Common Loudmouths Twitch Report
Sunday November 18, 2012
Twitching joins the Twittersphere
Never let it be said that the Loudmouths are anachronistic old coots. We were one of the tweeting teams of Twitchathon 2012 to broadcast our progress, give misinformation and send guarded reports to the all of the other teams also tweeting – that is, to both of them.
We started out the back of Bendigo, as is our wont, where we quickly ticked off 3 woodswallows in a mixed flock of hundreds of birds and quickly we followed up with some good birds out near Arnold. But where were our babblers? Was the no-show an omen? Our best spot for dry-country birds at Kingower had been the target of over-zealous parkies who’d been very thorough in their fuel reduction a few months earlier. Thankfully, our spot was on the very edge of the burn and we saw and heard many of our targets.
There were very few ducks on the Maryborough Pooh Farm (another omen) and the lorikeets in Clunes drove us nuts, screeching high in thick foliage that was being tossed in fresh winds. You need to look for sixpences for a while after you’ve spent time looking for lorikeets, your neck demands it.
The wet forest at Creswick yielded some raucous Pallid cuckoos carrying on like demented .. cuckoos, a few honeyeaters species and not a lot else. We drove on down to Werribee but it seemed that the clock had spun forward and we at least an hour behind schedule when we arrived there. The brolgas were not in position, the Pacific golden plovers and Pacific gulls had gone, there were no, none, zilch zebbie ducks on the West lagoons where 10 days earlier there were thousands, the shovellers had shot through and there was not a Red-kneed dotterel to be found. When the clock ticked over 4 pm and it was ‘time gentlemen’, we had 132 species ticked off on our list.
We had put our predictions, with a $10 note and closest to the count takes the kitty, in an envelope before the start, as we always do. A little side bet always gives an extra frisson to the competition as well as bragging rights to the winner. Even the most pessimistic of us had predicted 143 so when it comes to birds, the loudmouths did not have a good day.
We twitched our last message to the ‘sphere at 8 am “Loudmouths off and counting. Time is now species. Tweet you later”. Well, it turned that there wasn’t enough time and so there weren’t enough species.
Of course we’re not only in it for the birds though. In every other way, the camaraderie, the wet forest ringing with bird-song, even the tang of pooh-farm in the nostrils – the loudmouths had a very good Twitch!