Twitchathon 2001 NSW- Central Coast Champions Report

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Subject: Twitchathon 2001 NSW- Central Coast Champions Report
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 19:10:58 +1100
Firstly let me congratulate the Wacked Out Woodswallows (David Geering & Co) for winning the NSW Twitchathon with 218 species, highest count ever for NSW, and also the 2nd place getters, the Hunter Home Brewers, with 211 species. Both teams excelled themselves over previous results.
Determined to better our last years total of 189, the most the Champions have achieved in 9 years of competion, the 2001 Team of Craig Arms, David Taylor, Larry Milligen and Alan Morris set off on Friday to be able to check out the most suitable route around our starting point, the little village of Baradine in NW NSW. We decided to commence at Trapyard Dam, Merriwindi SF because in our pre-start reconnaisance Painted Honeyeater, Turquoise Parrot and Red-capped Robin were all found here.  So at 1542 hrs on Saturday we located a pair of Red-capped Robins and kept them in our view until 1600 hrs, so the first few species on our list included those three species. Also at this site were Masked & White-browed Woodswallow, Chestnut-rumped Thornbills & Speckled Warbler, 32 species in 25 minutes. Then off to Sandy Creek Rd, where Cockatiel, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater & Apostlebird, all "western" birds, difficult to get further east were added. We visited Stumpy Lane where there was a Spotted Bowerbird at bower,  located Turquoise Parrots 2 more locations, saw Rufous Songlarks, Blue Bonnets & Yellow-throated Miners at Carmel Lane, found 2 Black-tailed Native-hens at Terrigerie Lagoon (where I have not seen them previously), and then a swoop through Baradine village collecting Blackbirds and House Sparrows. At 1800 hrs with only 15 more minutes of daylight to go, headed for the Goorianawaa Valley where in failing daylight we found our only White-winged Fairy-wrens, Brown Songlarks and Emus! A half-hour wait in Wittenbra SF after dusk found Tawny Frogmouth, Owlet Nightjar and White-throated Nightjar but no owls!. Dinner was taken at 2000hrs in the dark near Binnaway but again no owls calling. However with 93 species on the first day, we were please as we had not achieved that number before.
We slept  3 hours at Battery Rock, Merriwa (it was cold and I was the coldest!! am I getting to old for this?-perish the thought!) and we were away by 3.30 am but again no owls, and by 5.30 am we were at Ash Island, in the lower Hunter Valley waiting for daylight. But there were good birds here when the mist lifted and we added 38 species inluding Rufous Fantail, Black-faced Monarch & Night Heron in the rainforest regeneration plot, not to mention all the waders, Whiskered Terns and Spotted Crake on the ponds. Then onto Market Swamp Sandgate where we picked up Magpie Geese & Wandering Whistle Duck! Good birds to have under your belt & so glad we did not have to storm the gates of the Shortalnd Wetalnd centre! Pambalong Swamp at Minmi turned up the expected Latham's Snipe and Pallid Cuckoo. Finally returning to the Central Coast where we concentrated out efforts around Katandra Reserve & Ourimbah Creek Valley for their rainforest birds, Tuggerah Lakes for more waterbirds, and the Toowoon Bay & Soldiers Point Reefs for migratory waders and seabirds! Much time was wasted looking for Long-billed Corellas & Black Bittern (unsuccessfully), Spotted Doves & Bul Buls (found eventually) in the middle of the day, while a small flock of White-throated Needletails at 1600hrs and a large flock of Fluttering Shearwaters were unexpected but very welcomed at the end! Our total of 200 was the best ever for our team and again we were placed 3rd in the competition.
Our  finish venue was at Picnic Point, The Entrance where two other teams, Can-U-C-A-Bird-E in the main race and The Berkeley Vale Bustards in the Champagne Race also finished and members  of the CCFOC organised a early dinner welcoming committee. It was very pleasing to have the CCFOC enter 3 teams in the race and between us we have raised over $1000 for the Cowra Woodland Project. I am very chuffed about the local support given by birdwatchers on the Central Coast for this project, thankyou to my team members and our sponsors.
Alan Morris
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