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Australia's Best Spots for Twitching

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by Lesley Mitchell (subscribe)
Author/lecturer/spiritual tour leader/Natural Therapist/Artist/Soap Maker. eBay store: stores.ebay.com.au/RenascentCollege Website: www.RenascentCollege.com and www.RenascentBathBody.com.au
Published June 7th 2012
A What? If you have never heard of a twitcher then either this review isn't for you, or you are about to embark on a whole new adventure. Perhaps you haven't even realised your 'twitcher' interest, you could even be a 'twitcher' in the making.

A twitcher is another name for a specific type of birdwatcher.

Twitchers aim to count large numbers of species, rather than individual birds. A passionate twitcher probably doesn't care how many wedge tailed eagles were flying in the skies over the mountains, seen one, marked it down on his list, no need to see any more. Off to find a new species.

A passionate twitcher might have 3,000 or more species on their life list.

So where are the best locations for varieites rather than quantities?

Australia
Along with its myriad of animals, the isolation of Australia to other countries has created some unusual and fascinating birds.

Photo: JJ Harrison (Wikimedia Commons)
Our kookaburra makes a noise, much like it really is laughing, enough to make people smile at the sound of it.

The amazing lyrebird with its facinating tail feathers has the ability to mimic any sound it hears. When we lived in the isolated outback many years ago, my mother hated going to the toilet in the bush as she said there was a man in there who wold whistled her every time she went to the toilet. After weeks of this going on, we discovered a wandering lyrebird that has developed impeccible timing.

Photo: Glen Fergus (Wikimedia Commons)
Male Bowerbirds compete for the females attention by building huge nests filled with anything shiny and for some strange reason, especially blue items.

The Emu is a flightless bird attracted by glinting a mirror in their directions. Curiosity piqued, they will bound across the plains to see what the sparkle holds in store for them. It is the world's second largest bird after the ostrich.

1. Australia is filled with a wonderful selection of brilliantly coloured parrots. They can be found all over Australia. However, if you wish to see a huge quantity of them up close, perhaps even feed them by hand, head for Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland.

2. Healesville Sanctuary is an amazing location to see Emus, lyrebirds and native wildlife up close.

3. Kakadu National Park - Northern Territory
Slightly north-east of Darwin, Kakadu houses over 280 bird species. Storms wash in from Indian Ocean and flood the area, creating wetlands. These wetlands in turn bring huge quantities of waterbirds. Here you will find: comb-crested jacana, magpie goose, red-goshawk, Gouldian finch.

4. Daintree Rainforest - Queensland
This beautiful location is now a World Heritage-listed area with over 430 different kinds of bird species. It is a tropical rainforest, with rivers and forests. Best time to twitch: summer (the wet-season). Here you will find: pied monarch, Victoria's riflebird, lesser sooty owls, Macleay's honeyeater and kingfishers, especially the buff-breasted paradise kingfisher.

5. Christmas Island - 2600km to the northwest of Perth
The island is filled with with seabirds and wanderers. Many are quite similar to the Indonesian species. Having very little contact with predators, the birds on CI are relatively tame. Here you will find: Christmas Island goshawk, Abbott's booby, golden-bosunbird, Christmas Island imperial pigeon.

Photo: Nevil Lazarus (Wikimedia Commons)
6. Atherton Tablelands - Queensland - west of Cairns
My husband owned land in this idyllic location, set with mountainous ranges and beautiful waterfalls. It is home to some magnificent birds. Look for natural clearings with large trees that have fallen, now home to seed-eating birds - particularly the blue-face parrot finch. Here you will find: sooty owl, buff-breasted paradise kingfisher, Victoria's riflebird.

7. Broome Bird Observatory - Western Australia
Filled with shorebirds and migratory birds, here you with find over 300 species. At varying seasons you will find different species, including Yellow-chats and 22 species of raptors. Here you will find: white-breasted whistler, red-headed honeyeaters, golden-whistler, Australian raptor, and the yellow-chat.

8. Dandenong Ranges - Victoria
A short drive from Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges are home to Heaesville sanctuary. However as well as this, they are filled with eucalyptus trees, forests and high rainfall. This creates a perfect location for cold climate birds. Sherbrooke and Kallista are great twitching locations. With a close eye you may see passerine and lyrebird. Here you will find: yellow-tailed black-cockatoo, powerful owl, eastern spinebill, eastern yellow robin, and the superb lyrebird.

Photo: Aviceda (Wikimedia Commons)
9. Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve - Northern Territory
In this amazing wetland area, there are over 230 species of birds. You will find the Jabiru, Australia's only stork. Here you will find: red-backed kingfisher, blue-winged kookaburra, Gouldian finch and the jabiru.

10. Gluepot Reserve - South Australia
Mallee scrub and dry bushlands are called home to over 197 species of birds. If lucky, you may find the black-eared miner. Now categorised as a UNESCO Biosphere, the reserve is filled with beautiful woodlands centuries old. Here you will find: hooded-robin, red-lored whistler, scarlet-chested parrot, striated grasswren, black-eared miner, malleefowl and major Mitchell cockatoo.
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Why? Australia is like a candy store to twitchers
When: All year round
Where: All over Australia
Cost: Generally free, some parks may have entrance fees
Your Comment
You would have to include O'Reillys in the Green Mountains ( Qld) for the most amazing array of wild birds
by jay.m (score: 1|59) 1733 days ago
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