Here are the results from the Birdlife Victoria Twitchathon this past
weekend. This year we had four teams in the 24-hour event and four teams in
the 8-hour competition, despite the fact that there was considerable
interest in the Big Sit, unfortunately no teams ended up registering for
this event. Additionally, this was the first year that we had fully-online
team registration and sponsorship - all in all, it worked reasonably well,
although I think we need to figure out how to make it a little easier
(especially the team registration). Anyway, onto the part that we're all
interested in, the results. Firstly, the 24-hour competition:
The winners of the 24-hour competition were the Tick-tock Twins (Paul Rose
and Sean Fitzgerald) with a total of 209 species seen, the first time they
have broken the 200-species barrier. Best bird was Sooty Owl - well, three
of them! Biggest dip was Tawny Frogmouth. Congratulations Tick Tock Twins!
Runners-up were long-time Twitchathon competitors, the Common Loudmouths
(Greg Hunt, Paul Kelly, Philip Jackson and Russell Thomson), with 174
species. The Loudmouths have, for many years, been 8-hour competitors, so
attempting the 24-hour event and scoring that many birds was a great result.
Best bird was Crimson Chat at Yapeet, a great bird for Victoria generally,
and for the Twitchathon in particular. Biggest dip was Zebra Finch.
Next was the Ruff Rollers (Brett Whitfield, Daniel Pendavingh and Bob
Dawson) with 166 species seen. Ruth and I usually bump into these guys at
Goschen, which seems to be the starting point for both teams! Best bird was
Little Tern and biggest dip was Hardhead.
Finally was first-time competitors, the Plover United Party (Dan Eyles,
Chris Timewell, Warren Tomlinson and Alexander Holmes) with 127 species.
Best bird was Cicadabird at Terrick Terrick of all places! Biggest dip was
Wedge-tailed Eagle. Congratulations on a good effort in your first
competition! Interestingly the Plovers started in Mildura and ended in
Castlemaine, so perhaps not a route that could generate the highest number
of species, but they had some remarkable candidates for best bird in
addition to the Cicadabird they settled on - Painted Honeyeater at
Muckleford, Black-eared Cuckoo and White-browed Treecreeper at Yarara.
In the 8-hour competition the winners were the Robin Rednecks with the
remarkable tally of 166 species! This is a new record for the 8-hour
competition, with the previous record of 156 species recorded by the Common
Diving Petrolheads in 2003. Even more remarkable, the Robin Rednecks now
hold BOTH the 8-hour and 24-hour records (they set the 24-hour competition
record in 2011 with a tally of 225 species). Best bird was Square-tailed
Kite (I don't recall seeing this bird in Victorian Twitchathon lists in
previous years) and biggest dip was Zebra Finch. The Rednecks spent all of
their time in northern and central Victoria, not coming to the Western
Treatment Plant, so that makes their total even more remarkable.
Runners-up in the 8-hour event were long-time 8-hour competitors the
Norwegian Blues (Jack Krohn and George Pergaminelis) with 145 species - not
quite as high as their 2011 tally of 149 but a great result nonetheless.
Best bird was Arctic Jaeger at the Western Treatment plant and biggest dip
was Black-shouldered Kite, despite spending hours at the Western Treatment
Next was the Oriental Prats (Rohan Bilney, Lucas Bluff, Aileen Collyer and
Tamara Leitch) with a total of 137 species. Best bird was Osprey - yet
another great bird for Victoria, and biggest dip was Golden-headed
Finally in the 8-hour event were the Wallace Wanderers (Fiona and Darren
Wallace and the two keen young birders, Amber - 12 years and Jaxen - 7
years) with a total of 75 species seen. Best bird was Cape Barren Goose and
biggest dip was King Parrot - a really great effort and hopefully a signal
to other families considering entering that not only is it possible but a
Twitchathon can be a great deal of fun for the entire family!
Unfortunately this year Ruth and I (the Gang Gang Gang) were unable to
participate and had to withdraw at the last minute. I have an unfortunate
habit of severely injuring myself whilst on holiday, and this trip was no
exception with me twisting my leg and ankle and tearing ligaments. Hopefully
Well done to all teams that participated and thanks for all your efforts
with raising sponsorship money - it will all be put to good causes,
supporting advanced tertiary students studying Victorian-oriented,
bird-related topics and projects at university.
Birdlife Victoria Regional Group - Twitchathon Coordinator
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