Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time—A True Story about Birdwatching

Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time—A True Story about Birdwatching

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1741145287

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

As a self-proclaimed twitcher—a birdwatching extremist who travels around the country trying to catch a glimpse of as many species of birds as possible—the author took a year off in 2002 with the goal of seeing 700 birds and thereby breaking the national record for most birds seen in one year. In this amusing memoir, he recounts his quest, including how he spent all of his inheritance from the untimely death of his parents to make his dream a reality. Populated by unusual characters and interesting species of birds, this part confessional–part travelogue for both bird nerds and the general population follows the author as he works out what it means to be normal despite his unusually avid compulsion toward twitching.

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things were back to normal and I was sleeping in the car alone once again, this time camped in the backyard of the ranger’s residence at the Fitzgerald River National Park. On the Perth pelagic back in June, Peter Wilkins, one of the park’s rangers, had told me that he sees Western Whipbirds virtually from his kitchen window and that if ever I was coming through, I should drop by and check them out. Foolish words, really. Wisely Peter and his family had gone to a cricket club function in

with the world, being completely free to go wherever I chose, do whatever I wanted, was intoxicating. I was always way too responsible for such nonsense, however, and those thoughts remained the stuff of musings to drift off to sleep to. Suddenly, there was no impediment to following that dream. No family, no job, no ties. I was in the rare position where I could run away without leaving behind an unresolved mess. The record beckoned. I might never have this sort of opportunity again in my life,

totally parched. The ranger told me that only one waterhole in the entire park still had any water so that was where I’d be searching. If I could get away from the ranger, that is. The last visitor must have come around the same time as the last rain, and with his family seven hundred kilometres away on the coast, man, was this bloke eager for a chinwag. I should have stayed chatting. The waterhole was just a sludgy brown puddle, and apart from a couple of very cautious Common Bronzewings there

April 5, Mt. Nebo, QLD 396 Spotted Harrier, Circus assimilis, April 5, Lake Samsonvale, QLD 397 Square-tailed Kite, Lophoictinia isura, April 5, Kallangur, QLD 398 Black-breasted Button-quail, Turnix melanogaster, April 6, Inskip Point, QLD 399 Large Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii, April 6, Inskip Point, QLD 400 Flame Robin, Petroica phoenicea, April 9, Seaford Swamp, VIC 401 Striated Fieldwren, Calamanthus fuliginosus, April 21, Werribee, VIC 402 Providence Petrel, Pterodroma

foothold on the island, Tasmania is a sensational place for native mammals. Several species that have become extinct on the mainland survive here in good numbers and while looking for the owl I almost had to kick Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Southern Brown Bandicoots and Southern Bettongs, a very cute type of wallaby, out of the way. At one point I heard the distinctive shriek of a Masked Owl and thought I was going to catch up with this species at last. But precisely one minute later the cold

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