Re: birding-aus Twitching

To: "Trevor Ford" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Twitching
From: Tony Russell <>
Date: Sun, 07 Nov 1999 19:31:54 +1000
Hallo old son, who stirred your pot?

Now you mention it, twitching is a silly word, and you are right, it wasn't
invented by Bill, he only did it and wrote about it.
 I'm now feeling all insecure about my e mail address!

So what else could we call it? Birdathon, AllNightathon, BloodyMilesathon,
MadPommathon,MadDiggerathon, Driveathon, ResearchMoneyRaisingathon,
IwishYouHadn'tRaisedItathon, HolyShitathon, CrazyAussathon, NoNewNameathon,
and, once you kick the old bucket we could call it a Fordathon.( if we
could afford it)

But I do like the distinction you draw between the pommie meaning and the
way we use it here. Mind you, I have been known to convulse and nearly give
birth when I miss a bird and others get it! Totally gripped off.

I think Hugo should offer a prize of a trip to the Kimberleys (for two for
two weeks) for the best name suggestion from birding-aussers, then BA ( or,
as Gloria suggests, a National Heritage Project) should take it on as a
major fundraising project, rigorously stamping out the fight between Qld
and the Vics over the rules. Tell 'em all to get nicked, just send in the
money however raised, all starts and finishes to be in Alice Springs - as a
neutral centre point. Or, if that is considered too harsh for the wimps,
make it Uluru.

And if it's still afloat, I'll see you on the boat. (20/11, don't forget)
Tony.   mxxp.

At 11:29  7/11/99 -0000, you wrote:
>Has anyone thought that one of the reasons twitchathons might not capture
>the public imagination is because it's such a bloody stupid word?
>The word twitch was not invented by Bill Oddie, as I've seen written, but
>was an amalgam of the words tick (as in list!) and watch (as in bird-watch).
>It also conveyed the impression of some poor unfortunate quivering with
>excitement at the prospect of a potential tick that he'd heard about, and in
>terror at the prospect of not seeing it.
>In Australia, going twitching seems to mean going birding.  In the UK, where
>it originated, it means travelling specifically to see a rare bird that has
>been found by someone else and that will probably not be on offer for too
>long.  At one end of the spectrum (with pagers and telephone bird alerts now
>common), if a twitcher hears about a bird turning up that he has not seen
>before in the UK, he will drop everything and anything that he is doing and
>travel whatever distance, and at whatever expense, in order to see the bird
>as soon as possible.  That is twitching.
>Some twitchers may have to wait for the weekend to travel (jobs and spouses
>tend to intrude) and may even deny that they're twitching.  "Oh, I just
>fancied a weekend in Norfolk, old boy"  when in truth they'd have been
>tucked up in bed at 4 am on a Saturday morning rather than queuing (yes,
>queuing) to catch a glimpse of an immature Ruppell's Warbler.
>Birding World, arguably the UK's best birding magazine, was called Twitching
>in it's first year, but this name was so unpopular it was changed.  To much
>of the general public in the UK, twitcher is synonymous with nerd.
>I could go on!  Also, I presume there are good reasons to hold a twitchathon
>from mid-day to mid-day?  Aesthetically a one-day bird race from midnight to
>midnight (or part thereof) is much cleaner.  I don't keep a year list from
>June 1st to May 31st!
>To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to
>Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

Tony Russell,
Adelaide, South Australia
08 8337 5959

   There's nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a new bird is there?
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