We were in pursuit of a single bird (a little flock of birds, but all of the same species). We are running low(ish) on available life birds in the east, although if we seriously want a good year list we need to keep looking for everything. But yesterday morning we had one main goal, the Plum-headed Finch.
We left our caravan park just after 6am and headed toward Finch Hatton, a small town where a little flock had been reported at the show grounds five days ago. We arrived about 8 am and began walking and looking. We had some nice birds: Channel-billed Cuckoos, Barred Cuckoo-shrikes and Red-backed Fairy-wrens to name a few. And we soon found a nice flock of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins, but no Plum-headed Finches were hanging out with them.
|Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets on a cane train. Too beautiful. |
|Red-backed Fairy-wren hanging out by a cane field. |
|Chestnut-breasted Mannikins looking aloof.|
|Finches and Mannikins look as if they have been spilled onto the ground. These were all mannikins.|
We had high hopes. I mean the town is named, “Finch” Hatton! How could we dip? And I was wearing one of my PRBY apparel lucky VEFL t-shirts. I do have two of them. I wish I had kept count of the lifers I have gotten while wearing that shirt design (and other PRBY t-shirts). Way over 100 now and yes, I changed into it yesterday morning because we were looking for a lifer. But dip we did, at first…
|Down along the river searching the Elephant Grass for finches.|
It was just past noon as we decided to give up on Finch Hatton and start over toward Kinchant Dam where we were going to stay the night. We thought about having lunch first, but the pub in FH does not serve food on Tuesdays. Just as we were leaving town, I asked Lynn if she’d like to get a photo of the monument. The town’s namesake Finch Hatton was a relation of the Finch Hatton from the film “Out of Africa” and Lynn’s sister likes that film. It turned out that the monument was for fallen soldiers and not really about any of the Finch Hattans.
|If you look on the concrete on the right behind the monument you can see small birds. Yep, they be finches.|
However, as Lynn walked to the front of the monument, I noticed a small flock of little birds on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk! We had been walking, stumbling and sweating through several miles of excellent habitat (seeding elephant grass and other such finchy delights) and there on the damn sidewalk with a few Chestnut-breasted Mannikins, were Plum-headed Finches! I called to Lynn, “On the ground behind the monument!” And she got her initial life bird look bare-eyed. I got some photos and we watched them for a bit. Oh, I am grateful.
|Chestnut-breasted Mannikins AND Plum-headed Finches!!|
|Finch Girl in the shade in front of the train station just across from the monument.|
It looked as if someone had spilled a little bit of some sort of seed on the sidewalk. It was certainly not a spot where one would feed birds; there was just a little bit there on the concrete. How did it end up there? Why did I decide to ask Lynn if she wanted to stop? What if the pub had been open and we had eaten lunch. The whole experience of getting this life bird was surreal. I am very grateful.
We are now camped on the shore of Kinchant Dam (we have been here before)
in the caravan park. We had a lovely, simple Lifer Supper at the pub here with a gorgeous view overlooking the lake. The rustic atmosphere of this pub is delightful and we enjoyed our well-earned “Lifer Pie” treat meal. I am so grateful. Today we will move along south… not sure what we’re going to do, but I will keep y’all posted.
Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.