• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Biggest twitches and dips ever (1 Viewer)

Trevor Hardaker

Well-known member
Greetings from Cape Town,

I’m sure this topic has been done to death over the years, but as a birder from a country where twitching is still in its infancy compared to other places, I am finding it quite difficult to lay my hands on the information…

What are the biggest twitches that have ever occurred in your country? I’m interested to know which bird it was, where it was and also, more or less, when it was? And roughly how many people saw the bird over the duration of its stay and what the biggest number of twitchers was on any one day during its stay if possible? Obviously, I know that there will never be absolutely accurate info on this, but even ball park figures would be appreciated.

I’m also keen to hear what the biggest dips might be in your country i.e. the biggest number of gathered twitchers together that were there a day too late or whatever the case might be…

Thanks in advance!
Trevor
 

Trevor Hardaker

Well-known member
Thanks Chris!

I know that the UK records are fairly well publicised, but I was also hoping to get some input from birders in other countries around the world as well.

Surely the States must have some pretty big twitches on record as well...? And what about some of the other European countries?

Kind regards
Trevor
 

chowchilla

Maderator.
To give you an idea of how rare twitching is here in Far North Qld, an Eye-browed Thrush (a first for Aus) turned up on the tablelands just inland of Cairns last year. A few birders I know went to see it and said that they usually had the bird to themselves when they were there. I didn't bother going as I wasn't interested and anyway, saw the same species this year in Taiwan.
 

Cheshire Birder

Well-known member
Thanks Chris!

I know that the UK records are fairly well publicised, but I was also hoping to get some input from birders in other countries around the world as well.

Surely the States must have some pretty big twitches on record as well...? And what about some of the other European countries?

Kind regards
Trevor

Large twitches seem to be a phenomena which mainly occurs in Western Europe and North America.

CB
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
At the time of the last thread the Shugborough Belted Kingfisher was quoted as the biggest collective dip (although I am sure the hardcore would have caught up with it at Peterculter). I wonder if the Warham Green's Rufous-tailed Robin surpassed it?
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
I think the largest dip in the Netherlands had some 250 people looking for a Pygmy Owl (I wasn't there because I had interpreted my pager message as a Hawk Owl — I am a spoilt brat! And all turned out well with Pygmy Owl a few years later).
The biggest twitch must have had similar numbers.
This one is a classic, even if it isn't that large-scale because it was on an island (the guy welcoming the twitchers sadly passed away last year). The videos of Caspian Plover and Long-toed Stint are not as impressive even if the numbers were higher!
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
When a red-necked Stint was found in San Diego, on the first afternoon there was probably something like 30-50 people present, some having driven down as far away as LA that afternoon. I have seen large aggregations for a few other birds as well.

But as far as national rarities go, no, I don't think you get as large as twitches as those which occur in Great Britain. The rare birds that are likely to be seen by hundreds of people are usually those that linger for multiple weeks. Distances involved on the level of ABA jurisdiction, and regional variance in birder population, prevent really large twitches except perhaps in California or the Northeast.
 

dbradnum

Well-known member
At the time of the last thread the Shugborough Belted Kingfisher was quoted as the biggest collective dip (although I am sure the hardcore would have caught up with it at Peterculter). I wonder if the Warham Green's Rufous-tailed Robin surpassed it?

Not even close - I had the misfortune of being in both crowds. There was actually a surprisingly small number of people at Warham Greens at dawn, probably only about 300. Lots of people had (not unreasonably) concluded that on a clear night it would clear off, and waited on news. The first paragraph >here< sums up the mood on site...
 

Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Not even close - I had the misfortune of being in both crowds. There was actually a surprisingly small number of people at Warham Greens at dawn, probably only about 300. Lots of people had (not unreasonably) concluded that on a clear night it would clear off, and waited on news. The first paragraph >here< sums up the mood on site...

I'm glad I got to Shugborough on the Friday evening!
 

csanchez7

Well-known member
In Florida, the biggest twitch I have seen was for the Cuban Pewee in Everglades National Park a couple years ago. Maybe 10-15 people were there at any one time, tops, to see the bird. No where near the numbers seen in the UK.

For many "lesser rarities" such as Bahama Mockingbird, La Sagra's Flycatcher, Thick-billed Vireo, and Western Spindalis, there might be 2-4 people looking for the bird on any given day.

Carlos
 

Enji

Well-known member
I'm not sure what the biggest twitch in Sweden has been, but the biggest one I've been to was the Yellow-browed Bunting just outside Stockholm in January 2009. At least 500 people were there, and since the bird stayed for some time many more got to see it.
Mostly I remember it was really cold and the bird was pretty difficult to see.
Fun part: the scientific name for the bunting is Emberiza chrysophrys, and if you pronounce the latter in Swedish it sounds sorta like "kryss och frys" which means "tick and freeze"... which is exactly what a lot of people were doing. ;-)
 
Last edited:

Bird_Bill

Well-known member
Two come to mind here, most recent a pair of smew in January of 2001. Thousands turned out for.
Often mentioned a pair of birds could be bought from breeder not far south of here. (Seen, gets an asterisk "*")

Ross's gull that was here from mid Dec. 1991 to early January 1992.
That was "Real Deal", coverage by local television outlets, thousands turned out. Thrilled to have caught a number of views.

In both cases, depending on day of week, hundreds of folks might be present.
And also, above happened locally. Biggest dip nationally would probably be for Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in the last decade.
 

Cheshire Birder

Well-known member
On the evidence from this thread so far suggest that Britain hold the record for the largest twitch. Anybody got a copy of Guiness Book of World Records to check? ;)

CB
 

London Birder

Well-known member
The biggest 'twitch' I've ever attended wasn't for a bird but the Northern Bottle-nosed Whale that turned up in London in 2006. Literally thousands of people.
 

Keith Dickinson

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Biggest dip could well be the Amur falcon at Tophill Low a few years ago, it was initially id'ed as red footed falcon, and as there had been quite a few in the country that year loads of people didn't bother going. It was finally id'ed from photos as an Amur, underwing coverts moulted, and more or less at the same time the bird disappeared. Loads of totally pissed off Yorkshire birders.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top