Well the Birdlife Victoria Twitchathon is officially over for another year
and an interesting event it was for all participants I think.
In the 8-hour, champagne event we had four teams:
The Lemon-bellied Honeyeaters, comprising Dirk Tomsa, Wulan Dirgantoro and
Charlotte Setijadi - together with Dirk and Wulan's baby daughter, Hannah. I
think Hannah is probably our youngest ever competitor. The Lemon-bellied
Honeyeaters saw a total of 106 species in their eight hours, with their best
bird being Glossy Ibis, and their biggest dip being Black-shouldered Kite
(generally assured at the Western Treatment Plant).
Next there was The 8hr Stints, comprising Brett Whitfield, Madeleine
Richards and Peter Laws. The Stints managed a respectable total of 114
species, with Marsh Sandpiper - apparently the best views they'd ever had of
this species, being best bird and the ubiquitous Rock Dove being their
biggest dip. Surprisingly Rock Dove is quite an easy dip if you don't spend
much time in a town or city during the event.
Now it gets very interesting. We have a tie for first place! I'm not sure
whether I should toss a coin, or insist that the two leading teams face-off
at dawn to decide the winner.
In no particular order, the first of the winning teams was The Common
Loudmouths, comprising Greg Hunt, Paul Kelly, Philip Jackson and Russell
Thomson. The Loudmouths finished up with 132 species, with best bird being
Shy Heathwren (Hylacola) and biggest dip being both Rock Dove and Pink-eared
Dove - another bird you would expect to see at the Western Treatment Plant!
You guys were too busy looking for strange terns and waders, I think!
The other winning team was The Norwegian Blues, comprising Jack Krohn and
George Pergaminelis, also with 132 species. Their best bird was Pectoral
Sandpiper, and biggest dip was Spotted Dove.
Well done to all the teams that participated in the 8-hour event!
In the 24-hour event we had six teams:
The United Nations Plains Wanderers, comprising John Boyce, Christian
Doerig, Guillaume Doerig and Marina Harper (a "non ticking" participant).
The Plains Wanderers saw 145 species, with best bird being Baillon's Crake
and biggest dip being Spotted Dove (although John tells me they missed many
"easy" ones!) Apparently this was John's first return to the Twitchathon
after many years' absence, his last event was in 1998 - let's hope we see
you next year John and team! Also, two members of John's team were a father
and son from Switzerland, the son added 20 lifers to his list in the 24
hours, so everyone was very happy.
The next team was the Oriental Prats, comprising Aileen Collyer, Rohan
Bilney, Lucas Bluff and Tamara Leitch. The Oriental Prats saw a total of 174
species with Painted Honeyeater, an unusual bird for a Twitchathon, being
best bird and their biggest dip was Australasian Pipit. Apparently all team
members are still talking to each other, which is always a good thing, I
Next was The Ruddy Bustards comprising Matthew Gibson, Grant Palmer and
Gavin Thomas (I'm sure there were only two of you when we bumped into you at
Goschen!) The Bustards saw 180 species, with best bird being Spotted Harrier
and biggest dip being Pallid Cuckoo. Northern Victoria is teeming with
Spotted Harriers currently - especially after some "dry years" for this
species. Pallid Cuckoo is an interesting dip since they are around in many
The fourth of the 24-hour teams was the Tick-tock Twins, comprising Paul
Rose and Sean Fitzgerald. The Tick-tock Twins saw an impressive 196 species,
20 more than the best of their previous three attempts at this completion.
Their best bird was Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, a lifer for both Paul and
Sean. Their biggest dip was Striated Fieldwren.
The next team, the Gang Gang Gang, comprised Ruth Woodrow and Paul Dodd
(me!) We saw a total of 205 species, bettering our tally from last year by
eight species. Our best bird was (a pair of) Glossy Ibis at the Western
Treatment Plant, and our biggest dip was both Tawny Frogmouth and Red-browed
Finch, both of which we were sure we were going to see at Serendip
And the winning team in the 24-hour event was The Robin Rednecks - for the
second year running. The Robin Rednecks is made up of Michael (Mick) Ramsey,
Simon Starr and Matt Weeks. The Rednecks managed to see a staggering 222
species (admittedly three less than their record-breaking 225 of last year).
Their best bird was either a white-morph Grey Goshawk or an Orange Chat,
with their biggest dip(s) being Rainbow Lorikeet, Common Bronzewing and Grey
Both the Robin Rednecks and the Gang Gang Gang hosted ABC Radio National
producer/presenter Matthew Crawford during the competition, with the Robin
Rednecks having his company on Saturday and us picking him up and taking him
around with us on Sunday. We are not completely sure when the program will
go to air, but it is likely to be December 9 or December 16 (I'll update you
when I know for sure).
Congratulations to all teams that participated in the event. A special
congratulations to the winning teams - the Common Loudmouths and the
Norwegian Blues in the 8-hour competition - and the Robin Rednecks in the
24-hour event. I look forward to competing with you all next year!
Birdlife Victoria Twitchathon Organiser
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