The Big Dip

Subject: The Big Dip
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2014 14:45:06 +0800

I am sure any twitcher has missed a few.  My biggest are :

1. I recently went to 80 Mile Beach south of Broome and missed the Nordmann's Greenshank. This was a WA, Australian and life (in that order) dip for me, and a wader which are among my favourite families. 2. I flew to Cairns (from Perth) to go to Cooktown for the Slaty-backed Gull but 400mm of rain closed Cooktown. I was successful two weeks later. 3. I have driven to Busselton (~3 hours) and Geraldton (5+ hours) and failed to find Grey Heron (in Sean Dooley's big year). A WA and Australian dip. 4. I was helping on the annual February wader count on Rottnest Island several years ago, when a Ringed Plover was seen on the count near Preston Beach (1+ hours S of Perth). It was seen again on the Sunday, but had gone by early Monday when I tried. A WA and Australian dip. 5. I drove to Greenough River (5- hours N of Perth) and dipped on the Grey Phalarope seen two days earlier. A WA, Australian and life dip.

But then I think of all the successes and think I have been very lucky. Fairy Pitta, Red-legged Crake, Sabine's Gull, Semipalmated Plover, Red-throated Pipit, Franklin's Gull, Black-tailed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kelp Gull, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon, Latham's Snipe, Chinese Pond Heron, Rosy Starling, Grey Wagtail all in WA. Laughing Gull, Lesser Yellowlegs, American Golden Plover, Stilt Sandpiper, South Island Pied Oystercatcher, Northern Shoveler, Javan Pond Heron, White (Black-backed) Wagtail, Hudsonian Godwit, Forest Wagtail, Grey-headed Lapwing, Tricolored Grebe (Little Grebe at the time), Tiger Shrike, Eurasian Teal and Red-billed Tropicbird elsewhere in Australia. And then being lucky to be in the right place at the right time for Blue & White Flycatcher, Eurasian Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Little Stint, Blue Petrel, Red-rumped Swallow, South Polar Skua, White-tailed Tropicbird, Sooty Albatross, Grey Petrel, Oriental Reed-warbler, Arctic Warbler, Forest Kingfisher, Tricoloured Grebe, Black-naped Tern, Leach's Storm-Petrel, White Wagtail all in WA.

Twitching is a very different type of birding. It teaches you patience, being thorough, knowing what you are looking for, learning its habits, etc. Plus you get time to look at all the other species while searching for the target, while all the time knowing that it may no longer be there ...

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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