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Atherton Tablelands Bird Photography Group inaugural meeting

Alan Sweet | Guest Contributor

Seven people attended the inaugural meeting of the Atherton Tablelands Bird Photography Group on 21 June 2023, with two people sending apologies.

Alan (Al) Sweet gave a short talk on how the Group came to be established and his vision for how it would proceed. He emphasised the need for ethical photography, and encouraged everyone to read “Birdlife Australia’s Code of Ethics” in Digital Contact Call on 26 May 2023.

He listed several topics for discussion and some aspects of each that needed consideration.

1. A social bird photography excursion

  • would be devoted to bird photography not bird watching;

  • should not conflict with other birding activities on the Tablelands; and

  • venues would be decided on by presence of birds, not numbers or variety.

Al wanted to aim for a Bird Photography excursion once per month. It was felt that this might be a little ambitious because of peoples’ commitments. It was decided that bird photography excursions should be announced on an ad-hoc basis.

If a suitable venue was found then a date, time and place would be announced. In addition, if there was a specific bird photography opportunity, then members could be contacted by SMS or email and an excursion organised.

Specific photographic excursions, such as night photography of owls etc, could also be arranged. Many felt that late afternoon excursions were preferable to morning ones, and Pelican Point Road and Lagoon Road were possible locations.

2. Monthly meeting

Everyone agreed that a monthly meeting was desirable although finding a suitable date and time that suited everyone might be difficult. Meetings needed to be personal rather than “on-line” to meet the objectives of the Group.

It was eventually decided that a meeting time of 10:00 am on the first Monday of each month was as good as any. Consequently, the next meeting will be held at:

10:00 am on Monday, 7 August at 15 Countryview Drive, Atherton

The monthly meeting will review the events of the previous month, formulate plans for the next, and people will be invited to give short talks on subjects suggested by members. These talks will be bird or photography related. Al Sweet will be responsible for organising this.

Forest Kingfisher. Photo by Alan Sweet.

3. Monthly Challenge

All present heartily endorsed Al Sweet’s plan to issue a monthly “Bird Photography Challenge”. This will be open to all BLNQ Supporters as a means of getting more people involved. There has been a considerable amount of interest expressed by the Cairns Birders Group, and everyone present saw no reason why they should not be invited to join in the Monthly Challenge also.

The Challenges will normally run for two months with a new Challenge issued each month. However, the initial Challenge will run for just one month as a “teething” exercise.

3.1 Rules of the Monthly Challenge

  • Photographs must be taken during the period of the Challenge.

  • Photographs must be of birds that occur on the Atherton Tablelands.

  • Submissions must be received before midnight on the closing date of the Challenge.

  • Members may submit up to four photos per Challenge.

  • Photographs should be in JPEG format; and no larger than 3,000 pixels on longest side.

  • Photographs must be submitted with:

    • accurate bird identification;

    • photographer’s name;

    • place taken; and

    • date taken.

All rights will remain the property of the photographer.

Initially photos will be submitted to

Viewing and discussion of the responses to the Monthly Challenge will form part of the following monthly meeting. A selection of the images will be published on the Bird Photography page of BLNQ’s website.

The first Challenge:

Waterbirds other than ducks

Closing date: 31 July 2023


The July/August Challenge:

Show me some red!

Closing date: 31 August 2023



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