Hunter Home Brewers- Twitchathon attack!-Long

Subject: Hunter Home Brewers- Twitchathon attack!-Long
From: "steve roderick" <>
Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2001 11:36:27 +1100

    Hey all,

Firstly, congrats. to the Whacked Out Woodswallows who racked up an awesome tally of 218 to clinch the title for 2001.Well done to all the other teams, especially the CCC's who I belive set a P.B.. Unlucky to The Thickheads- 2-1 guys! The Brewers excelled all expectations with our tally of 211. In our third year of the Twitch we decided, if we wanted to turn on the heat to the other teams we would have to venture outside of the hunter, especially to beat our main rivals the CCC's and The Thickheads.We knew the Whacked Out Woodswallows would be the team to beat due to there starting location, also the Grey Toilet Thrushes due to there stronghold on the event. We moved our staring location from the hunter to a property near Gunnedah. Arriving on friday for a major scout. We fine tuned our western attack by sat. arvo, although the usual dipping birds were had before the event like cockatiel and Brown Songlark, also Little lorry and Musk. The team of five, consisting of myself, Mick Roderick, Craig Anderson, Lucas Grenadier and Grant Murray were all pumped up for the big event. At 3:45p.m. we latched onto a Southern Whiteface which at 3:59 flew to a tree never to be seen again- what a dip! The Brewers as usual had 'Twicth Tab' going, picking the first,50th,100th and 150th bird among other random picks. The first bird to fall was a Jacky Winter, evading all our bets. The birds came thick and fast as to be expected at the start, but critically we needed the western species to make the list count. Our first 25 birds came without evening moving. Little friarbird, Channel-billed Cuckoo, White-winged Triller, Rufous Songlark and Apostlebird all fell instantaneously. Spiny Cheeked H/E, Striped H/E and Double-Bars closely followed. Moving on just 500m's we picked up Speckled Warbler, Red-capped Robin and Striated Pardalote. To our other Whiteface location just 1km down the road, but alas, not to be seen, Singing H/E, Restless Flycatcher and Dusky Woodswallow fell though. Driving again, to another woodland location, I called, 'Bee-eaters!', on the brakes and reversing 20m's revealed 2 birds and by a stroke of luck about 40 Plum-headed Finch's flew and landed right in front of the car! Tick em' up! On the way to our next stop we saw Blue Bonnets, a good spy for this area. Our next two woodland locations saw some good birds fall, such as Masked and White-browed Woodswallow, White-backed Swallow and Diamond Firetail. White-plumed H/E's were abundant as to Red-rumped Parrots. Peaceful Doves were calling and an Azure Kingfisher flew past. Weebills and Inland Thornbills were flittering here and there. Looking skwards again revealed a Little Eagle. We saw a bird scurry into some shrubs by a creek, a blackbird! Ticking! Hang on, 'a Night Heron!' , the birds were falling. We eventually left with light fading and started to make our journey back to the Hunter. On way we saw Barn Owls and Tawny Frogmouths. We arrived at our overnight camp in the Chichester S.F.. It was about 12:30a.m. , an early arrival compared to past years, adding an hour of course made it 1:30a.m.. We jumped out of the car and immeadiately started some Sooty Owl calls and as we had hoped the response came, albeit while I was on the pit toilet! Once we hit the sack a Boobook could be heard, the calls went out from tent to tent, 'Did u hear that!', 'Yep, tick it up!', 91 at Sat. end. The dawn chorous around 5:30a.m. was quite spectacular. Eastern Yellow Robins as usual woke first and started the ball rolling. Brown Gerygones and Black-faced Monarchs were abundant, Scarlet H/E's, Rose Robins and Lyrebirds all fell to the Brewers.A Bassians Thrush called and then came out to greet us. Brown-cuckoo Doves could be heard as too the wail of Catbirds. One Spectacled Monarch was heard and then seen in our usual spot, 'hang on, whats that, yes its a Noisy Pitta! Well done Brewers, rack 'em up! , ' and there hear that!, A Russet-tailed Thrush! A good bird which also ventured out in the open. We left this great spot destined for more birds, a brief stop on the way out produced a Leaden Flycatcher and also a distant Torresian Crow ( probably the same one the Woodswallows ticked!) To our other rainforest stop back on the main road ,which has never failed. White-headed Pigeon, Regent Bowerbird and Topknots all fell, as too did Pheasant Coucal and a lone Common Bronzewing on the way, nice work Bronzy! Things were looking good for us, but now we needed to get into some eastern woodland. We made for Maitland (my stamping ground) and collected some much needed ticks. Cicadabird and Brush Cuckoo were heard calling, Grey-crowned Babbler by the road, yes looks good, a Pallid Cuckoo calling, a Bar-shoulder Dove flushed, nice work boys! Reaching our stop kept the birds coming, Crested Shrike-tit, Fuscous and Blue-faced H/E. Hey, were looking good here! A White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, and two more Cuckoo's. Heading for Raymond Terrace it was time to get some swamp action, Latham's Snipe, Black-fronted Dotterel and White-Breasted Woodswallow were seen on this route,'hey are they Sharp-tailed Sandpipers? They sure are! Put 'em down. The Botanical Garens was next for Brush Wattlebird and there he was, back out again and towards Ash Island we go. By this time we were way ahead of schedule, it was only 11:20a.m.! An amazing statistic ( for us) was we had surpassed our last years total of 176! We were sitting nicely on 180 and had plenty to go, no Hunter team had ever broken the 200 before and we were determined to bring it home. Our Chestnut-breasted Mannikin spot failed us but Ash island brought out some good birds. Common Sandpiper was seen on the way in as to was Whimberel. A few common birds were also mopped up but then came the crippler, 3 Little Curlews, an hour spent i.d.'ing and taking notes ( see my previous email), we eventually dragged ourselves away from this great tick, but we did have time, thankfully. Marshys, Curlew Sandpipers and Whiskered Terns fell as too did Musk Duck and Greenshank. From here we made for other wader locations in the Hunter Estuary. Tattlers, E. Curlews, Godwits and Red Knots were seen, also Red-necked Stint. Newcastle was next, ticking here saw Shearwaters, Ruddys, Crested and Common Terns. No Oystercatchers! Big dip! The Wetland Centre was the finishing point and our last port of call, the mandatory Magpie Goose and White-cheeked H/E were welcomed but no Wandering Whistling Duck ( we didn't know they were over there David!) The teams gathered for the tallies, we were elated with our score and over the moon when we found out we had beaten The Thickheads and The CCC's, also matching the previous twichathon record ( I think that is correct). To The Whacked-Out Woodswallows though we take off our hat to a marvellous score, but the hat will return as we have already planned next years route! We may pass you on our way west......tick us up! A great weekend, thankyou to all our sponsers, this years total will be a record also for our funraising.

  Until next year, The Hunter Home Brewers.

  Steve Roderick.

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