The Puny Twitch - its still ticking.

To: Birding_aus <>
Subject: The Puny Twitch - its still ticking.
From: J and A Flack <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 12:55:06 +1000 (EST)
G'day everyone,

For those who are new to the list, the Puny Twitch is
my quest to see as many species as possible within 6
km of Melbourne's centre, while cycling to and from
work during this year.

Ticks have been a bit hard to come by lately. This is
partly due to the fact that it is nearly dark by the
time I leave work and I have already ticked most of
the birds I readily expected to see. Postings were
also temporarily restricted by the great 'guess the
tally' competition that Karen Pearson devised for the
get together last Saturday night. Anyway, all can now
be revealed.

One recent visit to Westgate Park (approx. 5 km west
of Melbourne) had my senses confused for while (yes,
even more than usual). I could hear a call that
sounded familiar yet didn't quite fit. Suddenly it
dawn on me - Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. I had heard
plenty of them at Gluepot (South Aust. mallee country)
only a few weeks before. I knew that they were
reasonably common further around the bay, but wasn't
expecting them under the Westgate Bridge with all the
traffic rumbling overhead.

On the way I was delighted to see a Richard's Pipit at
some vacant land next to the Port Melbourne Docks. It
also seemed quite happy hopping about in the weeds
with all the heavy transports roaring past. Prior to
this year I had seen one at the grassland behind the
Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville, but had dipped
on several attempts to catch up with it for the Puny

One of the more satisfying ticks came on the Moonee
Ponds Creek one clear and frosty morning. I was
cycling along the bike track and noticed what was
obviously a swamp dweller on the opposite bank. I
could tell that it was not one of the usual suspects -
but what? Out with the binos and, ah yes, a
Buff-banded Rail. Its buff-band and rich chestnut
facial markings glowing in the morning sun. This was
(quite appropriately) near the West Melbourne rail
yards and it was totally unperturbed by a noisy diesel
loco idling less than fifty metres away!

This spot marks the beginning of the extensive reed
bed that Tim Dolby has mentioned in previous posts. We
have both suspected for some time that it would make
great crake/rail habit and plan to put in a bit more
exploration time there later in the year. Another
interesting sighting along the creek was four Nankeen
Night Herons flying into the Moonee Ponds Creek next
to Macaulay Station one evening, just after dusk.

Not part of the Puny Twitch, but great to see anyway,
was a delightful male Flame Robin in Royal Park during
a weekend tree planting session. (And a couple of
dolphins just off the end of Station Pier one

Before I close I must say a big thanks to Karen
Pearson for taking the time (in her extremely busy
schedule) to organise the party last Saturday night.
It was a sort of 'Birding-Aus unplugged' with much
reminiscing and many tall tales of birding told. I
also got a few more PT leads to follow up! It was also
great to put some faces to those familiar email
addresses. Someone commented to me that they didn't
imagine that the 'Puny Twitcher' would be six foot

Neville Pamment was the worthy winner of the 'Puny
Twitch Party memorial nestbox' for being the first
entry drawn correctly predicting my current tally of
105. The mathematicians amongst you will no doubt
notice that one new bird is missing but that is the
topic for a separate posting.


Alan Flack. - Yahoo! Mobile
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