Over the last 50 or so years I have had four pastimes that have stayed with me one way or another. They are birdwatching, taking photos of birds, being out on the water in boats, and writing.
I have been a birdwatcher since I was about 10 when Graham Pizzey showed me my first Tawny Frogmouth in a coastal tea-tree. I took my first bird photos in about 1956 with the family Box Brownie. The subject was a Superb Blue-wren in a tea-tree bush. The result was a slightly darker grey patch, just visible in the middle of a mass of grey twigs. In about 1966 I bought a Pentax Spotmatic 35mm camera but the expense and frustration of getting two or three good bird images from a role of 36 soon put paid to that.
|Tawny Frogmouths - not the original one, but taken at the You Yangs|
From when I was very young family holidays usually included some sort of fishing from small boats on lakes and bays. Later on I had friends with whom I could go sailing and this eventually led me to the joy of pelagic birdwatching. My first boat trip specifically for pelagic sea-birding was to sail in July 2001 from London to Melbourne on a containership. This was followed by my first Port Fairy pelagic trip in December 2002. Many more trips followed to where I have just done my 29th pelagic trip.
|P&O containership New Zealand Pacific. Sadly this ship has now been sent to the scrapyards in India|
|Wandering Albatross off Eden, NSW|
My first published bird article was back in 1975. In 2000 I met my friend Joy and willingly jumped feet first into manic birding. In 2003 I bought a small digital camera with a 4X zoom lens and learnt again the pleasure of photographing birds, with one MAJOR added benefit – the DELETE button. In early 2004 I started putting reports on Birding Aus.
|Onboard the MV Flyingfish on the way to Ashmore Reef, 2009|
|The Spirit of Enderby serenely at anchor, Campbell Island ...|
|... and the next day in a full gale at 53º South Latitude on the way to Macquarie Island|
All images are © Jen Spry unless otherwise stated and may not be used without written permission