2003 Victorian Twitchathon Report 25 ? 26 October (Long)
Well it?s been run, won and lost! The 2003 Victorian Twitchathon is
over for another year. Total numbers of birds were down, due mainly to
the rains and winds in Southern and Central Victoria over the weekend,
however participation in the race was high. Over 50 tired and bleary-
eyed birdo?s made it to the finish line at Birds Australia in Hawthorn.
The abbreviated results are as follows:
· Tick Tock Twins (Paul Rose and Sean Fitzgerald) 174 (1st Prize)
· Seven Year Twitchers (Tim Dolby, Greg Oakley and John ?I?d rather
play cricket? Harris) 170 (2nd Prize)
· Common Driving-Petrelheads (Lawrie Conole, Grant Baverstock, Russell
Woodford) 156 (1st Prize)
· Norwegian Blues (Jack Krohn Snr, Jack Krohn Jnr, George Pergaminelis)
123 (2nd Prize)
· Bush Turkeys (Sean Dooley, Peter Lansley, Nevil Amos, Stuart Cooney,
Paul Peake) 136 (1st Prize)
· Abbreviated Catbirds (Craig Morley, Margaret Cameron, John Bottomley)
129 (2nd Prize)
· Sooty Albatross Catbirds (Margaret Cameron, Marylyn Hewish, Dean
As seen above, the best birds for the 2003 Twitchathon was remarkably
Sooty Albatross, seen off Aireys Inlet Lighthouse. Other notable birds
recorded during the Twitchathon included Black Honeyeater, Crimson
Chat, Budgerigar, Chestnut-rumped and Shy Hylacola, White-winged Fairy-
wren and Spotted Nightjar.
The following is a summary of the 2003 Victorian Twitchathon.
In the north of Victoria 2 teams saw Black Honeyeater, recorded at both
Goschen Bushland Reserve and at Tresco West Bushland Reserve. Other
birds recorded in Northern Victoria included Emu, Budgerigar, Crimson
Chat, Zebra Finch, Variegated, Splendid and White-winged Fairy-wren,
Black-eared Cuckoo, Southern-scrub Robin, Hooded Robin, Striped and
Blue-faced Honeyeater, Major Mitchell?s Cockatoo, Blue Bonnet, Regent
and Mulga Parrot, Black Kite and Spotted Harrier. There was also an
abundance of Rufous Songlark, White-winged Triller, Spiny-checked
Honeyeater and Rainbow Bee-eater, and there were literally thousands of
Whiskered Tern around the inland lakes, a bird recorded by all teams
participating in the Twitchathon. Also 5 woodswallow were recorded -
White-breasted, Masked, Black-faced, White-browed, and Dusky
In the mid-North of Victoria, such as at Terrick Terrick National Park
and the Whipstick, birds recorded included Spotted Nightjar, Shy
Hylacola, Black-chinned, Fuscous, and Tawney Crowned Honeyeater,
Australian Ringneck, and Red-capped Robin.
Birds recorded from the southern forests of Victoria, such as at the
Otway Ranges ?National Park?, Ironbark Reserve at Point Addis, and the
You Yangs, included Peregrine Falcon, Rose Robin, Chestnut-rumped
Hylacola, Crescent Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail, Restless Flycatcher,
Southern Whiteface, Rufous Bristlebird, Brush Bronzewing, Painted
Button-quail, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Satin
Bowerbird, Latham?s Snipe, and Blue-winged Parrot was common.
At sea Sooty Albatross was amazingly seen by three teams, although only
officially recorded by one! Two teams discounted this bird in disbelief
and possibly a fear of ridicule! (Well-done Margaret Cameron for taking
the leap!). Also reported at sea was White-browed and Shy Albatross
(including race salvini), and Short-tailed Shearwater. Along the coast
Black-faced Cormorant, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Pied Oystercatcher,
Caspian and Fairy Tern were all recorded.
At the Western Treatment Plant and on the Bellarine Peninsula the
numbers of migrating waders were still low. Waders recorded included
Black-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Eastern Curlew, Sharp-tailed
Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Red-
necked Stint. Some of the other birds recorded in this area included
Red-kneed Dotterel, Buff-banded Rail, Glossy Ibis, Striated
Calamanthus, Black Falcon, and Fairy and White-winged Black Tern.
In Melbourne Azure Kingfisher and Sacred, Nankeen were both recorded as
well as Nankeen Night-Heron, the ubiquitous Rainbow Lorikeet, and
a ?golden-mantled? phase of Eastern Rosella was seen at Chelsworth
Park, in Ivanhoe
Overall there were low numbers of robin, thornbill and honeyeater, and
(probably related) low numbers of cuckoo and mid-sized raptors. There
were also only few records of Black-tailed Native Hen, Brolga, Black-
fronted Dotterel and Banded Plover, and no records of Pacific Golden
Plover - possibly the biggest dip for the Twitchathon? Other birds with
a low numbers included herons and egrets, and there were no recorded
bittern or crake. Also, aside from Spotted Nightjar mentioned above,
the only night birds recorded were Boobook Owl and Tawny Frogmouth.
Finally some of the birds reported outside the official race time of
the Twitchathon included Gull-billed Tern, Pied Honeyeater, Little
Button-quail, Cockatiel, and Powerful and Barking Owl. Bad luck!
All in all this years Twitchathon was a texcellen survey of the current
status of Victorian birds. For example, nice birds recorded in the
North, such as Black Honeyeater, Crimson Chat and Budgerigar - and of
course the Sooty Albatross.
My special thanks goes to the participant in the 2003 Victoria
Twitchathon ? well done everyone! I would also like to thank Helen and
Bill Larkin, Doris Graham, Naomi Hall and Sally Symonds for helping
with the prizes and the barbeque at Birds at Hawthorn. Special thanks
also to Tania Ireton and Aine Walsh for doing a great job as our
official Birds Australia judges.
All the best,
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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