Ian and all,
As the sole Victorian Champagne Race contender this year, the Norwegian Blues
were ambivalent about accepting the prize. Yes we had a great day (due to other
commitments we can only bird on the Sunday, working solidly except for the
statutory tea and lunch breaks), with 127 species, our best ever (previous was
122). Our best birds were Red-browed Treecreeper (spectacular close view near
Steele's Creek), Cape Barren Goose and Great Crested Grebe on the lower reaches
of Kororoit Creek. Worst dip was probably the Tawny Frogmouths which had two
well-grown chicks on the nest on Friday afternoon and seem to have fledged them
and departed by Sunday morning.
But let me echo Laurie Conole's comment that the more entrants, and the more
competition, the better! The Champagne race has been won in the past with
scores both higher and lower than ours this year. More teams means more
sponsorship funds for direct application to research and management projects
that directly contribute to more effective bird conservation. And while full-on
twitching won't be everyone's idea of their favourite style of birding, doing it
once a year is a great challenge for honing identification skills, learning
calls, and understanding habitat relationships, all of which contribute to more
enjoyable and productive birding, albeit in a more relaxed vein, for the other
Special thanks to all those who contributed to the organisation of the event, to
team sponsors and to donors of prizes.
Next year - no wind please God, and maybe we'll hit 130.
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