The 7 Year Twitchers embarked on the 24 hour version this year but came up
just short once again!
After a fair bit of discussion and planning, we came up with a fairly
challenging route which started near Swan Hill, then down to Lorne and along
the coast back to Melbourne.
Tim and I left on Friday night to check out Goschen Flora Reserve and one of
my old favourites, Tresco West Bushland Reserve near Lake Boga. We got out
to Goschen at 6am and the place was alive with Budgerigars, Cockatiels,
Woodswallows and White-winged Trillers (and Rufous Songlarks) everywhere. We
got on to a few Black Honeyeaters (and a possible Pied), so the omen was
good for the 3pm start!
We also checked out Tresco, and that too was jumping with the above spp.
plus Zebra Finch, Blue Bonnet, Little Buttonquail, Rainbow Bee-eater, Pied
Butcherbird and in one area, Black Honeyeater was the most common
After poking around the Lake Boga area for a few hours (seeing WW Fairy-wren
at Lake Tutchewoop) , we were back at Goschen at 12pm for a 3pm start. It's
only a small place, so we knew it well by 3pm!!
We had isolated a couple of Variegated Fairy-wrens at 2:50pm and that was
the first tick at 3pm! We were off and running with most of the other
specialties like Budgie, Black Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater and Hooded
Robin. Unfortunately (and is always the case) the Masked and Black-faced
Woodswallows and Cockatiels we had seen all day up to 2:50pm disappeared!
We raced over to Tresco to pick up Zebra Finch, Blue Bonnet and Pied
Butcherbird and then a quick scan of Boga netted us a few more including a
bonus Blue-faced Honeyeater. On the road to Terrick we picked up many
raptors including Black and Whistling Kite, Kestrel and Spotted Harrier. We
were on target with about 50 in the first hour or so!
Arriving at Terrick, we were full of anticipation, especially when a Scarlet
Robin flew past the car on the way in. Then, nothing! The place was eerily
quiet. After a quick walk around the Rock and back, we had only picked up a
handful. No Whitefaces, Diamond Firetails and not even any thornbills!!
After (thankfully) hearing a Gilberts Whistler we decided to hurry down to
the Whipstick for 'plan B".
We got there with only about 45m of light left, but still managed to hear
White-eared and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, a bonus Shy Heathwren and a few
Day 1 had finished with a reasonable launching pad of 72.
Then the long trip down to Lorne, a quick camp setup (and Boobook tick) and
then an attempt to get a couple of hours sleep. It is almost surreal waking
up in one of Victoria's wettest forests after trudging around in the warm
mallee only a few hours before!
Day 2 began with the dawn chorus in Angahook NP in Lorne. A rousing dawn it
was, too - picking up around 15 birds (which included Rose Robin, Crescent
HE and all the other suspects) in a few minutes.
Into the car and out of Lorne (seeing Satin Bowerbird on the track) and the
trip around the coast.
Here we picked up Rufous Bristlebird (in one area almost as common as
Blackbirds on the roadside), WB Sea-eagle, Lathams Snipe and Shy Albatross
while sea-watching. 20-30 birds at least in transit was a good return.
Because of the slow going at Terrick, we decided to detour (after doing
several sites on the Bellarine) to the You Yangs to pick up some more small
woodland spp. Here we got Musk, Purple-crowned and Little Lorikeet and
Diamond Firetail, Red-browed Finch etc.
Then the obligatory tour of Werribee (Kirk Pt resembled Mawson Base in
Antarctica) to pick up all the ducks and a couple of others.
Luckily we had factored in a stop at Chelsworth Park in Ivanhoe, because we
picked up our final 6 birds here - including Azure and Sacred Kingfisher and
The final tally was 170 ? beaten by just 4 - not bad considering we had a
few dramas re cars etc (I won't elaborate).
Of course we had some bad dips (doesn't everyone?) like Grey Butcherbird,
Yellow-faced and Brown-headed HE, Mistletoebird etc. and many other birds
seen just outside the 24hr period.
It was, however, great fun despite being a tad tiring - (I was so tired on
Monday I had consigned next year to the 8 hour event). 3 days have elapsed
and I'm thinking 24hr again!! (Sorry Tim/John!)
Congratulations to the Tick Tock Twins for back-to-back victories and to
Laurie and co for a great total in the 8 hour event,
Hot chart ringtones and polyphonics. Go to
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