Twitched: Paradise Shelduck At Lake Wollumboola

I will try and tell a quick tale of a twitch.

We had heard about the Hudsonian Godwit that was being seen at Lake Wollumboola in NSW, but we had plans and bookings on Kangaroo Island. The Hudwit would be an Aussie Lifer for us both and we considered chasing it, but we continued with our plans and had a wonderful time on KI (as you can see in the two blogs before this).

Then we heard that a Paradise Shelduck had also shown up at Lake Wollumboola. This was an Australian first! Except for an old record in 1950 on Norfolk Island, this was the very first record of this bird anywhere in Australia. So as we boarded the ferry at Penneshaw to leave KI, we decided to go for it. We did the trip across in just over two days, leaving from Murray Bridge, SA and over-nighting at a nice little caravan park in Port Darlington, NSW.

After driving through heavy downpours of rain as we wound our way down toward the coast, we finally made our way over to the little parking area by the lake in Culburra Beach. When we pulled in, we saw Mike Carter just putting his scope together. We had arrived at the same time as the man who has seen more birds in Australia than anyone! I was and am, very grateful! 

That's Mike Carter and me (Lynn snapped a photo of us as we walked back).
Lynn, Mike and I headed down the beach along the lakeshore, and a little over a kilometer along we spotted the duck on the southeaster shore. YES! We continued a bit closer and got better views, but still allowed the duck plenty of room. With the rain drizzling and threatening to pour, I had decided to leave my camera in Troopi. However, I did manage to take a few of my first ever “digiscoped” shots. I do not really know how to do this, and the adapter for the phone is packed away somewhere. Regardless, I managed to point the phone at the image in the eyepiece and fiddle with it until I got some recording shots. I am massively grateful.
The first look and my first attempt at digiscoping... but there it is! Paradise Shelduck at Lake Wollumboola, NSW.

It's not like I got better at it, but you can see the duck.

Paradise Shelduck, Lake Wollumboola, NSW 
We checked the Godwits around the lake carefully, but did not see the Hudsonian. We will go back this morning and give the Hudwit a couple hours of looking before we head south toward commitments in Victoria. I will let y’all know if we find it. I’d love to make it a double twitch, but still… We saw this mega rarity and I was with Mike Carter when he added a bird to his Australian List! He is at about 875 now. That is incredible! I am so grateful to have met, and birded with this amazing and personable gentleman. Timing. It is everything.
Lifer Selfie with Mike Carter, Lynn and me. Paradise Shelduck, Lake Wollumboola, NSW 6 January 2016

Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.