Please join us in congratulating Tony Bischoff of Port Macquarie, Australia, winner of the November 2015 eBird Challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optic. Our November winner was drawn from among those who submitted at least 15 eligible checklists from one location in November. Tony’s name was drawn randomly from the eBirders who achieved the November challenge threshold. Tony will receive new ZEISS Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars for his eBirding efforts. We asked Tony to tell us a little more about himself, his use of eBird, and his love of birds – read on for more!
G’day. I’m Tony Bischoff from Down Under, aka Australia or Oz; more accurately from Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales (NSW), about 450km north of Sydney. My original birding interest was triggered in 1975 when I enjoyed a six month camping trip around Australia. I have completed many thousands of bird lists during the ensuing 40 years! My non-birding Child Bride often comments (with a distant look in her eye and a crooked smile) that she would never have seen all the Sewage Ponds, Cemeteries, burning Gibber Plains and Crocodile-infested Swamps in Australia if she hadn’t married me……
I believe life should be fun, and closely linked to that concept is Retirement which is (without doubt) the most wonderful word in the English language. I discovered this word four years ago and we (or sometimes just I & the bins) 4WD & caravan throughout the various states of Oz chasing those feathered beauties. November 2015 was just such a time. For five months earlier in 2015, we had traversed mid western NSW, coastal Queensland through to mid Cape York, The Gulf, Northern Territory, and far western Queensland (24,000km).
So in September it was south along coastal NSW to Victoria and South Australia for 76 nights of mostly bush camping in the ‘off-road’ caravan (14,000km).
Temperatures ranged from zero degrees to 46 degrees Celsius. Victoria holds a fantastic variety of habitat and hence birds, including rainforest in the ranges. In other places the scrub is so thick the birds have to go out on the tracks to lay their eggs, whilst up the road a few hundred kilometers one can find desert & sand dunes where all there is to drink is powdered water! A few bird lists may demonstrate the variety of birds; Victoria first, then South Australia – Note that HC is ‘Heard Calling’.
In South Australia one 46*C day, I stopped beside the Murray River in the heat of the day and drank until the water stopped running! It WAS hot. It was also here that I caught the Berri Ferry to go to the Waikerie Bakery where I supped on the exotic dish Roast Squirrel, carefully noting the warning on the label “may contain nuts”.
I would encourage any birder to explore Down Under for the experience of a lifetime. A friendly and helpful welcome awaits you.
And I cannot adequately verbalize the enrichment of my life due to the revolutionary advent of eBird, taking me from paper to electronic records! So instant, so easy, such a wealth of information available at the push of a button or two. Hats off to eBird!!! And thank you to Zeiss.