EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis)

For the first time this year, I spotted a European Goldfinch in my Japanese Maple tree last Friday.

( I say MY Japanese Maple because it’s spreading its brilliant lush green foliage in front of my balcony, as opposed to the other Japanese Maple growing next to the front door of my apartment building).


I’d been spring cleaning some kitchen cupboards and decided it was time for a rest and briefly sat down at my desk in front of the lounge windows mid Friday afternoon.

I saw a splash of colour and something like 3-4 red-headed birds flew from my tree off to the Eucalyptus saplings further down the row of apartment balconies.

S&$#!  I missed them I thought to myself.  They had to be European Goldfinches and the first of this season.  What was worse, with no intention of doing any photography that day, the cameras were tucked up in their soft pouches on the floor beside my desk.

Then I spotted it.

One remaining European Goldfinch was bouncing up and down on an awkward flimsy branch in the wind – just like a small child bouncing on a trampoline.  It was in the worst possible location for a clear photo from where I was sitting.


Could I bend sideways and pick the long telephoto lens up without the movement frightening the bird?

The birds that land on my balcony are usually pretty skittish and except for the House Sparrows, which are getting more used to my presence, they fly away very quickly if I make the slightest movement from my desk chair.

I raised the heavy lens very slowly and took the lens cap off.

Snap! I’d caught the bird within the frame before it suddenly flew off.

I turned the computer on and downloaded the shot and despite it being a poor one, with door frame, dirty window and so on, I finally decided to share it this morning.  I’ve cropped off the blurred left side of the image (above) and the right side (which was just black door frame) and ended up with a portrait sized photo (instead of the original landscape size).

To show newcomers to my nature blog which bird I’m talking about, here’s a couple of images I took last year when the tree was bare-limbed.  I’m sure I’ve got some better photos somewhere but my photo library is a mess and I can’t find them.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for future Goldfinch visitors now.

It’s getting to be a really exciting time of year bird-wise and I think I’ll pull some images out of Sept/Oct 2017 to share in the coming week.

NOTE: I dropped into the camera store located in the local large shopping centre (500 shops) last week and asked them about the broken inner ring from between my telephoto lens glass and the screw threads and they said they couldn’t tell me if it was going to be a problem as they were only sales staff.

Duh!  Now if that my Michaels Camera Store in the city (of Melbourne), which only has one branch and has been operating since 1916, (and where I bought all my camera gear), they would have been able to tell me pretty much anything, let alone going up to the repair department located on the 1st Floor of the building.  I’ve checked out a few photography forums to no avail.

Anyway, with no other reason to go into the city centre in the near future, and a change of bus routes of the 3 buses which do go into the city centre, it might be a long time before I go to Melbourne.

In the grand scheme of my life, while the city is only about 10-11 kms away as the crow flies, I am now fully immersed in the western suburbs.

Previous to this apartment, my homes have always been about 2 kilometres from the city centre and even within walking distance.

The new underground rail link and 5 new railway stations in the city may be a boon for many city travellers going from the north of the city to the southern suburbs, but I’m on the wrong side of the Maribyrnong River to make any use of it.

I’m too far west.

For those interested, every single high-rise office/apartment block and suburban residence you can see in the image below (taken a couple of weeks ago), was built since I was born – gosh, do I feel old 🙂  You can also see in this image, that many of the new houses and apartment blocks are built on the slopes of the river valley, first explored in 1803 by the early settlers.  Remember that Melbourne, the world’s most liveable city for the 7th year in a row, was only built/settled in 1835 and is what I’d call a Very Young City indeed!

12 thoughts on “EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis)

    1. Inner city living is convenient when you’re working all week and often overtime, but now I’m (prematurely) retired, I need fresh air and green space permanently. While I do need to be near medical facilities and hospitals with my health conditions, I’ve always been very lucky in apartment locations.
      If I didn’t have serious health problems, I’ve love to live in the country. But then if I was healthy I’d still be working in an inner city office and not able to enjoy so much of the local bird life 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The suburbs make it easy to go toward the city for shopping and Medical appointments while still being able to go away from the city for a country setting. I work downtown, using mass transit, and live in the suburbs. I get it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s a nice overview, Vicki, even though it must hurt you to know that all this urban growth has replaced wild nature and animals. I like the Japanese Maple, and a European Goldfinch is always a treat. So colorful!
    Happy Sunday to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tanja. I find the inner city high rise apartment buildings a bit scary to be honest. I’ve seen too many building fire movies and the impossible task trying to get down the fire exit. I even had a problem with the previous 3rd floor apartment and had to leave. Here, on the first floor, the distance to ‘escape’ is much better.

      What i find even more distressing is that many of those high-rise apartments are empty and we have some 34,000 homeless in my state of Victoria.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully I’ll see some more in the coming days, Terry. Now I know they’re ‘in town’, I’ll be looking for their red heads.

      This Spring, that Japanese Maple is so lush with foliage. The last two years it was still pretty sparse. I need to give the glass balcony fence a really good clean so I can try for some photos of the birds in the depths of the tree. I’ve seen plenty, but nearly all my images are soft when shot through the thick glass.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My first thought was how different your bird is from our goldfinches. Then, I saw the tail, and it was immediately recognizable. That’s really quite a splendid combination of colors on such a little bird. I’d be excited to have them around my place, too!

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    1. I think ours is a ‘refugee’ from Europe some time in the past. I believe it, along with House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Robins and other common birds, are all non-indigenous. Foxes (English), rabbits are other small critters were brought out by the early settlers too.


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