A national twitchathon

Subject: A national twitchathon
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 10:37:48 +1100


The km/bird suggestion is an interesting one but flawed, as I suspect you are already aware.  The difference between a winning team and the second placed team is often only a few birds.  To get those few birds might mean more than a few kilometres travelled.  Those teams doing a lot of travelling are generally doing it overnight in "dead time".  We picked up four nocturnal birds during out travelling time but all in the first hour or so.  

If the twitchathon continues to grow, and NSW is leading the way here thanks to a couple of great organisers over the past nine years, then perhaps a birds/km category could be introduced.  Now, that would be an interesting challenge.

In the meanwhile, let's try and resurrect the national twitchathon.  Ken Rogers replied directly to me that a way of working out the national winner was once attempted:  "I worked out how to do this years ago in the days when Margaret Considine was doing the organising.  A mini-committee set up to discuss my suggestions agreed with them.  Nothing happened, people moved off to other things, and the twitchathon became much smaller but the paperwork should still be in Birds Australia somewhere.  You might be well advised to try and find it.  There's no point in trying to bathe in the same river twice.  A Greek has told us, many years ago, that we can't."

A Queensland Twitchathon was held this year, thanks Greg Anderson.  The problem for this to be included in the running for a national award, at this stage, is that it differs in the timing, running midday to midday.  Elsewhere the twitchathon is 4PM to 5PM, daylight saving starting that weekend.   The NSW teams would have noticed the difference between this year and last, when Daylight Saving had already commenced (due to the Sydney Olympics).  This year we had an hours less daylight on the Saturday.  What are the pros and cons of running midday to midday rather than 4PM to 4PM?  I know that our team can get about 100 birds in that three hours or so of daylight and then travel in the dark to another hotspot for dawn.   By starting at midday I think we might be able to cover some habitats we currently travel through in darkness.  It means the next day is more rushed but with those normally "missed" birds under the belt it might not matter.

Do we lobby the respective state organisers to make this a national event?  How do we promote it in other states.  Remember, the more teams involved the more $$ raised for good bird conservation causes.

David Geering

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