratincole 1% 5
Pomarine Jaeger 10% 3
Arctic Jaeger 10% 3
Long-tailed Jaeger 2% 3
Silver Gull 100% 1
Franklin’s Gull 1% 5
Pacific Gull 1% 5
Kelp Gull 1% 5
Common Noddy 10% 3
Black Noddy 3% 3
Sooty Tern 5% 5
Bridled Tern 3% 5
Little Tern 100% 1
Gull-billed Tern 100% 1
Caspian Tern 100% 1
White-winged Black Tern 90% 2
Whiskered Tern 100% 1
Common Tern 80% 2
Crested Tern 100% 1
Lesser Crested Tern 70% 2
Rock Dove 100% 1
White-headed Pigeon 70% 2
Spotted Dove 100% 1
Brown Cuckoo-Dove 100% 1
Pacific Emerald Dove 70% 2
Common Bronzewing 100% 1
Crested Pigeon 100% 1
Wonga Pigeon 100% 1
Diamond Dove 5% 5
Peaceful Dove 100% 1
Bar-shouldered Dove 100% 1
Wompoo Fruit-Dove 90% 2
Superb Fruit-Dove 40% 2
Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove 100% 2
Topknot Pigeon 100% 2
Pheasant Coucal 100% 1
Pacific Koel 100% 1
Channel-billed Cuckoo 100% 1
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo 100% 2
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo 100% 1
Little Bronze-Cuckoo 100% 2
Pallid Cuckoo 50% 4
Fan-tailed Cuckoo 100% 1
Brush Cuckoo 100% 1
Oriental Cuckoo 70% 4
Sooty Owl 100% 2
Australian Masked-Owl 100% 1
Australasian Grass-Owl 100% 2
Barn Owl 60% 4
Powerful Owl 100% 1
Barking Owl 20% 4
Southern Boobook 100% 1
Tawny Frogmouth 100% 1
Marbled Frogmouth 100% 2
White-throated Nightjar 80% 2
Australian Owlet-nightjar 100% 2
White-throated Needletail 100% 1
Australian Swiftlet 5% 5
Pacific Swift 20% 2
Azure Kingfisher 100% 2
Laughing Kookaburra 100% 1
Blue-winged Kookaburra 1% 5
Red-backed Kingfisher 1% 5
Forest Kingfisher 100% 1
Torresian Kingfisher 100% 1
Sacred Kingfisher 100% 1
Rainbow Bee-eater 100% 1
Dollarbird 100% 1
Nankeen Kestrel 100% 2
Australian Hobby 100% 2
Brown Falcon 100% 2
Black Falcon 5% 5
Peregrine Falcon 100% 2
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo 5% 5
Glossy Black-Cockatoo 5% 5
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo 80% 2
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo 100% 2
Galah 100% 1
Long-billed Corella 90% 2
Little Corella 100% 1
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 100% 1
Cockatiel 5% 5
Australian King-Parrot 100% 1
Red-winged Parrot 5% 5
Turquoise Parrot 1% 5
Swift Parrot 5% 5
Crimson Rosella 100% 1
Eastern Rosella 5% 5
Pale-headed Rosella 100% 1
Red-rumped Parrot 10% 5
Budgerigar 5% 5
Musk Lorikeet 70% 2
Little Lorikeet 100% 1
Rainbow Lorikeet 100% 1
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet 100% 1
Noisy Pitta 100% 1
Green Catbird 100% 1
Regent Bowerbird 100% 2
Satin Bowerbird 100% 2
White-throated Treecreeper 100% 1
Red-browed Treecreeper 70% 2
Brown Treecreeper 5% 5
Variegated Fairywren 100% 1
Superb Fairywren 100% 1
Red-backed Fairywren 100% 1
Eastern Spinebill 100% 1
Lewin’s Honeyeater 100% 1
White-fronted Honeyeater 1% 5
Yellow-faced Honeyeater 100% 1
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater 10% 4
Bell Miner 100% 1
Noisy Miner 100% 1
