Birding Golf

Subject: Birding Golf
From: Chris Watson <>
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2012 11:00:41 +0930
G'day all,

I thought I'd put the feelers out to see if I have just invented a new and
craptacular version of listing. Stick with me...

The useful period, for listing purposes, of my residency in Central
Australia has come to a close. There's really nothing more that I am
realistically likely to find here, that can't be found elsewhere. (Having
said that there are still a few southern NT curiosities that I'm keen to
get on my NT list; Grey Currawong, Plains Wanderer, Thick-billed Grasswren,
Malleefowl, White-fronted Chat, Blue Bonnet, Yellow Chat. There's probably
only a couple there that have even a remote chance of occurring in the
southern NT these days, but if anyone has info otherwise...) To keep my
list from a state of suspended animation worthy of a Ridley Scott sci-fi
romp, I've been tinkering with a few different lists. The idea of embassy
listing (based on the technicality that diplomatic missions are remote
plots of foreign soil) has been raised before on this forum so I won't go
over that again. It's an interesting exercise though and... it's a list no
less arbitrary than any state or national list.

The other one which has a lot of appeal is the vicarious list which is
fairly self-explanatory. This makes ticking those vagrants and
super-rarities a much more achievable (not to mention affordable) prospect
when you're a working birder, resident in the middle of the continent. It
also renders gripping off, almost obsolete, as your ticks are now my ticks.
This may lead to covert birding reminiscent of sneaky corvid caching
behaviour, where we all bird in private, and no-one shares lists anymore.
The possibilities are endless. The vicarious list required me to go through
the qualifying process of determining who was a close enough acquaintance,
for THEIR birds to be entered onto MY list. In the world of social media
the networks of connected birding acquaintances can be staggeringly
extensive, so I decided to leave Facebook and Twitter out of it - but that
would be another interesting exercise for another rainy day. I'm sure a
World Day List would rapidly surge into the thousands. Anyway, the
arbitrary rule I decided to stick to was my phone contacts.
Congratulations! If your number is in my phone, I am now ticking your
birds. This may be the only way I ever get a Night Parrot on any list.

An experience this morning led me to consider another type of listing based
on, to use the modern parlance, "owning" the dip. It may not be a new idea,
but I've called it *Birding Golf*. While actively looking for birds - you
can't get about with your eyes closed or stay indoors - you have to tick as
few species from the complete list for the area as possible. I'll have to
nut out some rules (there might have to be time periods involved) but
that's the guts of it. So if your local patch has an all time list of 150
birds, and the average day or visit list there is say 45, then we can take
that as par. No birdies is a hole-in-one - although that is surely a
scenario hopefully only available to those of us who endure into the coming
post-apocalyptic nuclear winter. (From here on, I'll avoid the entire
catalogue of bird puns available as I'm sure they have immediately occurred
to any readers, just as they have to me.)

This all occurred to me this morning as I was returning from a
spectacularly unsuccessful trip down south. Up at 3.30am in an effort to
get a look at reported flocks of budgies in their hundreds, thousands, and
even tens of thousands, I saw.... 1. ONE. Save for the art-deco interior of
my Great Grandmother's East Bentleigh sitting room, where dwelled a caged
blue beast by the name of *Arthur*, I have never in my life seen
*one*budgie. There is always a baker's dozen, a few, a handful, or at
the very
least - a pair. I drove through the entire Owen Springs Conservation
Reserve and sat by Redbank Waterhole for an entire hour and saw only a
single individual of *Melopsittacus undulatus*, and I have a witness to
this feat.

The magnitude and perfection of this dip is, I believe, unmatchable -
although I still technically ticked the species, it's still a dip. Setting
out to view 60,000 and seeing 1 is my first, possibly my last, and almost
certainly my finest, round of Birding Golf. I'm framing the scorecard.

I'll get out of your way now. Nap time.


Chris Watson
Alice Springs

*Central Australian birding resource*
*Guiding, writing, and the latest site information*
*from Alice Springs*

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Birding Golf, Chris Watson <=

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