Twitching with Friends
09 May 2018 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ
Alison and Randall from s/v Tregoning, our twitching partners
The other day our friends, Alison and Randall, invited us to twitch with them. While I'm not sure whether they'd twitched before, I'm pretty sure they hadn't twitched with other people, and I know that Eric and I hadn't. But, adventurous souls that we are, Eric and I heartily agreed to participate. The four of us twitched together twice that day, highly enjoyable and rewarding sessions in two different locations; we even recruited a couple of additional participants who saw us twitching, thought it looked like fun, and decided to join in.
Twitching, I've recently learned from a book given to us by these same twitching buddies, is an Australian term meaning “hard core birdwatching.” For our twitching expedition, we got up early and traipsed through the woods for a couple of hours with binoculars draped around our necks, squinting up into the leafy canopies of trees, peering into scrubby bushes, and scrutinizing the muddy banks of the Hatea River, Randall recording the types and numbers of birds that we saw. For serious twitchers, this would have seemed pretty tame, but for us casual birders, this was relatively hard core.
We were twitching as part of The Global Big Day (also known as International Birding Day), doing our part – along with twitchers all around the globe – to provide a snapshot of the bird species found in our own little piece of the world on May 5. And we did a pretty good job of it: our list of 27 species tied for the 40th longest species list registered for the day in New Zealand. Not bad for virgin twitchers.
Randall had learned about the event through Ebird.com, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's website, which collected all the twitching results. For those of you who might be interested in seeing the 40th best twitching results in New Zealand on International Birding Day 2018, here they are:
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
New Zealand Pigeon
New Zealand Fantail
If you'd like to learn more about twitching, how you can be a citizen scientist and add your bird sightings to the global database, or just about birds in general, check out Ebird.com. Happy twitching!