Tips and Tricks for novice Twitchers!

To: <>
Subject: Tips and Tricks for novice Twitchers!
From: "Steve Potter" <>
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2007 19:48:20 +0930
This is my response to those complaining about not getting to the rare
vagrants in recent times. You may have some other ideas?

As an avid surfer, most of my life has been spent studying weather maps,
swell reports, and forecast charts, adjusting holidays etc accordingly and
doing mad dashes to where ever just because "it will never be like this
again".. until next time.. Scrounging for petrol money, then airfares, then
taxes for frequent flyer seats became a normal part of life including
running up big Visa bills just to get a few extra frequent flyer points???  

Now my other passion, twitching, has been spurred on by an obscure Christmas
present in the form of a book called "The Big Twitch". To this I have
adjusted some of my lifestyle and finances to enable me to twitch as often
as possible. 

Here are a few tips for those not yet enjoying this lifestyle.

Holidays or flexi-time. Unfortunately I usually end up living in the "time
without pay" zone but hey it still works!
Money. Give up some of life's luxuries (or excesses) and stash that cash
away for that "I got to head to buphutabaswti to twitch the .. as next week
it will be extinct." moment. A pack of ciggies cost $10. 12 of those gives
you Adelaide to Sydney when on special! Or 5 bottles of Red.
Frequent Flyer points. What a great Idea! Gives you the opportunity to fly
to those out of the way places that you wouldn't like to spent money on
normally without feeling guilty! Keep enough for that " I got to go now" .
if there are seats.
Brownie points with the non twitching spouse. Foot rubs, dinner out etc. all
helps. Gee it's hard when you have two hobbies!
Information is a must. The internet provides you with just about all you
need. Sights like Birding-Aus, National parks, local birding info all helps
to get to the right spot at the right time. Also ask other birders. Most are
happy to help.
Also air, rail or bus links and who gives the best car hire deals.

Work out what is essential. Would you spend the money and time to see a
Crake in the centre of WA, if the same could get you 15 - 20 new ones in
Cairns? Depends on whether you are on 359 for Australia (like me) or 700+
like some.
Combine. Would you spend the effort just going to Darwin to see a Javan Pond
Heron when you could go to Indonesia for just a bit more, see the Pond Heron
at every airport and treatment plant as well as many other birds, have a
surf in Bali and see the Pond Heron in Darwin on the way home!

It helps to have a goal like 300 in a year. A number of new ones and a
couple of specialties included.
Have a buddy to spur you on! It helps to have your older more competitive
brother trailing you in the count!!

Lastly, go big!
If you are going to do one mad twitch dash, make sure it is a good one. It's
hard to explain to non twitches you spent all that money and took time off
to see a seagull that looks similar to the ones at home just a big bigger.
Having something like a male White-winged Apalis seen on the slopes of Zomba
Plateau in central Africa under your belt (Tick, thank you!) sure helps to
ease the pain of hearing all the stories about Crakes etc. that you may
never get to.

You only live once. Make it count. Your kids can make their own money. Your
job is to set an example!

Steve Potter

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