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Bush lecturer on top in bird spot list

By Patrick Nelson

Richard Waring’s photo of a Red-capped Robin with a Splendid Fairy-wren near Alice Springs Richard Waring’s photo of a Red-capped Robin with a Splendid Fairy-wren near Alice Springs

Outback lecturer Richard Waring considers himself fortunate that his job of delivering Vocational Education and Training to some of Central Australia’s most remote students provides him with the opportunity to pursue his passion for photography and his enthusiasm for bird spotting.

Indeed Mr Waring is the NT’s top bird spotter on E-bird, an online database of bird observations involving more than 100,000 participants worldwide.

“Of the 347 bird species in the Northern Territory, I’ve had the good fortune to see 237 of them this year, and of the 737 bird species in Australia, I’ve seen 314, which places me 45th for bird spotting in Australia,” Mr Waring said.

Not surprisingly, he regularly features among the front-runners in Central Australia’s Twitchathon, a bird-spotting competition held during the annual Bird Festival.

“My sons and I have won the competition twice, including this year, and we came second last year,” he said.

Mr Waring and son saw a white-browed treecreeper during this year’s Twitchathon, the only sighting of the species in the Northern Territory this year.

“My son spotted it and identified it as a treecreeper first. It was exciting as there are not many treecreeper sightings in Central Australia.

“We love the challenge of trying to identify as many birds as possible in a given time frame, but really it’s about spending time with my sons, as well as getting outdoors and enjoying the birds.”

Mr Waring has travelled tens of thousands of kilometres along some of Central Australia’s dustiest desert highways to deliver certificate courses in business.

“I think of it as a perk of the job that I’ve seen more than my fair share of the Territory’s natural beauty in the 10 years I’ve been a travelling to remote locations.”

Mr Waring, who serves as BirdLife Central Australia’s branch secretary, has submitted a portfolio of his best bird photographs in Australian Photography’s Nature Photographer of the Year competition.

The winner of the $5000 first prize will be named in January.