The finches of Australia (and I imagine around the world) are definitely exciting to see and photograph, due mainly to their colourful plumage, and their preference to congregate in small groups. Their little "cheep" noises are normally the first indication they are around, although occasionally the mass movement into a nearby tree from their ground feeding can be the welcome sight to alert me as I am walking around. Zebra Finches in their hundreds were sighted in the first and drier parts of our drive from Alice Springs to Kakadu, and unfortunately our car collected a few of them. This poor bird was wedged into our windscreen wiper:
Small, delicate, and now at rest. We were all sad at his demise.
As we drew closer to Kakadu, the landscape was changing, the trees were denser and despite the wonderful rains in Alice Springs over the past year, we could tell we were heading into the tropics as the anthills were getting larger. Warlock Rest area, just south of the bridge over Elsey Creek on the Stuart Highway was a place where we had heard there were Gouldian finches. Alas, we didn't see any, but we did see some Masked and some Long-tailed Finches at the south of the toilet block.
We saw both of these species again in Kakadu, but seeing them for the first time is always a special event.
We had seen the Double-barred Finch before (in WA in 2010), but it was lovely to see them again. They popped up in a few places in Kakadu including above the waterfall at Gumlon, drinking in the waters up the creek a bit, and also at the Douglas-Daly region.
By far the most exciting and often seen finch was the Crimson Finch. Exciting to me because of its colour. I love seeing the colourful birds and the Crimson Finch is definitely that. amongst other places, they were in the grasses and along the billabong walk creek bed at Gumlon, and at Marguk near the parking area on the walk up to the plunge pool. Striking bird.
There were a few finches we thought we might see, the Gouldian being the one we looked for the most, but as with bird-watching, there is always another day to see something special or something new.