Archive for the 'Birding bloopers' Category

Birding Bloopers #21

2007 New South Wales trip report #26

Middle Harbour, Sydney

Middle Harbour, Sydney

On our short rest at Middle Harbour in Sydney (see yesterday’s post) we were admiring all the boats and yachts tied at anchor. My son asked what kind of bird was sitting on a nearby boat. At first it looked like the back of a White-faced Heron, but something was not quite right.

I moved around the bay a little and as the boat swung around with the shifting breeze I managed several full-face photos. Something that looks a little like a Great Horned Owl is not an expected bird to see in Sydney. After several great shots I realised it was plastic. It was obviously placed there to scare away the gulls, but the evidence suggested it was not doing its job very well.

Bird scarer on a boat, Middle Harbour, Sydney

Bird scarer on a boat, Middle Harbour, Sydney

For more funny birding bloopers go to my archives here.


Birding Bloopers #20

When I set out to record a few birding bloopers – misidentification of birds – I never realised I would get so many willing contributors. But here we are – up to number 20. There is a standing, open invitation to all my readers to contribute their embarrassing birding moments – or dob in someone else.

This latest contribution comes from Snail – she’s dobbed in someone else. I think this is a classic:

I’m forever mistaking inanimate objects for birds. But here’s one more story where I can point the finger at another (unnamed) party.

We were having a Sunday afternoon picnic in a park in Townsville. One of the people at the next table—a self-proclaimed expert in natural history—announced loudly and confidently, “Hear that sound? It’s a whistling kite.”

We took the squeaky toy from the dog and put it in a bag.

Some things are best left unsaid.

Thanks to Snail from A Snail’s Eye View for this classic birding blooper.

Read more birding bloopers here – some entertaining reading.

White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

Disclaimer: This photo has nothing to do with this article; I just think it’s a nice photo from my photo gallery and I wanted to share it with you.

Birding Bloopers #19

Over the last few weeks I have featured many birding bloopers courtesy of the contributors to the Birding-Aus forum. All that I have approached have agreed for me to publish their mistakes in identification here on my blog.

Here is the latest contribution:

I attended a field day in the WA wheatbelt a few years back where the principal researcher was explaining about water table monitoring and the use of piezometers (visible as white PVC pipes extending half a metre or so out of the ground).

He went on to say that the closest one was about 100m out into the paddock from where we were standing. I confirmed that I could just make it out, whereupon it immediately grew wings, turned into an egret and flew off over the hill.

Quickly, I pointed out that the bore I was referring to was way beyond the egret …….

Strange how a piece of PVC pipe can suddenly take to the wing. Still, stranger identifications have occurred, and will continue to be made by eager birders.

Thanks to Peter for permission to use this.

Read more birding bloopers here.

Birding Bloopers #18

Over recent weeks I have been highlighting a number of birding bloopers. These have been shared on the Birding-Aus forum and the contributors have agreed to let me publish them here.

Today I feature another one – this time one of my own experiences.

In the year 2000 my wife and I were visiting our son and daughter-in-law in Sydney. We had planned to visit various national parks near the city during our stay. A park high on our list was Royal National Park just south of the city. Established in 1879 this was Australia’s first ever national park and only the second such park in the world, Yellowstone being the first.

In preparation for birding while on my holiday I bought a book called “A Birdwatcher’s Guide to the Sydney Region”. This book had sections on different parts of the region, maps, how to get there and what to expect to see. In the section on Royal National Park it states that walking down Lady Carrington Drive is a good place to see Lyrebirds.

Yeah – right. Have the birds read this guide?

We parked in the car park and started our walk along this drive. Naturally my eyes were focussed up in the trees, looking for birds. I was quickly adding many species to my notebook. My wife, some 15 metres behind me, gave a sudden urgent call for me to look around. I was being followed by a male Superb Lyrebird!

We had excellent views of this bird only metres away. It was obviously quite used to having people on his territory.

This was before we had a digital camera so I can’t show a photo of said bird. Somewhere, however, in our vast collection of slides and prints, we do have a photo. I must search through and scan it on to my computer and then show it here.

Birding Bloopers #17

Over the last few weeks I have featured many birding bloopers from birders all over Australia and even some from overseas. These have generally first appeared on the Birding-Aus forum. I have been very amused at the problems some birders have, including myself, in identifying birds. I have also been impressed with the willingness of birders to be embarrassed in public in this way.

Here is #17 in this series, but with a happy ending:

I had a classic with a tour group up in PNG, when I spied a far distant Black Sicklebill (largest of the Birds of Paradise and pretty rare in accessible areas as they get shot for their long tail plumes) atop a snag on a distant ridge, like they usually are.

We scoped the thing for some minutes and everyone was very happy, then as I looked again it took off and turned into a Papuan Mountain Pigeon that had been sitting with two sticks right behind it, exactly like distant Black Sicklebill tail feathers………
Oooer, credibility nose dive and some of the folks were not smiling at losing a megatick. Happily however Orni was looking out for me because not 2 minutes later I scanned a ridge behind us and found a real Black Sicklebill!
Phil Gregory

Thanks Phil for your contribution to this series of articles.

To read more in this series click here.

Question for readers:

When did you experience an embarrassing birding moment? Perhaps it was a mistaken identification. Perhaps you didn’t look carefully enough and were later proved wrong. Maybe the bird itself fooled you in some way.

I invite readers to submit their birding bloopers in the comments section below. If it’s good enough I might just feature it in a post of its own, with a link back to your blog (if you have one).