Dodgy Drongos 2008 NSW Twitchathon Report

To: birding australia <>
Subject: Dodgy Drongos 2008 NSW Twitchathon Report
From: Grant Brosie <>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 22:12:23 -0700 (PDT)
DODGY DRONGOS 2008 Twitchathon Report

Nick Livanos, Liz Huxtable and I once again formed the Dodgy Drongos for 
another year with the aim of beating last years personal best of 219. We stood 
in our woodland starting point (west of the ranges) waiting for the kick off 
time observing the constant activity, until at 3:50 a Brown Falcon flew over 
and the bush fell silent.....luckily things recovered quickly and at 4:00:01pm 
we ticked a magnificent male Olive-backed Oriole. Jacky Winter, Shrike-tit, 
Brown-headed Honeyeater, Bronzewing, Hooded Robin and Black-fronted Dotterel 
soon followed. A male Turquoise Parrot flew overhead as Brown Treecreeper and 
Restless Flycatcher were heard and the awesome sight of a male Red-winged 
Parrot certainly lifted spirits, as did the Painted Button-quail. On the drive 
out we stopped to tick White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike as it sat on its nest.
At our creek crossing spot we finally found Diamond Firetail, Rainbow Bee-eater 
and Brown Quail. Zebras, Double-bars and Apostlebirds were seen along the road 
but where were the Bushlarks and Brown Songlark! A time wasting detour failed 
to find them but we did get White-winged Fairy-wren.
Cutting our loses we headed west picking up last years bogey bird, 
Black-shouldered Kite. Painted Honeyeaters were once again easily ticked but 
where were those bloody Singing Honeyeaters! A few kms up the road and there on 
the fence was a Bushlark and in the paddock displaying....a male Brown 
Songlark! The Drongos were on fire! Little Raven was a nice bonus as was the 
Mallee Ringneck. Cockatiel were everywhere and we welcomed White-backed 
Swallow, Plum-headed Finch, Southern Whiteface and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill to 
the list.
We were running very late by now and the sun was setting fast. We entered our 
'western' spot and immediately picked up Collared Sparrowhawk at its nest. 
Western Gerygone and Leaden Flycatcher called and Buff-rumped Thornbills seen. 
White-browed Babblers and Woodswallows were seen further up the track and 
finding a roosting Masked Woodswallow was pure genius!
It was now dark so we made our way south heading for the Hunter Valley but not 
before ticking White-throated Nightjar and Tawny Frogmouth....our only night 
birds! On a plus note we had seen 104 species for the afternoon.....a first for 
the Drongos.
We rose early with Pitta being our first bird. Bassian and Russet-tailed 
Thrush, Rose Robin and Spectacled Monarch called to us as we trudged up the 
track. Other great birds were Cuckoo-dove, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Rufous 
Fantail and Lyrebird. On the tops we got another bogey bird in Yellow-tailed 
Black-cockatoo and a Wonga flushed off the road.
We made our way towards Maitland stopping at several eastern woodland sites 
getting Pallid Cuckoo, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Bar-shouldered Dove, Scarlet 
Honeyeater and Brush Cuckoo. Seaham produced Nankeen Night Heron and Regent 
Bowerbird and Sittella were great finds at Green Wattle Crk.
Maitland produced its usual ferals in Goldfinch and Blackbird and Walka had 
Great-crested and Hoary-headed Grebes, Musk Duck and a first for us, 
Blue-billed Duck.
Next was Yellow-tufted Honeyeater at our one bird stop at Kurri. Minmi was on 
the quiet side but we scoped Whiskered Tern, Wandering Whistling-duck and 
Little Egret.
Next stop was Ash Island which was excellent with many waders. Sharpies, 
Marshies, Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper and a single Red Knot were much 
appreciated as was the Red-kneed Dotterel, Caspian Tern, Horsfield's Bronze, 
Mangrove Gerygone, Chat and Tawny Grassbird.
We picked up some absolute corkers at the Sandspit. A Buff-banded Rail welcomed 
us and Striated Heron and Osprey made up for the lack of waders. Several Golden 
Plovers on the Stockton Foreshore were a great find.
The Newcastle Baths were busy (well thats what we're blaming for missing Sooty 
Oystercatcher) but Common Tern and Ruddy Turnstone braved the crowds.
Unlike last year we had a bit of time on our hands so we headed to Awabakal 
Nature Reserve and got our three target honeyeaters, New Holland, White-cheeked 
and a fantastic displaying Tawny-crowned Honeyeater which also turned out to be 
our record breaking bird....220!
We headed to the Wetlands Centre smiling from ear to ear. Magpie Goose!....221, 
Aust. Shoveler!!!!.....222....................Pheasant Coucal !!!!!!!!! 
223!.........and that was it, all done.
We had beaten last years total by a whoping 4 species (trust me thats alot). We 
did have some huge dips but like Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Red-necked Stint and the 
Pink-eared Ducks I had been seeing every day for a week leading up to the race! 
Maybe next year.
Huge congrats to all the other teams involved and lets hope its a record year 
for donations.

Grant Brosie
Dodgy Drongos
Blessed to live in the Hunter

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