On Saturday morning Alan Morris, Mike Barth, Mike Kuhl and myself set out
on a long drive west in hope to win this years NSW Twitchathon (or at least
damage our teams record!).
We arrived at our destination in Baradine at around 3:00pm which gave us
enough time to search the area for species and sites of interest.
We quickly located many of the local specialties including Spotted Bowerbird
and Mallee Ringneck in a friend of the teams' backyard and after a cup of
tea we set out to our undisclosed starting location.
A few seconds after 4:00pm we found a Square-tailed Kite, Spiny-cheeked
Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Dollarbird, Peaceful
Dove, Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous Whistler and just before we left heard a
Bar-shouldered Dove. We drove around the town for a short while to pickup
some common species for the list including Brown Honeyeater, Galah,
Kookaburra, Blackbird and so on.
We drove out of town to pick up some of the more uncommon suspects like
Royal Spoonbill, White-rumped Miner, Mallee Ringneck, Little Friarbird,
Cockatiel, Grey-crowned Babbler and more, and then continued to a forested
area where we obtained , Masked and White-browed Woodswallows, Inland
Thornbill, Varied Sittella, Turquoise Parrot and more. Mike Barth spotted a
Red-capped Robin which quickly flew out of view. Myself and the others
assumed we would see more Red-capped Robins during day so we weren't too
fussed to track this one down. We later realized that this was a silly
mistake as it was the only Red-cap seen during the whole trip!
We drove back into town after visiting a few more locations and picking up
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Blue Bonnet, and Emu, but dipped on Southern
White-face, Hooded Robin, Red-winged Parrot and other valuable western bush
Back in town we desperately tried to look for remaining boogey bush birds
but were only blessed with hearing a Brown Treecreeper and what we thought
sounded like an Eastern Yellow Robin, so we couldn't even tick it.
As it was getting dark we decided to take one last look in town for Red
Winged Parrot and the elusive Spotted Bowerbird which we cheekily wished we
had trapped and kept when we saw one half an hour before the Twitch started!
We failed to find other, but did hear a Channel-billed Cuckoo calling.
As the moon rose, we were heading east on the road to El'Dorando Motel in
Merriwa , which was out 'camp' site for the night. On the way we spotted
Tawny Frogmoth and Barn Owl aswell as dozens of young foxes crossing the
road, and two young Wallaroos which missed their final encounter with a
Pajero as a result of Mike Kuhl's advanced driving skills, and a bit of
We arose fresh at 4:00am in the morning and I ran outside to hear a Boobook
calling in the distance amidst the cacophony of many crowing roosters. I
alerted its presence to the team and after ticking it, we moved east to our
day time sites.
We arrived at lake Liddell a little late on schedule but managed to see Musk
Duck and Great Crested Grebe among Coots and Swans, and heard/saw Reed
Warbler, Little Grassbird, Cisticola, Horsfields Bronze Cuckoo and others.
Ash Island was the next locality where we picked up many waders including
red knot, greenshank, sharp-tail, Lathams snipe, and Marsh sandpiper as well
as WF Chat, Red-capped Plover, Royal Spoonbill and more.
Stockton Sandspit produced hundreds of Avocet and Bar-tailed Godwit, with
smaller numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and two Mangrove Heron. We also heard
Mangrove Gerygone. We drove around the estuary for a while to locate Pacific
Golden Plover, Terek Sandpiper and GT Tattler.
We moved on to another private location in Quorrobolong to find many more
bush species including Speckled Warbler, Crested Shrike-tit, Scarlet He,
Fuscous He, Yellow-tufted He among others.
This was followed by another private location to see more bush species
including BF Monarch, Wonga, Brown Cuckoo-dove but we dipped on ticking
Pacfic Baza and a Goshawk species which was too distant to ID. Our next stop
was Shortland wetlands centre where we saw Magpie Goose, Wandering
Whistleduck, Intermediate Egret and White-cheeked He.
Ourimbah was the next spot where we dipped on many rainforest species but
did see Topknot Pigeon, YT Scrubwren and Brush Turkey. We heard what was
believed to be Bassian Thrush but we were disappointed to be later told that
there were some recent intruders in the forest in the form of European
Blackbirds. As we weren't certain which species the singer of the 'thrush
song' was, we had to cancel the tick.
Finding no Bowerbirds at all, we drove to Chittaway point where we saw
Little Wattlebird, Whiskered and WW Black Tern along with Mallard and WB Sea
Eagle. Chittaway was followed by Norah Head where we gathered Red-necked
Stint, both Oystercatchers and a our last bird of the day - New Holland
We were heading to the final meeting place (at Alan's house) when Alan
mentioned we had the chance of finding Musk Lori and Satin Bowerbird nearby,
but when we failed to locate either we had 10 minutes to reach Alan's house
or lose a bird for every 5 minutes we were late.
We decided to keep our hard earned list and went straight back to Alan's
where we met the another local team and were happily satisfied with a total
of 202 birds in total and a lovely bbq dinner to end a awesome 24 hours of
We beat our team record by 10 species so are proud to declare we are on the
rise and are ready to challenge, and destroy our competition next year as
well as raise more money for a good cause!
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