road kills; Gouldian finches

To: "birding Aus" <>
Subject: road kills; Gouldian finches
From: Goodfellow <>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 00 08:28:08 +0000
A few years ago while returning from Kakadu in the dead of night, I saw a 
tour bus deliberately run over a 4 m. olive python.  

I was following in another bus.  We driving along a straight stretch of 
the Arnhem Highway when I saw this driver veer to the  right hand side of 
the road and then return to the left.  I stopped as soon as I saw the 

It was still alive so as carefully as I could (a 4 m. python is very 
hevy) I strapped its crushed ribs and loaded it into my (empty) bus.  
Unfortunately by the time I found a suitable vet the snake was dead.

Repeating the tale at that time to other tour operators (and also some 
Australian tourists) I was horrified to hear that they had no sympathy 
for the snake and in many cases would have done the same as that other 

Re John Reidy's posting on Gouldian Finches - I've found Fergusson River 
to be more reliable than any other spot (including Chinaman's Creek etc 
in my18 years guiding, and 3 years in the area researching Gouldian Finch 
habitat).  But over the last couple of years numbers have been down 
considerably.  Whereupon before I would see flocks of dozens, now only 
the odd bird or two or three appears.  I suspect that increased rainfall 
is a major reason - ephemeral pools in the nearby Yinberrie Hills are not 
drying up and so the birds aren't having to move far.  I suspect that 
rainfall may also be affecting other birds such as White-throated 
Grasswren which are usually much easier to see at this time of the year.

I've just returned from Wild Plains Cattle Station, on the Mary River.  
Apart from the 59 Black-necked Stork we counted while having lunch on the 
verandah, and thousands of other birds,  I spotted several White-browed 
and a couple of Baillon's crakes.  Unfortunately the wetlands are not 
accessible by foot and I couldn't get out early in the day, but will be 
going back to explore further later in the year.


Denise Goodfellow (Lawungkurr Maralngurra)
Specialist Guide
Ph/fax 08 89818492
PO Box 39373

Parap Bookshop
2ndhand and new books
08 89813922

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