Saturday, 7 November 2015


There were 32 teams (104 participants) from around the state participating. The Clarence Valley Twitchathon team, the Black-necked Stalkers, began their bird quest at Warialda west of  Inverell and finished on the Clarence Valley coastline. 
For general information on the Twitchathon see our earlier post: 2015 Twitchathon

The local Twitchathon team, the Black-necked Stalkers, supported by the Clarence Valley Birdos, once again competed in the NSW Twitchathon.  The aim of the Twitchathon is for teams to see or hear as many bird species as they can in a twenty four hour period.  Teams also gather sponsorship money to assist with bird research and conservation.  The funds raised this year will be going towards the Powerful Owl project in the Sydney area.

The Black-necked Stalkers (Greg Clancy, Gary Eggins and Russell Jago) started their 2015 attempt at Warialda, as they have done in the past two years.   Unlike the past two years the weather was cooler and cloudy.  Before leaving Warialda the team had notched up 60 species, including such gems as the Plum-headed Finch, Spotted Bowerbird and Pale-headed Rosella.  By the time the team reached the Gibraltar Range and had a four hour break the tally was 107 including the nocturnal Barking Owl, Sooty Owl, Barn Owl, Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth.

The next morning the rainforest and granite country species were searched for and most were found, including the Superb Lyrebird, Paradise Riflebird, Green Catbird and Southern Emu-wren making the tally 148 by the time the team reached the bottom of the Gibraltar Range, where a Grey Goshawk flew across the road and perched in a roadside tree.  The team moved on to Grafton where they saw the recently fledged Brahminy Kite and then headed out to Coutts Crossing.  The Marsh Sandpipers were still present and a number of other waterbirds were ticked off.  Driving through Southgate and down to Lawrence interesting species such as the Azure Kingfisher, Eastern Osprey and Brolga were added.  The expected Freckled Ducks at Lawrence were nowhere to be seen and the terns on the local sandbar were also absent.  After all is was a Twitchathon day when species regularly occurring in an area play hard to get.

The coastal areas at Brooms Head and Sandon provided sightings of migratory shorebirds and the rainforest at Iluka was expected to add a number of species.  The rainforest was disappointing only allowing the Regent Bowerbird and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove to be ticked while other regular species were sheltering from the wind and heat. 

The Twitchathon ended at 4 pm on Sunday at which time the team had recorded 218 different species, 4 more than in 2014 and 3 less than in 2013.  The team members all agreed that it was a very enjoyable 24 hours and that they had observed a great array of beautiful and in some cases, rare birds.

Eighteen threatened species were recorded (Black-necked Stork, Eastern Osprey, Brolga, Comb-crested Jacana, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Sooty Oystercatcher, Greater Sand Plover, Little Tern, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Little Lorikeet, Barking Owl, Sooty Owl, Rufous Scrub-bird, Brown Treecreeper, Hooded Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, Paradise Riflebird).  

- Greg Clancy