To: Greg <>, kbrandwood <>, birdingaus <>
Subject: twitchathon
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 11:08:56 -0700 (PDT)
Greg et al,

This is all very strange. I mean, we are competing within a (fundraising) 
competition that has a set of defined rules that each team abides by...and it 
is as simple as that. The rules state that the boundaries are state borders, so 
if you take part in the NSW Twitchathon, NSW is the limit. There is absolutely 
no distinction between inland, coastal, sub-coastal, altitudinal boundaries. 
The fact that some teams choose to twitch both inland and coastally is a simple 
reflection that they are the teams who want to find the most number of species. 
It is a simple strategy.

Moreover, the playing field is certainly level. The inference that it is not 
level is akin (as a top-of-my-head example) to saying it is not fair that only 
tall people can play competitive basketball and that we should limit the time 
that anyone over 6ft can spend on the court. No-one is at a disadvantage once 
they have the simple foundation of having access to a vehicle. Once you have 
the means to get around...then you plan your route. Whether or not you choose 
to go over the big hill (from east-west or west-east) is up to you. 

Given, there is going to be more fuel burnt by vehicles that travel further. 
This is clearly a small by-product of the event. Surely though, this pales into 
insignificance when you take into acount the amount of fuel burnt by the 10's, 
100's of people partaking in birdwatching around the country throughout the 
year...whether during simple weekend trips or moreso, when a rarity turns 
up...and it's straight to the airport or petrol station to get there! The 
Twitchathon is a once-off competition (per year) - try calculating the amount 
of km's travelled by birders throughout the remainder of the year compared to 
that weekend. The Twitch is a fundraising event, unlike the countless other 
fuel-guzzling motorsports (I'm starting to ramble), so it shouldn't be a target 
for greenhouse emissions (I'm not even mentioning responsible usage of cars to 
get to work, impacts of industry etc etc...know your enemy!). My point is that 
the net gain from the Twitch, in terms of not only
 fundraising, but also broadening community perceptions about 'birdwatching as 
a leisure time activity' (every year there seems to be more and more press 
releases, radio interviews etc), surely outweighs the ultimately small 
proportion of emissions released.

I think Paul Taylor's suggestion works well. I did a talk at the Hunter BOC on 
the 2006 NSW Twitchathon last year and presented a quasi-prize (coined the 
"Mike Newman Cup") for the Hunter team that found the most species per 
kilometre travelled, which happened to be the Hunter Thickheads. The Hunter 
Home Brewers came in 3rd from memory. I'm sure the Black-necked Stalkers 
would've given the Thickheads a run for their money in the past 2 years in this 
'category'. I can understand Steve Gross' predicament, living out west, where 
you would ideally start. But how far can the rules be bent to account for this? 
I'm sure also that David Geering can relate a story or two on "how to win the 
twitchathon whilst living inland" too. 

Maybe the 'species per kilometre' idea could be implemented as an additional 
prize (like the rarest bird prize), or just a category if another prize isn't 
appropriate, but not to replace the current rules which are quite simple and, 
just as simply, requires a lot of detailed planning and a dash of madness one 
weekend per year, nothing more. 

Mick Roderick
Chief Hunter Home Brewer (stumbling across this from high in the Andean 

----- Original Message ----
From: Greg <>
To: kbrandwood <>; birdingaus <>
Sent: Saturday, 31 March, 2007 5:27:05 AM
Subject: twitchathon

Hi all and Keith,

It is interesting that this issue is raised now (which is not really that 
interesting as even the Prime Minister now is aware of global warming, I 
think!!!) as this year is to be the first year that the Black-necked 
Stalkers have decided to do both the inland and the coast.  This is because, 
as Keith points out, twitchers confining their route to the inland are at a 
disadvantage when compared to people on the coast, however people on the 
coast are also at a disadvantage compared to those who do the inland then 
drive all night to reach the coast.  I call it the double-twitch where 
twitchers do an inland twitch and a coastal twitch.  It is virtually 
impossible to win without doing so.  The Black-necked Stalkers have for the 
past two years confined their twitching to the Clarence River Valley and 
although gaining a respectable tally could not match the winners.  Winning 
is not everything but it is nice to know that you have at least a level, or 
near level, playing field.

Maybe there could be a limit on the distance allowed to be travelled.  Maybe 
double-twitches are just too climate unfriendly.

I look forward to other birdo's comments on this issue.

Greg Clancy

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU