Guest Post: Andy's a Twitcher


Here's another post from Andy Wraithmell from the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail! For more information on the trail, you can reach Andy at 850-488-9453, or send an email to

Hi, my name is Andy, and I am addicted to Twitching!

Rare or vagrant birds are those that have wandered far from their normal range, and twitching is a word that describes the nervous condition experienced by birders en-route to see such a bird. This nervous disorder is symptomatic of news of a rare bird breaking, and is only cured by a successful pursuit culminating in the addition of that bird to the inflicted twitchers life list! I am blessed with this affliction – it’s exhilarating! Questions race through my brain during the pursuit of a rare bird exacerbating the symptoms, increasing the excitement. When was it last seen? Will it still be there? Has it been eaten by a hawk? Florida gets more than its fair share of rare birds.

Tuesday, Feb. 21 was an ordinary day until my cell phone rings. It’s my birding buddy Elliot. “Do you need Green-tailed Towhee for your county life list?” “Of course I do, Green-tailed Towhee – a western species – has never been recorded in Leon County.” My pulse rate increases. “Well, I am looking at one right now,” says Elliot. I start to twitch and the symptoms become more pronounced during the following two hours!

I finally arrive on site and we search for the bird. An hour passes. “There it is," I shout, and a mixture of immense satisfaction and relief floods through my veins. Green-tailed Towhee becomes my 256th Leon County lifer. As we attempt to get better views, Elliot shouts, “LARK BUNTING.” My pulse races again, the symptoms resurface, number 257 is flying away. I am twitching again and it’s awesome!

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