Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Around Oz Part 6 - Gouldian Finch & Hooded Parrot

Gouldian Finch
While visiting Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park (see last post) I checked out a site detailed in the new guide book by Tim Dolby and Rohan Clarke as being good for Gouldian Finch and Hooded Parrot - two highly sort-after northern Australian endemics. The spot is a series of rock pools in a creek bed 5.6km down road to the Edith Falls campground from its junction with the Stuart Highway.

Hooded Parrot male

I drove back from the camp ground to the site (a distance of about 14km) early on two consecutive mornings. On the first morning I quickly found a small flock of Hooded Parrots perched, and shortly afterwards, a pair of Gouldian Finches in long grass near the creek bed.

Gouldian Finch

Over the next couple of hours I repeatedly saw both species. In all, I saw about 100 Gouldian Finches in flocks of up to 30 birds, 80% of which were juveniles; about the same proportion of adults were black-faced, the rest red-faced.
Site for finches-parrots on Edith Falls road

The finches often associated with the parrots; very often they were in the same tree and often they flew together - mixed flocks of Hooded Parrots and Gouldian Finches. I saw a total of about 60 Hooded Parrots.

Hooded Parrot male

Other finches about included Double-barred, Crimson, Long-tailed and Masked, although Gouldian was easily the commonest species.

Gouldian Finch with juveniles

The finches and parrots appeared to be flying in from the west to alight in trees and grasses near the rock-holes.

Hooded Parrot
On the second morning, I found the pickings more sparse. No birds were encountered along the stretch of creek bed - quite close to the road - where so many had been the previous day. I went further upstream and eventually found a mixed flock of 15 Hooded Parrots and 20 Gouldian Finches. Some of the finches were drinking at a rock pool. Again, the parrots and finches flew off together in a mixed flock. A couple of Brown Goshawks were also about, clearly on the look-out for these birds.

Juvenile male Hooded Parrot (upper) and female

After leaving Edith Falls we went to the town of Pine Creek to overnight in the aptly named Lazy Lizard Hotel Caravan Park.

 Pine Creek is famed for its Hooded Parrots and we saw several small groups around the town, but it was more satisfying to find them earlier out in the bush.

Masked Finch
 I was very pleased to have these encounters with two much-wanted birds; I had previously seen both species but only once in both cases - too many moons ago. 

1 comment:

  1. Great pics and post Greg. Looks like the same spot where I saw them (in similar numbers) in May last year. A park ranger tipped me off about this site and and I was thrilled with my first encounter with both of these special birds.