Common Loudmouths in the medals again! 2008

The Twitchathon for 2008 has been run and won – and the loudmouths emerge triumphant. Medallists in 2006 and 2007, the team of stalwarts equalled those last two years with the Bronze Medal for 2008. Winners were Twitching Big Eyes with 1919 species, second was Robin Rednecks with 185, closely followed by your favourite team with 176.

The twitch started auspiciously with a lively discussion on the offer, given on the window of a Coburg medical practice Circumcision – Any Age. Any Reason. What a rich field for conjecture.

The next highlight was the Mixed Grill and a beer off the wood at the Ravenswood Pub, where a lively poker tournament was in progress. We were easily the noisiest table there. Lake Tyrell out of Sea Lake provided us with the exquisite White-winged wren and a bold Orange chat, flame-lit by the morning sun, showing it in all its glory. We finally saw a Rufous field-wren there also, a tick for many of us.

We couldn’t get a bet on at Rainbow, there’s no TAB in this temperance town. Our Adelaide agent was directed by a message left on his mobile phone to place a bet for us on Bird of Fire which was running in the 8th at Flemington. With a name like that, for a twitch team it was an absolute omen. We hope that the bet, $10 each way,  did get on because it saluted, paying $18.30 for the win and $5.10 the place. That would nearly cover our excess kilometres for the hired 12 seater.

Four o’clock sounded and the twitch started. We saw Splendid wrens that were splendid, Collared sparrowhawks and Spotted harriers. We heard Regent parrots, Grey butcherbirds but no Boobook owls. All the same, we finished Saturday with 85 species – and some very good ones among them.  Dinner was a decent hamburger, purchased from the café beside Sea Lake’s amusement parlour, Thunder Alley. I cannot imagine the marketing campaign that would make the faded and jaded Thunder Alley a mecca for Mallee youth.

We wandered aimlessly in the hour after dawn around Melville Caves, saw and heard good birds in the Box-Ironbark forests of the goldfields and ticked our usual 10 species in the wetter forest around Creswick. We then joined most of the other teams racing around the bunds between the oblong cess-pits of the Werribee Treatment Plant. There were waders in their thousands, including Bar-tailed godwits, hardly fresh but all the same newly-arrived from their non-stop 2 week 7,000 mile flight from Alaska to New Zealand followed by the short hop over the ‘duhtch’. Other teams saw, in the same ponds that we scanned, a Wood sandpiper, a Pectoral sandpiper, a Great knot or even a Red knot. These are not birds that you will see on our list. Clearly loudmouths have room for improvement.

These are, however, tough birds to see. We missed some easy ones. We didn’t see a Pacific gull, nor a Greenfinch or a Black-shouldered kite. On that topic, we did see a Black-shouldered kite at about 11 am on Saturday. But the twitch hadn’t started so it couldn’t be ticked on our list. Have confidence in the loudmouths for our team motto is  “Loudmouths are nailed to the cross of integrity”.

Twitch list 2008

Blue-billed Duck
Musk Duck
Black Swan
Cape Barren Goose
Australian Shelduck
Australian Wood Duck
Pacific Black Duck
Australasian Shoveler
Grey Teal
Chestnut Teal
Pink-eared Duck
Australasian Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Australasian Gannet
Little Pied Cormorant
Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Australian Pelican
White-faced Heron
Little Egret
Great Egret
Nankeen Night Heron
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Black Kite
Whistling Kite
Spotted Harrier
Swamp Harrier
Brown Goshawk
Collared Sparrowhawk
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Brown Falcon
Australian Hobby
Black Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Nankeen Kestrel
Purple Swamphen
Dusky Moorhen
Black-tailed Native-hen
Eurasian Coot
Black-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit
Marsh Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Red-necked Stint
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Pied Oystercatcher
Black-winged Stilt
Red-necked Avocet
Red-capped Plover
Black-fronted Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel
Masked Lapwing
Silver Gull
Crested Tern
Whiskered Tern
Rock Dove
Spotted Turtle-Dove
Common Bronzewing
Crested Pigeon
Peaceful Dove
Long-billed Corella
Little Corella
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Rainbow Lorikeet
Musk Lorikeet
Regent Parrot
Crimson Rosella
Eastern Rosella
Australian Ringneck
Blue Bonnet
Red-rumped Parrot
Pallid Cuckoo
Black-eared Cuckoo
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
Tawny Frogmouth
Laughing Kookaburra
Rainbow Bee-eater
White-throated Treecreeper
Brown Treecreeper
Superb Fairy-wren
Splendid Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren
White-winged Fairy-wren
Spotted Pardalote
Striated Pardalote
White-browed Scrubwren
Chestnut-rumped Heathwren
Shy Heathwren
Striated Fieldwren
Rufous Fieldwren
Brown Thornbill
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Slender-billed Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill
Striated Thornbill
Southern Whiteface
Red Wattlebird
Little Wattlebird
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Bell Miner
Noisy Miner
Yellow-throated Miner
Singing Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater
Orange Chat
White-fronted Chat
Jacky Winter
Red-capped Robin
Hooded Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Southern Scrub-robin
White-browed Babbler
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Varied Sittella
Crested Bellbird
Golden Whistler
Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush
Restless Flycatcher
Grey Fantail
Willie Wagtail
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
White-winged Triller
White-breasted Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow
Grey Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Grey Currawong
Australian Raven
Little Raven
White-winged Chough
Singing Bushlark
Richard’s Pipit
House Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
European Goldfinch
Welcome Swallow
Tree Martin
Fairy Martin
Clamorous Reed-Warbler
Little Grassbird
Brown Songlark
Golden-headed Cisticola
Common Blackbird
Song Thrush
Common Starling
Common Myna