Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gouldians et al In the Wild!

Recent readers here may not understand why ‘Gouldiae’.  A brief explanation occurs here.

I’ve not seen one ‘al fresco’ myself, so alas, this story is not mine, its Jim’s and I should tell you some things about Jim first.

The second time I met Jim – the first time is another story again – we were each in the avicultural game. We each kept Australian finches as our preferred species and we each liked large open natural aviaries with mixed birds rather than the small ‘cages’ that were common. We both now much prefer to get our ‘bird fix’ in the natural environment and neither of us has had aviaries for some time.

Jim is one of the best bird watchers I have had the pleasure of working with in the field. A testament to his ability is that on one trip to Gluepot in SA, Jim’s binoculars remained on his kitchen table back in Victoria. Each time we went on a sortie, he saw and correctly identified far more species than I.

I am always impressed by fellow birdwatchers who can separate a blue wren from a scrubby from a thornbill from a …, without seeing the bird. Jim’s sharp and accurate hearing is enviable. I have lost count of the number of times he has declared that some almost imperceptible change of habitat will produce this or that bird and suddenly, bingo, this or that bird will pop up on a nearby branch.

I digress. Back to Gouldians in the wild. Jim has recently returned from a long and eventful inland road trip with a card full of delightful images and I’ve twisted his arm to allow me to post some here. Mostly these birds were found on the roadside between the Victoria River Roadhouse and Timber Creek in the Northern Territory. The Gouldians were part of a flock of 60 birds which seems promising to me.
Gouldian Finch
Gouldian Finch: Threatened in the wild, abundant in aviaries.
Long-tailed Finch: Sometimes called the Blackheart Finch
Red-eared Firetail: An uncommon species restricted to a very limited range at the bottom of WA.
Masked Finch: A relatively common species of the 'top end'.

Jim assures me there was ‘a bird’ on top of this bit of rock. I can’t see it. I think he needs a longer lens!

Thanks James,


  1. Sounds like a great friend to go bush with. I hope my experiences get me to that level someday!

    These are beautiful photos. So kind of the Gouldian to pose in the open like that. Those Masked Finches may be common, but I wouldn't know I was looking at one if I saw it in the wild. Have to get out of SE QLD sometime! :)

  2. Nice post Gouldiae and good to see a collaborative effort. Look forward to catching up with Jim and hearing more about the road trip - excellent finch shots.

    Avithera (Lake Cargelligo)