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, 5 October 2014

Red Centre Bird Festival Twitchathon 2014 - A win all around

On Friday, October 3rd, at 6 pm, the 24 hour Red Centre Bird Festival Twitchathon started. Our team - The Warings - consisted of only 2 this year, my 10 year old son, Moses, and myself.
We started up at Kunoth Bore - target species, Bourke's Parrot. At 5:30, 30 minutes before we were allowed to start, we had our first sighting of the Bourke's Parrot. We both agreed they were very small, and fairly quiet. We knew we couldn't count this on our list, but were really happy to have seen one in the afternoon light.
We sat there counting down until 6 pm, and finally my watch read 6:00 and we started counting bird species. Common Bronzewings, Pallid Cuckoo, Whistling Kite .... we were away. Disappointingly, no more Bourke's Parrots turned up in the next 40 minutes. The light was fading and we were starting to despair that our one and only visitor, despite being very exciting, would not be counted. I told Moses the light was fading so badly so we would have to go soon, and then we heard them calling as they landed, about 10 of them in the fading light.
We left Kunoth Bore with 14 species, pretty excited about our BP experience. A quick stop at home to grab some things for the night and we headed down to Redbank Waterhole on Owen Springs Reserve for the night. Soon after we pulled up, Moses snuggled into the swag, we both heard a Bush Stone Curlew calling off in the distance. 15 species to start with on the Saturday.

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and lots of birdsong.

Pied Butcherbirds, Galahs, Zebra Finches, and Budgerigars. A call of nature led me to our next special bird for the day, a Spinifexbird. I rushed back to get Moses and eventually we found it again, although not as close as it had been to me initially. We stayed about 2 hours after sunup at Redbank, Moses having a great time videoing the Budgerigars.

We collected another 25 or so species including a Whistling Kite nest with 2 little chicks.

As we drove off we saw a Black-shouldered Kite hovering above the grasses, then collected a series of birds across the plains of Owen Springs, before seeing our next special bird, a White-browed Treecreeper.

We continued on through Owen Springs Reserve and finally came out onto the Hermannsberg road, and decided to stop at Standley Chasm for a well-earned ice-cream. Here there were a variety of small birds including this Grey-headed Honeyeater

Back in the car and off to the back of the Claypans to find some Painted Finches, which we did. By this stage dad was getting a bit more tired than Moses as we trekked up the path.

We had a short lull in birds as we tried to get some of the supposedly easier ones near town and then headed to the Poo Ponds to get all of the waders and water birds we had missed up to now.

We found the bizarrely long-bill of the Long-billed Corellas with the Little Corellas near the gate

A Yellow-billed Spoonbill trio was a welcome and unexpected addition to the list

and then some gorgeous little Swan Cygnets
We picked up our last few birds on the way to the Alice Springs Desert Park for the finish, and then the counting was over. A grand total of 97 birds. A wonderful effort by a 10 year old and his dad. We sat and waited for the results.

First prize for the 24 hour Twitchathon goes to .... the Warings! We are very grateful to those who ran the event, Alice Sprijngs Desert Park and BirdLife Central Australia, and the sponsors of the event and the prizes, especially the Alice Springs Camera House for their very generous prizes which we will be using in the very near future.

But the best prize of all was spending the 24 hours with my son Moses. I had yet another amazing experience with him, and am constantly amazed by his patience and perserverance in bird watching. What a wonderful son, thank you Moses.


  1. A brilliant twitch! Congratulations on the win.

  2. Well done Moses! Well done Rich. A marvellous and memorable 24 hours! Great photos as well. That spoonbill appears to be egging the team on!