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Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hooded Parrots and Gouldian Finches among others at Edith Falls Rd

On my way up to Darwin from Alice Springs on Sunday, I stopped the night on Edith Falls Road, just near where the boys and I saw Gouldian Finches a couple of months ago. In the early morning light I noticed another car nearby and two blokes got out, cameras and lenses at the ready, and I suspected they were birders. Turns out one of them was someone I had heard and read about many times, and often been envious of where he gets to go bird-watching - namely around the Katherine region in a canoe, and sees many birds I would love to see. Mick Jerram is his name and after a short chat, we introduced ourselves. Mick kindly offered some local advice about where the Gouldians may be, as well as a few other species. The other bloke was Peter Eve from Darwin, and throughout the two or so hours we all had a few chats about birding and what was around in particular.

Exciting stuff for someone who probably prefers birding solo, but at the same time I have always enjoyed birding with others - my boys Moses and Banjo, as well as brother-in-law Peter Shanley, and a few of the birders around Alice Springs as well.

So Mick and Pete and I cross country, but the water has dried up, they go one way and I go back to where a couple of water holes we had already past. It wasn't much after sunrise, and the bird chatter was amazing. I watched some sort of bird of prey take off from a tree across the creek, fly low through the trees then settle in dense scrub. What was that? Never really found out, but either a Brown Goshawk or Collared Sparrowhawk - always struggle with telling them apart. Next were some Brown Honeyeaters nearby, then some Double-barred Finches and Northern Rosellas swooped around and landed in some trees away from me. The activity was hotting up and Rainbow Lorikeets screeched overhead, but still nothing was coming to drink by the water hole I was next to. I moved along to the second of the two and sat on a bank. A Banded Honeyeater pooped its head out from foliage in a nearby tree, then Cockatiels flew into a tree behind me, almost blinding me as I swung the camera around and looked straight into the sun. A Night parrot could have meandered past me and I wouldn't have been able to see it! But, still no Gouldian Finches. And then I struck a little bit of gold as two parrots flew into a close tree opposite me across the waterhole and sat in the foliage, but I could see that black hood - Hooded Parrot - a lifer for me. The camera was at the ready, clicking away getting glorious foliage shots, but not much else besides a shape behind. Then finally the one right at the top of the tree poked its head out and then moved into view .. mostly. Good enough. A bit later I saw 5 in a treetop nearby and then managed to capture them taking off. If no Gouldians then I was still already satisfied with the Hooded Parrot.
Hooded parrot

But where were the Gouldians? Obviously they were enjoying breakfast before a drink, and eventually they came. They were with some Masked and Long-tailed Finches which was different to the previous sighting I had had when they were with Crimson Finches which I had seen on this occasion, although not drinking. I managed a few shots of mainly the juvenile Gouldians but later managed a couple of a Black-headed Gouldian in the trees NEAR THE CAR! I could have slept in and just waited in the car, although not sure what my two fellow birders would have thought of that!

Gouldian Finches

"Finch Salad" was Mick's phrase for this group

Long-tailed Finch

Long-tailed and Masked Finches

Masked Finch

As the weather stays hot and dry, the creek bed here will dry up too and the Gouldians will move on (along with lots of other species). It was well worth driving all the way the previous day, and as exciting as it was to see the birds, I was equally glad to drive to meet Mick and Pete and have a birders chat along way from home - thanks guys.

My full Eremaea list can be found here


  1. A great morning, with two especially beautiful birds.

  2. A nice read Richard with some special birds, congratulations on the lifer! I've heard Hooded Parrot is difficult to find.