"...I had never paid much attention to spiders until a few years ago. Once you begin watching spiders, you haven't time for much else --- the world is really loaded with them." - E. B. White

That quotation from the author of the classic "Charlotte's Web", is not actually from that book. It is taken from a letter he wrote to his editor at Harper & Row answering a request for an explanation of his motivations for writing the book. (Interestingly, he concludes this explanatory note, "I haven't told why I wrote the book, but I haven't told you why I sneeze, either. A book is a sneeze."

While I can't say I share his ability to so easily "sneeze" out classic books at the drop of a hat, I paraphrase (steal) the first quotation often in conversation and in presentations.
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Big doings this morning for the ASFNC quarterly wader count at the sewage ponds. Access was arranged through the folks at Power & Water due to some burning off that was due to be happening in the wood lot at the rear of the ponds - public access was being restricted but we were allowed access to complete the count. Just as well too!

The only shorebird that any of us had any real hopes of seeing was the long-staying Black-tailed Godwit that has been seen right through winter so far.

In 2005 the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology published its report of the rediscovery of the iconic Ivory-billed Woodpecker Campephilus principalis, rightful claimant to the title of Grail Bird in US ornithology, and presumed extinct since the 1920s. Exhaustive searches of the Cache and White River systems ultimately produced no further evidence and the "rediscovery" is now widely discredited.
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More exciting Night Parrot news is filtering through in anticipation of the "big release" later today. In advance of today's press conference at the Queensland Museum, John Young has given a couple of thrilling interviews. They're both great listening. John's excitement is palpable.

The interview from Radio National can be heard here.

Another interview from 2ser can be heard here.

We await further stories and this amazing footage he speaks of.

Night Parrot finally photographed in Queensland; Princess Parrots reported in the middle of Alice Springs; Yellow Chat photographed at the Alice poo ponds. Well, the first of those events is orders of magnitude more significant than the others. It's hard not to have been affected by John Young's historic achievement this week. It's as if someone has taken down the colour saturation on every bird I see.
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Big, BIG, news folks. It appears to be the real deal.

The day that ornithologists and birdos everywhere have anticipated, and perhaps in some way even dreaded, seems to have arrived.
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She can sing, she can knit, and she can whip up a mean preserve or chutney, but it seems she also has a knack for turning up unusual birds. The Urban Nanna has been busy down south and had an interesting encounter in Mt. Eliza this morning.

It's become known as the "Willy Wagtail" - as in Will 'e stay or Will 'e go? By Anne and Will's most conservative recollections of when the bird was first noticed (unidentified) in their garden, this is the eighth day that the bird has been present, and the official fifth day of the twitch since the bird was identified. He's become quite the celebrity too, achieving media coverage in all the daily tabloids, broadsheets and television news bulletins in the last few days.

At the close of play today, Australia's first mainland Forest Wagtail put in a very brief appearance after giving some of the best views of the twitch earlier in the day. Local birders who had returned for repeat viewings in the morning were rewarded with stunning views of the bird feeding among the garden beds with prolonged hunting sessions out in the open on the lawn.
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The most famous Forest Wagtail in the country, seems to be happy to play the game and stick around for a few days. A few Alice Springs locals have been back around for repeat views this morning and it has been showing well for most who've come to view it.

A few interstate twitchers will be arriving today, but only time will tell if they are successful in seeing the bird in the afternoon; it has not been showing as well later in the day, but has been seen in the lead up to sunset on most days.
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