In 2005 Rene Ebersole, editor of Audubon Magazine wrote about Mike’s 5 day tour of the Mary River Wetlands and the Kakadu National Park in the July – August 2006 issue of the Audubon Magazine – The Original Oz. In 2005 Mike joined the Savannah Guide organization and completed several guiding educational and certification programs. This is a great organization for guides in the Northern part of Australia.
Also in 2005 the Gouldian Finches moved back into the territory close to Mary River Park. It was an amazing experience to take the visitors only a few kilometers to see up to 300 Gouldian Finches come on to drink from a small waterhole. Tours continued to this spot for up to 6 weeks that year and the following year. Many tourists became instant birdos with their first bird being a Gouldian Finch!
Great research was done on the Gouldian Finches by Dr Don Franklin of the Darwin University.
Another spectacular site was at Mamakula Wetlands in the Kakadu National Park. On one trip Mike decided to stop for a look and was rewarded with a sighting of about 800,000 Magpie Geese on the waterhole. The rangers were estimating the numbers using helicopters!
The annual Bird Week held at Mary River Park over these years provided many birdwatchers with amazing sightings and experiences in the area and provided us with ongoing friendships. The writers and photographers reporting over these years provided a snapshot of the experiences which make up the fabric of the history of this era.
2007, saw the end of the ‘hands on’ guiding era for Mike, with the shift back to Eastwood Farm near Gympie in Queensland. Our life is the richer for all the wonderful experiences shared with so many wonderful people over the years through our NT Bird Specialists business many of whom we now have as friends.
Luke Paterson joined the NT Bird Specialists team in 2007 and the bird story now becomes his!