Date Added: July 4, 2006
Posted by: Tom Tarrant
Location: Burren Junction, North-Central NSW
Directions: I'm not sure if anyone is aware but the birding community in Australia has been enjoying a 'mega-twitch' during the past fortnight. A Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus (a migrant in East Asia) was found in the mid-western town of Burren in New South Wales, birders have been driving huge distances from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to see the bird.
The whole story was almost turned on it's head today, however when one of the Birding-Aus Mailing-List correspondents 'published' a letter purported to be from the 'Motels Association'....this was the 'extract' posted.
"The plan worked exactly as devised, and in fact is still working so very well. The birdwatching brigade are buzzing around the town and spending money, and our vacancy rates have been virtually at zero levels - especially at weekends.
As I explained in the previous edition, the research in the early stages, really paid off. The bird that I chose had to be fairly large, it had to be plausible, it had to remain in our area for some time, and could not be ringed or identified in any way as a captive bird.
The contact at the (*****name deleted *****) Zoo was discrete and excellent, and the bird chosen, a Grey Headed Lapwing (to me looks like a plover) - has brought in the crowds. The Zoo has not missed the bird, and in a week or so will get it back - unless it goes elsewhere and who knows - one of you could benefit as we have done."
Fortunately it didn't take long for people to realise that the email was a hoax, though I bet that a few of our top 'tickers' were sweating! (The 'hoaxer' has come clean since too!)
Full details can be viewed on the Birding-Aus archives on
Sightings: Grey-headed Lapwing