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater 1% 5
Little Wattlebird 100% 2
Regent Honeyeater 1% 5
Red Wattlebird 1% 5
Mangrove Honeyeater 100% 1
Fuscous Honeyeater 100% 1
Dusky Honeyeater 1% 5
Scarlet Honeyeater 100% 1
Brown Honeyeater 100% 1
New Holland Honeyeater 100% 1
White-cheeked Honeyeater 50% 2
Blue-faced Honeyeater 100% 1
White-throated Honeyeater 100% 1
White-naped Honeyeater 100% 2
Brown-headed Honeyeater 10% 4
Black-chinned Honeyeater 10% 4
Striped Honeyeater 100% 1
Painted Honeyeater 1% 5
Little Friarbird 100% 1
Noisy Friarbird 100% 1
Spotted Pardalote 100% 1
Striated Pardalote 100% 1
Yellow-throated Scrubwren 100% 2
White-browed Scrubwren 100% 1
Large-billed Scrubwren 100% 1
Speckled Warbler 100% 2
Buff-rumped Thornbill 100% 2
Brown Thornbill 100% 1
Yellow-rumped Thornbill 100% 2
Yellow Thornbill 40% 4
Striated Thornbill 100% 2
Weebill 40% 4
White-throated Gerygone 100% 1
Brown Gerygone 100% 1
Mangrove Gerygone 100% 1
Grey-crowned Babbler 10% 4
Australian Logrunner 100% 2
Eastern Whipbird 100% 1
Spotted Quail-thrush 60% 2
White-breasted Woodswallow 100% 1
Masked Woodswallow 10% 5
White-browed Woodswallow 10% 5
Black-faced Woodswallow 5% 5
Dusky Woodswallow 10% 5
Little Woodswallow 2% 5
Grey Butcherbird 100% 1
Pied Butcherbird 100% 1
Australian Magpie 100% 1
Pied Currawong 100% 1
Ground Cuckooshrike 1% 5
Barred Cuckooshrike 50% 4
Black-faced Cuckooshrike 100% 1
White-bellied Cuckooshrike 100% 2
White-winged Triller 90% 2
Varied Triller 100% 1
Common Cicadabird 100% 1
Varied Sittella 100% 1
Crested Shrike-tit 30% 4
Little Shrikethrush 100% 1
Grey Shrikethrush 100% 1
Golden Whistler 100% 1
Rufous Whistler 100% 1
Olive-backed Oriole 100% 1
Australasian Figbird 100% 1
Spangled Drongo 100% 1
Willie-wagtail 100% 1
Rufous Fantail 100% 1
Grey Fantail 100% 1
White-eared Monarch 100% 1
Black-faced Monarch 100% 2
Spectacled Monarch 100% 2
Magpie-lark 100% 1
Leaden Flycatcher 100% 1
Satin Flycatcher 30% 4
Restless Flycatcher 60% 4
Shining Flycatcher 10% 4
Torresian Crow 100% 1
Australian Raven 1% 5
Apostlebird 100% 2
Paradise Riflebird 95% 2
Jacky-winter 10% 4
Scarlet Robin 5% 5
Red-capped Robin 10% 5
Rose Robin 90% 2
Hooded Robin 5% 5
Pale-yellow Robin 100% 2
Eastern Yellow Robin 100% 1
Australasian Bushlark 10% 4
Welcome Swallow 100% 1
Fairy Martin 100% 1
Tree Martin 100% 1
White-backed Swallow 1% 5
Australian Reed-Warbler 100% 1
Little Grassbird 50% 2
Brown Songlark 1% 5
Tawny Grassbird 100% 1
Rufous Songlark 1% 4
Golden-headed Cisticola 100% 1
Silvereye 100% 1
Russet-tailed Thrush 100% 1
Common Blackbird 1% 5
European Starling 100% 1
Common Myna 100% 1
Mistletoebird 100% 1
Eastern Yellow Wagtail 5% 5
White Wagtail 1% 5
Australasian Pipit 100% 1
European Greenfinch 1% 5
European Goldfinch 1% 5
House Sparrow 100% 1
Red-browed Finch 100% 1
Plum-headed Finch 20% 5
Zebra Finch 5% 5
Double-barred Finch 100% 1
Scaly-breasted Munia 1% 3
Chestnut-breasted Munia 100% 1