|Date:||Thu, 10 Nov 2005 13:23:43 +1100|
The Victorian Twitchathon was held over the weekend, and the Twitchity Grubs(Myself and Adam Bridger) were all prepared with a new route that promised a list of 200+....[positive thinking]
The race started under perfect conditions, sunny and still, which lasted for the duration of the first day and produced a list of 107 around the Southern Victorian coastline. A little bit under target, and a few bad misses like Spinebill, Crested Tern and Yellow/Scarlet Robin. But we were still confident.
As the Sun set, we got to the WTP, and ended up having to spotlight species such as Pacific Golden Plover and Cape Barren Goose. Somehow missing Hardhead.
We started heading north, and the night remained as good as the day - super-clear, starry with a quarter crescent moon - perfect owl conditions!
First up was a Barn Owl on a fence post...a stunning bird and it allowed us to take a number of photos of it before taking off. A good start to our night twitching. We got to our next stop only 10 km or so from the Barn Owl, and were instantly greeted by the calls of a Southern Boobook. Owl Count = 2. We continued along some bush tracks keeping an ear out along the way, and then got to our next site. After tracking down some unidentifiable calls, we came across two Powerful Owl Chicks sitting on exposed limbs waiting for thier parents to return with one of the number of Ring-tailed Possums that we had spotlighted along the way. Unfortunately we didn't have time to wait for the adult Powerful Owls to arrive back, and continued our way north to our campsite, where we picked up Owlet Nightjar.
We finished the first day/night with 111 species. Not bad..but still alot of work to do for 200!
Day Two was hot, windy and overcast in Northern Victoria, which made things a bit trickier. Terrick Terrick produced Gilberts Whistler, Mallee Ringneck and Painted Honeyeater, plus a few of the dry weather species we missed down south. We missed Diamond Firetail and Black Chinned Honeyeater there though, and even the resident Red Capped Robins didn't turn up.
Continuing north we visited some of the wetlands, and picked up Buff Banded Rail, White Breasted Woodswallow, Black Tailed Native Hen, Glossy Ibis, Egrets, and the Dotterels.
Up to the Murray River for some of the Red Gum Species, and then over to a couple of areas around Lake Boga. We assumed we'd pick up Banded Stilt around here, but the wind didn't make it easy to scope these vast and choppy lakes . Goshen promised Black Honeyeaters the weekend before, but we couldn't relocate them during the twitch.
As the time ticked down, we decided to make a final attempt for Hardhead at the Swan Hill Sewerage Farm, but time beat us. All up 171 species...our best effort yet..and a good lead up to our 200 species next year! : )
Not being satisfied with a whirl wind twitch of victoria, we stayed another couple of days up in the Mallee country below Mildura and got some ripper birds.
Highlights include Inland Dotterell at Neds Corner, Pied Honeyeater at Yarrara and Chestnut-crowned Babbler at Murray Sunset.
Thanks to all who answered my RFI's during the past couple of weeks, and thanks to all that donated for the event.
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