Three blokes including Kootingal laboratory technician Matt Hinze are on the run this weekend – and if you see them, don’t mind their twitchy nature.
BIRD BLOKE: Tamworth birdwatcher Matt Hinze is on the prowl for some feathered friends this weekend. Photo: Gareth Gardner 271015GGA03
They will have their eyes on the skies and in the trees, hoping to turn up some rare birds in a quest for our most valuable feathered friends.
The boys will sweep in from their roosting start at Port Macquarie in the wee hours of this morning and hopefully finish – with more than just a bird in the hand – at Lake Keepit on Sunday.
The trio are what are known as “twitchers” – and they’re on an avian adventure like few others.
Their mission is to track down and record as many species of birds as they can on their route, for a Twitchathon that raises funds for Birdlife Australia.
Matt is one of the team called Raven On. He’s a three-decade fan of feathers but his mates – Henry Siems, an arborist from Wauchope, and Ethan Marshall, a truck driver from Wauchope – are years younger.
“This is our third twitch together, but our first since I moved out to Tamworth in January this year,” Matt said.
“Ethan and Henry got into birding as young teens, watching me wander around with binoculars.”
So, what are they shooting for?
Well, we target as many different bird species as possible within our time limits. So, we cover as many different habitat types as we can: coastal, rainforest, mountain forests, woodland, swamps, lakes and even urban environments.
“We have nearly 240 species on our wishlist for this race, but we will miss many in the heat of the contest.
“We are competing in the Champagne Race category this year which is less formal, more fun and has winning scores of around 160.
“So I think we can win.”
The rarest ones on their list this year include the rufous scrub-bird, a species that hides in the understorey of mountain heath.
Closer to Tamworth, the blokes hope to come across the “beautiful and endangered turquoise parrot”, as well as endangered species including the masked owl, powerful owl, pied oystercatcher, whimbrel, osprey, eastern curlew, wompoo fruit-dove, diamond firetail, brown treecreeper, black-chinned honeyeater, varied sittella, speckled warbler, little lorikeet, little eagle, hooded robin, scarlet robin and blue-billed duck.
“On our last twitch four years ago, we actually visited the Tamworth area, finishing in the Leard State Forest near the mine. We totalled 193 species then but with only a few of interest out this way as we were all visitors from the coast,” Matt said.
While they are out to spot the rare birds, we two-legged varieties might easily spot them.
“If you see a red Subaru Forrester driving fast, then braking suddenly when an eagle flies by, with its windows down and two young guys and myself hanging out the windows holding binoculars … well, that’s us,” Matt said.
Obviously, they’re hopeful of some donations. You can contact Matt at 0417963890 or [email protected]南京夜网 to give.
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