Twitchathon - SA (long)

Subject: Twitchathon - SA (long)
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 1995 09:25:12 +1030
A report on the Cycling Kites twitching day last weekend.  We (Hugh
Possingham, Drew Tyre and Eric Dorfman) saw 140 species (2 off our cycling
record) and rode a very leisurely 90km, maybe a bit less.  Major problems
were disintegrating bikes and a bad tide at St Kilda saltfields.

Interesting fact is we basically only went to 3, yes THREE, places -
  Horsenell's gully park at the edge of the city (wet spot with things like
White-naped HO, Red-browed Firetail, YT black cockatoo and WB scrubwren)
  Sandy Creek park - dry woodland near Gawler/Barossa - Tawny-crowned HO,
Diamond Firetail, Red-capped Robin, Chough, both Bronze-Cuckoos) and
  Saltfields/Buckland Park - waders and ducks
(in between the later two spots is a 50km ride in open heavily utilised
agricultural country with songlarks, pipits, White-browed and Masked

Worst misses:  Curlew Sandpiper, Black-shouldered Kite, Marsh Harrier
(waders bad and we only had 4 birds of prey)

Unexpected: lots of Budgies (recently arrived), 4 Freckled Duck.  The
Buckland Park lake at the edge of the saltfields enabled us to see all the
duck in about 10 minutes plus both spoonbill.

This was our fourth effort on basically similar route (shorter this year)
with scores of 135, 142, 142 and 140.  It is hard to get 150 on a bicycle
from Adelaide but certainly possible I think - next year maybe.

For those interested in the venerable history of non-fossil fuel twitching
here are scores in teams I have organised - FOX is still negotiating about
rights to the full length feature film.

1986 - Oxford - bicycle - 57 species (not a good start that included flat
1987 - Oxford - foot - 72 species (not bad since we could not get to sea,
included Little Owl and Goldeneye)
1988 - Stanford (just below san Francisco) - bicycle - 106 (could easily
get 130 here - wonderful ducks)
(All the above were midnight to midnight which is what it really should be
here to stop people driving all night)
1990 - Canberra - bicycle - 100 species (mainly around the city, it is
almost impossible to find waterbirds in Canberra, White Ibis are exciting
species, but the bush birds are great)

I think 130 is possible by foot around Adelaide - but I have never been
able to convince anyone to do this with me - it would certainly involve
jogging/walking most of the night to get from the saltfields to the hills.

Hugh Possingham

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