Finch City - Finch Fizzer
or Birding with a Tyro
Noon Tuesday July 21 Junior Brat brought home Alicia, a CIT classmate. "Don’t
dare call her Alice, and she’s never been birding," Samantha announced. "OK,
let’s take Alice birding," I said.
We’ll go to Finch City or whatever they call it," Junior said. "That’s a
formidable venue for me these days,"I warned. "Don’t matter, we’re very patient
and understanding," and they were.
Walked for what seemed like 40 country miles and not a doggoned finch any
"Oh, I hope we find some, I love finches," Alice … I mean Alicia chirped.
"What’s your favourite one?," I asked. "Dunno, I don’t know the names of any of
Five Brown Quail flushed five metres away. Everyone was startled and
thrilled, crept forward and glassed them as they landed for three minutes before
they scrambled again. A group of little winged things took off, flashing
what looked like yellow anti-collision paint on their tailplanes.
"Finches?," Alicia asked. "No, Yellow-rumped Thornbills," I said.
"Yellow-rumped Thornbirds(sic)," she wrote in her notebook and was gently
Alicia was first to see the hovering kestrel. "What’s that little hawk
thing?" "A Nankeen Kestrel," I told her." Junior chipped in, "According to
The Oxford Dictionary of British Bird Names other former common English
names for kestrels were Wind Hover,Wind Fanner and Wind Hawk," I held my breath
hoping the risqué brat would not reel off all the vernaculars following the
entry ‘Wind Hover’ cited in that erstwhile publication. She didn’t and so
avoided a clip over the ears.
"Ta-dah!!" she yelled" "At last finches!" And there, browsing in tall,
dead woody weeds was a charm of ten European Goldfinches. "Knew they
weren’t Australian ones, much too colourful (!). " Alicia said. A male
Flame Robin, perched on a fence, lived up to its name positively
glowing in the afternoon winter sun. "There's some Aussie avian colour for
you," I said. Alicia was rapt, but when told it was an altitudinal
migrant she said she never realised Australian birds ever migrated anywhere.
This kid has much to learn.
A Wedge-tailed Eagle soared about a kilometre away as the enthralled young
things watched through binos for 5 minutes until it drew out of sight. On
the drive home Alicia asked 999 questions ending with the old perennials,
"What’s the best field guide to get? And, "Where can I buy good bargain-priced
binoculars?" This kid has much promise. John