birding-aus Twitchathon - Central Coast Champions Report

To: "" <>, Steve Popple <>, tim morris <>, Kristie Morris <>, Craig Arms <>, AL & MA Humphrey <>, Beryl Popple <>
Subject: birding-aus Twitchathon - Central Coast Champions Report
From: morris <>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 20:08:43 +1100
Hi Birders,
While there was a forecast of storms on the North West Plains for
Saturday 30 October 1999, which was where we (Craig Arms, Steven Edwards
& Alan Morris) were intending to start the Twitchathon, we had not
expected general rain. In a three hour run around the proposed route we
saw over 100 species! Things were looking good! Alas commencing 1230 hrs
on Saturday and continuing overnight to the extent that 40mm of rain
occurred in the Coonabrabran-Baradine District, mostly late Saturday
afternoon, moderate to heavy rain fell.  Furthermore when we returned to
the coast on Sunday morning with the round trip from Wyong Creek to
Toowoon Bay and up to Shortland, it rained most of the time with some
very heavy falls mid afternoon. We considered ourselves very lucky to
locate 176 species (when we had expected to net about 200) and so we
congratulate the Grey-toilet Thrushes who operating in the Cumberland
Plain/Central Coast area managed to locate 186 species and so win the
Competition for NSW with the CC Champions coming second! We travelled
1400 km! Heavy rain in the evening meant no spotlighting or birds
calling at night! What a bummer!

We commenced the count at Trapyard Dam, Western Way, Pilliga West SF and
in a break in the rain, finding 33 species in 15 minutes including
nesting Buff-rumped Thornbills, Spine-tailed Needletails, Red-capped
Robins, Bar-shouldered Doves, White-winged Trillers, Speckled warblers,
Bee-eater, Little Frairbird, Yellow, Yellow-tailed, Inland &
Chestnut-rumped Thornbills! next stop Sandy Lane in a cleared paddock
now regenerating, adjacent to the forest. Here we quickly found
Cicadabird, White-browed Woodswallows, Double-barred Finches,
Brown-headed Honeyeaters and Rufous Songlarks. When I had just seen and
heard some Whitefaces, down came the heavy rain and we had to retreat
with only Steven hearing the Whitefaces and Craig missing out - so we
dipped on that one. The rain was so heavy, it was not possible to drive
along the side roads as planned so we returned on the bitumen to
Baradine and tried to find birds around the town in the rain.. We
managed about 12 species including Blue Bonnet, beragled Choughs and
Apostlelbirds on the road, Fairy Martins, White-breasted Woodswallows,
and around David Johnson's house, European Blackbirds, Starlings and
Sparrows! With nothing to lose we drove out to Terridgerie Swamp and
again a in a short break in the rain got nesting Whistling Kite,
Yellow-billed Spoonbills, White & Straw-necked Ibis, 3 species of
cormorants and a Black-fronted Dotterel before the rain came down so
heavy we all got drenched and visibility was almost zero. We retired to
Andy & Margaret Humprey's Farm near Coonabarabran for the night when no
night birds called because of the rain, after seeing 73 species.
We departed as planned for the Central Coast at 3 am  and no rain fell
to about 7 am ! The only night bird seen in the 3 hour drive in the dark
was a Tawny Frogmouth and at daylight in Merriwa were found Feral
Pigeons ( usally we miss these birds). We started our day time count at
Battery Rock, Merriwa with White-throated Gerygones, Brown Falcons,
Reedwarblers, Sacred Kingfisher and hundred of Little Lorikeets. We
breakfasted in the drizzle at Westbury Rd rest area and were rewarded
with Channel-billed Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo, Pied Butcherbird, Currawongs
and Eastern Rosellas! We found Cattle Egrets at Denman, and Hardheads,
moorhen, coot, swan & Great Egret at the Quarry Ponds! We manged some
Zebra Finches at Arrowfield, Grey-crowned Babblers at Warkworth and at a
small swamp near Broke, Intermediate Egret, Swamphen, Little Grebe and
Royal Spoonbill. Several loops around the small town of Broke failed to
turn up the expected Blue-faced Honeyeater but we did manage a Spotted
Turtle-Dove! (we were desperate)
At Alan Stuart's neverfail spot in the Singleton Army Reserve for
Fuscous Honeyeater we were rewarded with plenty of them! By 9.30 we were
in Ourimbah SF where it rained heavily but we manage  20 extra species
including Large-billed Scrub-wrens, Satin Bowerbirds, Crested
Shrike-tit, Golden Whistler and Fantailed Cuckoo. Long-billed Corellas
were nesting in their favourite tree at Woodberry Park but alas no Tree
MacPherson rd Swamp Wyong, provided a Peregrine & Black-shouldered Kite!
We dipped on the Black Bittern at AKM's favoutite site but did pick up a
Buff-banded Rail and nesting Darters. Tuggerah Lagoon rewarded us well
with Tawny Grassbirds with young, Cisticolas, Little Grassbird &
Sea-eagle. So we rewarded ourselves with a Big Mac for lunch with the
score158! Chittaway Point was too wet and only Straited Heron,  Little
and Red Wattlebirds added to the list but the Tuggerah STW was good.
Musk Ducks, Black-winged Stilts,  Sharp-tailed Sandpipers & Red-browed
Finch were seen. North Chittatway had some Little Egrets, Pied
Cormorants & a Greenshank;  Good old Berkeley Vale turned up a pair of
Mallards & Koel; Toowoon Bay Reefs in the rain managed Wedge-tailed
Shearwaters, Tattlers, Golden Plover, Turnstones & Red-necked Stint.
Nearby were Figbirds and at The Entrance were Common, Caspian & Crested
Terns, Pied Oystercatchers & Bar-tailed Godwits. In the next 3 hours
were saw only 3 new species and our luck did not change until Swansea
Heads where the rain was too strong to find Sooty Oystercatchers on Moon
Island but we got one Short-tailed Shearwater and 2 Arctic Jaegers! Coon
Island only added a Red Knot! So with an hour to go, the score 166, we
headed for Shortland WC the finishing line at 5 pm.
We managed a Crimson Rosella at New Lambton Heights, Wandering Whistle
Ducks at Market Swamp, Sandgate and into the SWV gates with 20 minutes
to go. We did well at Shortland, because despite the drizzle, Little
Corellas, Night Heron, Azure Kingfisher, Shoveller, Pinkear, Magpie
Goose, Brown Honeyeater and White-chinned Honeyeater were turned up! We
finished with 176, leading the other 3 main event teams who finished
Despite the rain we had a good time and raised about $450-500 in
sponsorship. Next year with good weather on the same route we hope to
beat our main rivals the Grey-toilet Thrushes!
Alan Morris

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