The Puny Twitch - The Final Chapter

To: Birding_aus <>
Subject: The Puny Twitch - The Final Chapter
From: J and A Flack <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 23:41:10 +1100 (EST)
Hi All,

The Puny Twitch(1) is finally over and what a joy it
was. I have found that since starting the Puny Twitch
I'm seeing lots more birds generally. Because I'm more
attuned to the surrounding sounds and movements I'm
reaping the benefits, even on my usual patch. I have
also made some great new acquaintances via feedback
from birding-aus. The only frustration was that the
ticks were few and far between in the last few months.

Despite many trips home via the Yarra and Maribyrnong
Rivers I have only added a couple to my list. I dipped
on the Tawny Frogmouth despite a reliable lead at the
Carlton Gardens from Tim Dolby. Wendy Moore also gave
me detailed info to easily find one along the Merri
Creek but unfortunately it was a few hundred metres
outside my twitching zone! It took ages to finally
catch up with the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo (yes, I
could only manage one!) at Studley Park even though
there were many reports in the preceding weeks. These
are a magnificent creature though, one of my

The final tick was also a beauty. I was riding home
along the Moonee Ponds Creek track the week before
Christmas and noticed a small egret near the
Flemington Bridge Station, where I often see a Great
Egret. This one looked smaller, so it was out with the
binocs and, yes, a Little Egret - a first for me on
the creek. The final tally - 112. Far in excess my
original estimate of 80.

Back in July I spotted some Pied Currawong in Kew.
Unfortunately it was not allowed under the Puny Twitch
rules (I was not on my bike). I tried several times to
tick them within the rules with no success. If you add
to this reliable reports made by others which included
Great Crested Grebe, Musk Duck, Common Sandpiper, Gang
Gang Cockatoo and Scarlet Robin (and others I have no
doubt missed) the potential is close to 120! It's
great to think that we city dwellers can enjoy some
really good birding without travelling too far from

I thought I would choose a few more highlights to
relate but found I had so many to choose from! I
decided that the Arctic Jaeger spotted on my first
pelagic trip (from the end of Station Pier) was my
best bird. Other stand-outs were the Spiny-cheeked
Honeyeater, Pink-eared Duck, Red-kneed Dotterel ,
Red-capped Plover and Fork-tailed Swift at Westgate
Park. Galatea Point, on the Yarra at Studley Park, is
another inner city gem with regulars like Crested
Shrike-tit, Eastern Yellow Robin and Grey
Shrike-thrush.  Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, New Holland
Honeyeater and Flame Robin were real treats in the
gardens on the old Royal Park Hospital site (now razed
by the State Government to make way for nearly a
thousand dwellings!). I could go on but instead have
included my full list so you can find your own

Most great (or puny) quests have their genesis in the
amazing efforts of others. My inspiration was of
course Sean Dooley's 'Big Twitch'. I still get great
enjoyment from re-reading the reports in the BA
archives - thanks again Sean! Thanks must also go to
Russell Woodford and Andrew Taylor for starting and
maintaining Birding-Aus and the archives. I certainly
would not achieved 112 without them. I also want to
again express my gratitude to Karen Pearson for
organising the celebration to mark my 100th tick. It
was a terrific night. My wife Jan also needs some
credit for putting up with me arriving home late so
often and helping with these reports. And a final big
thanks to all of you who sent help and encouragement.
I hope you all have a very happy and 'tickfull' New


Alan Flack.

(1) For those who are new to the list, the Puny Twitch
was my quest to see as many species as possible within
6 km of Melbourne's centre, while cycling to and from
work during 2003.

The List

1. Black Swan
2. Australian Wood Duck
3. Mallard
4. Pacific Black Duck
5. Australasian Shoveler
6. Grey Teal
7. Chestnut Teal
8. Pink-eared Duck
9. Hardhead
10. Australasian Grebe
11. Hoary-headed Grebe
12. Little Penguin
13. Australasian Gannet
14. Little Pied Cormorant
15. Pied Cormorant
16. Little Black Cormorant
17. Great Cormorant
18. Australian Pelican
19. White-faced Heron
20. Little Egret
21. Great Egret
22. Nankeen Night Heron
23. Australian White Ibis
24. Straw-necked Ibis
25. Royal Spoonbill
26. Darter
27. Black-shouldered Kite
28. Brown Goshawk
29. Collared Sparrowhawk
30. Little Eagle
31. Australian Hobby
32. Peregrine Falcon
33. Nankeen Kestrel
34. Buff-banded Rail
35. Australian Spotted Crake
36. Purple Swamphen
37. Dusky Moorhen
38. Eurasian Coot
39. Latham's Snipe
40. Common Greenshank
41. Black-winged Stilt
42. Red-necked Avocet
43. Red-capped Plover
44. Black-fronted Dotterel
45. Red-kneed Dotterel
46. Masked Lapwing
47. Arctic Jaeger
48. Pacific Gull
49. Silver Gull
50. Crested Tern
51. Whiskered Tern
52. Rock Dove
53. Spotted Turtle-Dove
54. Crested Pigeon
55. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
56. Galah
57. Long-billed Corella
58. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
59. Rainbow Lorikeet
60. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
61. Musk Lorikeet
62. Little Lorikeet
63. Eastern Rosella
64. Crimson Rosella
65. Red-rumped Parrot
66. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
67. Fork-tailed Swift
68. Laughing Kookaburra
69. Sacred Kingfisher
70. Superb Fairy-wren
71. Spotted Pardalote
72. Striated Pardalote
73. White-browed Scrubwren
74. Brown Thornbill
75. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
76. Yellow Thornbill
77. Little Wattlebird
78. Red Wattlebird
79. Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
80. Bell Miner
81. Noisy Miner
82. White-plumed Honeyeater
83. New Holland Honeyeater
84. White-fronted Chat
85. Flame Robin
86. Eastern Yellow Robin
87. Crested Shrike-tit
88. Grey Shrike-thrush
89. Magpie-lark
90. Grey Fantail
91. Willie Wagtail
92. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
93. Dusky Woodswallow
94. Grey Butcherbird
95. Australian Magpie
96. Little Raven
97. Skylark
98. Richard's Pipit
99. House Sparrow
100. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
101. Red-browed Finch
102. European Greenfinch
103. European Goldfinch
104. Welcome Swallow
105. Clamorous Reed-Warbler
106. Little Grassbird
107. Golden-headed Cisticola
108. Silvereye
109. Common Blackbird
110. Song Thrush
111. Common Myna
112. Common Starling - Yahoo! Personals
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