Tuesday, May 8, 2012


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

Now I have finally entered the 21st Century with this blog, and all my photos, writing and birdwatching are coming together in one place. So, how good is it when you can have four hobbies and link them all together, do them all at once and not have to apportion time between them? Yeah.
The Spirit of Enderby serenely at anchor, Campbell Island ...
... and the next day in a full gale at 53ยบ South Latitude on the way to Macquarie Island

All images are © Jen Spry unless otherwise stated and may not be used without written permission

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