The Big Twitch

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: The Big Twitch
From: "Sean Dooley" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 21:53:46 +1100
New Year's Greetings to all,
As the clock winds down on 2001 I am preparing to head out to the wet forests east of Melbourne to look for, on  the stroke of midnight, Sooty Owl.
If I see it, then Sooty Owl will be the first bird on my year list, and more importantly, take number spot for "The Big Twitch".
"The Big Twitch" is my quixotic attempt to break the Australian birdwatching record for seeing the greatest number of birds in one year.
Basically my aim is to try and see every Australian species be they resident, migrant, or vagrant that is in Australia in the year 2002.
The record as far as I know was set by the late Mike Entwhistle of England who saw approximately 635 species back in the late eighties/early nineties. I don't believe he birded Autralia's external territories as I intend to do, so I hope to get substantially higher than that. In fact my pie-in-the-sky aim is to try and see 700 species in the one year. Seeing how it took legendary twitchers over twenty years or longer, this may be unattainable.
But with heaps of luck, some thorough planning and the assistance of the Australian birdwatching community I think I have a reasonable chance of getting there.
For those of you who see twitching as evil incarnate, I would like to add that this is not a purely selfish indulgence on my part. With the blessing of Birds Australia, I will be publicising the plight of our birds as I travel and will try to raise sponsorship for the Threatened Species Appeal in a manner similar to the Twitchathon. The logisitcs of this are still to be worked out, but stay tuned for more information.
Similarly, I hope to have a website up and running by the end of January so that people can track me in my quest. Until then I thought I would publically announce my intentions so that if the going gets tough and I back out of the project, I will now have publically humilated myself.
Oh, well, better go twitch meself a Sooty Owl.
Will keep you posted...
Sean Dooley
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