Inaugural twitch

Hell’s bells. There is the most spectacularly blogworthy material at my new work, and would you believe I cannot write about it. My professional ethics (such as they are) prevent me from saying what it involves, but let me tell you this: the ratio of birdwatchers to regular people is very high.

This week I was invited to my first twitch. I imagined twitching to be some sort of Baden-Powellish kind of expedition, with khaki tents, sturdy hiking boots, sextants, solar topees and armies of attendants bearing sundowners and ostrich feather fans, but apparently it is possible to engage in a twitch in one’s lunchtime.

All we needed were some ‘bins’* and a good pair of walking shoes (see post below). As we approached Flagstaff Gardens, a number of birdos were observed clustering around the trunk of an oak tree and peering upwards. Hands pointed towards the foliage and lenses flashed. They looked like what you’d expect birdwatchers to look like. One gentleman was bearded and gripped a colossal lens.

This Powerful Owl was spotted a couple of years ago in the Flagstaff Gardens. She comes back regularly to feast on possums in the inner city, and when we saw her, she was clutching one in her gigantic talons. Its poor dead tail was hanging down like a sock.

It was quite a sight! The Powerful Owl is a monster. You could imagine her carrying off small children. She had flat yellow eyes and a massive head that swivelled about independent of the body. It was pretty windy on the day, and she swayed a bit with the tree while her feathers fluffed around her. It didn’t bother her too much – she kept a good grip on that possum. I found a picture of a Powerful Owl holding a decapitated possum, but it’s too gruesome to post; the pic of Bill Oddie will have to suffice.

Sigh. I would like to say ‘watch this space’ for more bird tales, but I cannot.

*Binoculars. Get thee with the lingo.

4 thoughts on “Inaugural twitch

  1. I would have never imagined that birdwatching was called "twitching". It is a bit of a strange term.The owl with carcass must have been pretty gruesome not to even consider posting on the Galloping Skirt. But Bill was always my favorite Goodie.Hope you are good.

  2. Did a bit of arboreal habitat study long, long ago. The owlet nightjar was the only bird of prey I came across. Wouldn't you know it'd be mating issues that stop more of them from finding a home in the city?

  3. Not sure if you are a podcast listener. If you are you might like to try "Birdbrain". Done by the Iceman who used to be a DJ on JJJ – so at the very least you might find yourself another counterculture/geek hero besides Bill Oddie.

  4. Thanks chaps! All the above noted. Alas I am plenty tapped into the birding networks, and cop a right earful of that stuff at least 3 days a week. For example, I even know what an owlet-nightjar is. Frightening!!Ed: when I told my old man about my first twitch, he huffed and puffed and said 'well I don't go in for that nonsense! Bloody waste of time. I avoid it myself!' After some confusion I said "It's TWITCHING not TWITTER, Dad." Duh!

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