|Birding Aus <>
|Belated Brewing Banter (Part 3)
|Mick Roderick <>
|Mon, 20 Feb 2006 13:01:08 +1100 (EST)
Hi all...this is the last installment from Jacqueline....
...(sitting on 219 spp.) Pambalong was the next stop?yet it did not live up to expectations, with Pacific Heron being the only worthy addition. No Latham?s Snipe and no Sea-eagle yet on their list, and a brutal blow was dealt as an Eagle was spied soaring above the ponds where a resident Sea Eagle often soars, alas another Wedgey to their dismay.
There was enough time for a quick run to a virgin Brewer-patch in coastal heath. They mopped up the Variegated Wren as well as White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters. The last good chance for Sea-eagle disappeared in the rear mirror as they headed for the SWC, via a brief stop for the legendary ?Geoffrey?.
Upon arrival at the SWC, still raining, and with 225 they knew they had 227 guaranteed. The final two species were ticked (Maggie Geese and Night Heron) with minutes remaining. The last throw of the dice was to stand in the rain and hope for an Azure Kf to fly by over Ironbark Creek. This was to no avail, and with 227 species, the sodden gang made their way back to the finish line. They were confident?nervous?but understandably confident. A quiet mutter came over the teams that assembled ? The Thickheads, The Drongo?s and the nemesis?The Woodswallows?they were all there?and nothing was given away through any of the dampened, exhausted facial expressions.
Steve Brew was charged with the responsibility of relaying the scores to the fatigued audience. The Drongoes got 196, whilst the Thickheads had tied with the Black-necked Stalkers on 201. Steve stumbled as only two teams remained?
??the Hunter Home Brewers??
And there it was?that meant they had come second.
?227!???Whacked Out Woodswallows?229!?
And so it was. Beaten by two species after breaking the previous record by five. The Brew crew hung their heads in disbelief?beaten with that score, how high can this bar be lifted? What lengths do they have to go? Such a good run too. The first thoughts (as always) were of birds missed ? like the Coucal and Monarch that only one team member had heard, the two Robins out west that are usually consistent, the Sea-eagle, Latham?s Snipe, Pallid Cuckoo and (as it turned out) two Shearwater species missed from the baths.
There were mixed feelings amongst the Brewers. The Thickheads offered commiserations as the Woodswallows paraded triumphantly ? what an effort they had made. Soon the Brewers learnt that the Woods were on 104 at the start of Sunday, a full 21 species behind them. The customary post-mortems then went even rifer.
But all in a years work and taken in their stride, the loss by two species has confirmed to them that there is no room for even a smidge of complacency on the Twitchathon ? evident from the level of competition that now appears to surround the event. No doubt they will find that extra gear and be right up there again in 2006.
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