Bird lists from outings have been posted on the MELBOCA Website (revised to the BirdLife Melbourne Local Website following the amalgamation) since Outing No 1 at Yellingbo on 4 February 2007. This outing produced a list of 37 species. For many years the total number of species seen on outings was always greater than the number of outings. This was undoubtedly helped by the Photography Group venturing to Bendigo and Echuca for extended outings. However, slowly but surely, and finally on Outing No 270, again at Yellingbo, on 3 June 2012, the number of outings and the total number of species seen became equal. Since then the gap has widened, with the number of outings (now 370) steadily surpassing the total number of 295 species seen.
But it hasn’t all been bad news as outing participants have seen some great birds to add to our list in 2013. These include Northern Shoveler, Southern Giant-Petrel, Grey Goshawk, Arctic Jaeger, Orange-bellied Parrot and Sooty Owl.
For details of all species seen on outings go to http://www.birdlifemelbourne.org.au/outings/
As I post bird lists from recent outings I now wonder when we will get the extra 5 species to take us from our current number of 295 to 300. I look at the list of species seen and wonder what is so hard, with a bit of determination and a few extra kilometres, in finding a Terek Sandpiper, a Ruff, a Gull-billed Tern, an Eastern Koel, a Dollarbird, a Grey-crowned Babbler or a Spotted Quail-thrush, 5 of which are probably the most likely to get us to 300.
Of course if one of the outings was to venture on a pelagic we could get them all in one go. It would just need a couple of the frequently seen Albatrosses, a Storm-Petrel, a Petrel and a Shearwater other than Short-tailed Shearwater. Not a big ask for a more adventurous outing.
The BirdLife Australia Working List of Birds now includes Greylag Goose and Muscovy Duck, but I am not that desperate to accept these species without concrete evidence that these aren’t just stray ferals and are in fact a member of a sustainable wild population. I have just about dismissed these species as potential additions.
So that is the challenge for outing leaders – another 5 species to get us to 300. When will it happen?