Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Red Centre Twitchathon 2013 - Buff Budgies come 2nd

Our team, the Buff Budgies, consisted of the same team members that took out first prize two years ago. Banjo and Moses and I started our 24 hours at the Alice Springs Poo Ponds. The hooter sounded at 6 pm and we were off - Red-necked Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, a Little Grassbird, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Grey Teal, Masked Lapwing, Fairy Martin, Tree Martin, ...... things were looking good. Black-tailed Native-hens were claimed by one of the boys as a Purple Swamphen (we did see a Purple Swamphen later), the first of many corrections, we started wandering a bit further afield at the Poo Ponds and then it happened. We saw a White-winged Fairy-wren. That was about the last easily identified bird as the cameras came out for the boys and the light faded quickly. We left the Ponds that night with a grand total of.....24. Not sure I've ever been there and managed less than 30 previously, but it was all for the good of the Twitch, and that meant we would just see some of those normal birds somewhere else tomorrow.

Up early with the intention of getting to Glen Helen before the sun rose. Didn't quite make it so the first stop was Ellery Creek Big Hole. Out of the car, and the boys had cameras ready and saw a Striated Pardalote. Click click click, they were into it. Except.... it was a bit cold, and in the haste in the morning one of the boys couldn't find a warm top, so dad gave his up and proceeded to freeze in the morning air. A few more birds - Mistletoebird and very young juvenile, Zebra Finches, and a noisy Reed Warbler in the rushes by the water. Back to the car and off to Ormiston Gorge, where finally we started to get a number of new birds. The list was starting to grow, we had 55 before 10 o'clock with Glen Helen to come. Things were looking up. We arrived at Glen Helen after a few roadside stops to pick up Hooded Robin, Major Mitchell Cockatoo and Rufous Whistler, and after an hour or so looking around the water's edge at Glen Helen we eventually stopped for lunch. Our "best bird" came from Glen Helen, but mainly because we all agreed it was an unusual sighting for us, not the bird itself, but the chicks with the parent. I'm sure there is a technical term, but we called them "Cootlings". The Eurasian Coot babies:

By this stage it looked like Banjo might be getting sick so I decided to try to monitor him and not worry too much about the Twitchathon. He insisted we continue, and armed with our old DSLR seemed fairly happy to take photos but didn't seem to want to do our frantic driving and spotting from 2 years before, so we took it easy and stopped occasionally on the round trip from Glen Helen to Alice Springs via Hermannsberg. The boys had been up early and by mid-afternoon were both starting to get a bit ratty so we headed back home before a last hour twitch around town and then off to the Alice Springs Desert Park to hand in our list and the presentations and BBQ that followed. We were surprised by the low number of entrants as I was expecting the event to have grown last year and again this year. When we heard there were only 5 teamsand most had stayed in town, certain members of our team started to get expectations up. We did, as mentioned in the title of this post, come second. We received two lovely books (1 each for the boys) and some vouchers for a local nursery we can use to buy bird-attracting plants for our yard.

Another wonderful experience for a dad sharing the day with his two sons - the best prize of all.

Below is a complete list and a few photos from the day:
Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Collared Sparrowhawk, Brown Falcon, Australian Kestrel, Australian Hobby, Diamond Dove, Crested Pigeon, Spinifex Pigeon, Spotted Turtle Dove, Galah, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Budgerigar, Australian Ringneck, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Splendid Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Miner, Crimson Chat, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, Western Bowerbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Masked Woodswallow, Black-faced Woodswallow, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Little Crow, Clamorous Reed-warbler, Little Grassbird, Rufous Songlark, Zebra Finch, Mistletoebird, Whiskered Tern, Black-tailed Native-hen, Purple Swamphen, Eurasian Coot, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Hardhead, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Black Swan, Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Great Egret, Red-kneed Dotterel, Red-capped Plover, Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, and Australian Pratincole.

White-winged Fairy-wren

Australasian Grebe

Clamorous Reed-warbler

Australian Ringneck

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Crested Pigeon

Fairy Martins

Great Egret

Little Pied Cormorant

Very young Mistletoebird

Spinifex Pigeon

Whistling Kite


  1. Lovely story. A little surprised too that only 5 teams. Still reckon it is a great event.

    [We haven't worked at it, but Tom picked up a female Lyrebird the other day which was a first for him. We haven't tried hard because we often in that space, so it was surprising it took this long. Pleased, nonetheless.]

  2. Congratulations Buff-budgies! I'm sure plans are already afoot for next year (are you allowed to recruit!?)
    Really enjoyed the read! Of course able to flesh out the words even further with some understanding of the characters involved in the play!!!