The Puny Twitch continues

To: Birding_aus <>
Subject: The Puny Twitch continues
From: J and A Flack <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 10:35:29 +1100 (EST)
G'day Birders,

I have continued on my Dools inspired quest to see 80
species in inner Melbourne by year's end. My tally has
grown considerably in the fortnight since my last
report of 46 on the 8th.

A quick trip through Royal Park Golfcourse (near
Melbourne Zoo) added Musk Lorikeet, Red-rumped Parrot
plus both Bell and Noisy Miner, but not Red-browed
Finch, which I'd seen there in June 2001. There were
also Crested Pigeon, but I'd already seen them at two
other sites. I'll keep trying for the Red-browed Finch
but suspect they could prove a bit tricky to get
within 5km of the CBD (suggestions appreciated).

Thanks to a tip off from Richard Nowotny I managed to
tick Royal Spoonbill at Westgate Park, also
Straw-necked Ibis (thermalling above), Red-capped
Plover and Whiskered Tern. One of the Royal Spoonbills
was in full breeding plumage and was a sight to behold
with his magnificent crest and fiery eyebrows. There
were also quite a few juvenile and immature
Black-winged Stilt, which several adults made fairly
obvious by yapping whilst making low passes above my

Detouring on my ride home one afternoon, via the
Maribyrnong River cycle path, I stopped at Newell's
Paddock. This is a pocket hanky sized wetland opposite
Flemington racecourse. Here I quickly netted (not
literally!) two of the less common introduced species;
Eurasian Tree Sparrow and Song Thrush. I was about to
leave when I was delighted to spot an Australian
Spotted Crake poking about on the narrow bank of a
tiny island.

Continuing along the Maribyrnong track I ticked
Red-necked Avocet at a lake which is being created as
part of a housing development on ex-Department of
Defence land. There is very little water in it at this
stage (there is very little water in anything at this
stage) but the avocets and stilts seem to like it.

Further still along the Maribyrnong I stoped to check
out a drainage line where I had seen Latham's Snipe
late last year. Sadly, there were no snipe visible, as
the reeds had shot up through the mud where they'd
foraged. But, to my surprise, I looked up to see a
Dusky Woodswallow watching me from the top of a
chain-mesh fence a few metres ahead. After recording
the details and moving on I glanced back so see it
dart into a shallow hollow about a metre from the
ground. Out with the binocs once again and I
discovered I could see its tail and the edge of a nest
protruding. Another bonus bird I wasn't expecting!

With these, and some of the usual suspects, the tally
now stands at 70. With all my favourite spots
exhausted and only two 'certainties' to go, things are
going to get serious from now on. I certainly get some
strange looks from passers-by, especially when peering
through my binocs at seemingly useless (through their
eyes) patches of noxious weeds. Little do they realise
how rewarding inner city birding can be. So, until I'm
arrested for loitering or escorted away by the people
in white coats "the Puny Twitch" will continue.


Alan Flack. - Yahoo! Messenger for SMS
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