Well known outdoor author and photographer Dick Eussen says the endangered Gouldian finch is flourishing in some areas.
Ornothologists come from around the world to see Australia’s most colourful bird in the Katherine region.
Earlier this month Mr Eussen was in the Daly Waters area and saw large flocks of the finches, as many as 300.
“We saw a rare Red Goshawk at the Bullwaddy Conservation Reserve,” he said.
“There was a lot of wildlife along the Carpentaria and Tableland highways, because graziers do not burn as they need the grass for their cattle in the dry season.
“Unlike the Top End were early seasonal burning is killing off breeding birds, namely doves, pigeons, finches and quail.”
Mr Eussen said a kilometre before the Broadmere Station turn-off, several hundred kilometres east of Daly Waters, he saw the first flock of Gouldian finches.
“They were feeding on burned shoots of new grass growing on the nature strips along the road that serve as fire breaks to ensure that road side fires don’t get going.
“We saw many small flocks and one large flock of about 200 or more Gouldians.
“The sightings lasted until Little River. In all we saw some 300 odd Gouldians and many long-tailed finches as well and other birds.
“Of note this is the first time I have see Gouldian finches on the Carpentaria Highway and I have travelled on it many times since 1974,” Mr Eussen said.
“Just as an added interest is the rest area on top of the Favenc Range jump-up, where it drops into the Little River basin. There is a water tank that used to be kept full but the tap is broken.
“People always watered the birds there.
“They were still about and I poured some water into a container. I was almost knocked over by yellow tinted honey eaters and some long-tailed finches that swamped the container in numbers.”