And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Broome Waders

Broome is the best place to see migratory waders in Western Australia, if not the whole of Australia. Recently my cousin Fred and I went for a quick trip to see what new birds we could find, including stories of a rare vagrant Semipalmated Plover the had been seen at the Broome sewage ponds.

Roebuck Bay at the Broome Bird Observatory. The rising tide forces the waders into groups along the shore, often forming huge grey masses in the small sandy bays.

Waders even in large groups are sometimes hard to see among the areas of scattered grey rocks on the seashore.

When high tide hits, which can be over 11 metres, many smaller wader species are forced to shelter on many of the bigger rock islands. This group contained large numbers of Great and Red Knots, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, Curlew Sandpipers and Grey-tailed Tattlers, as well as Broad-billed Sandpipers, Grey and Pacific Golden Plovers.

At high tide Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits formed huge groups before flying off to other feeding locations.

Other waders such as Whimbrels, Great and Red Knots also formed their own groups before flying to other areas.

Black-tailed Godwits flying at high tide.

The huge Eastern Curlews dwarf even the larger waders such as Bar-tailed Godwits.

A small wetland north of Broome towards Derby, had a pair of delicate Marsh Sandpipers.

The best view we could get of the Semipalmated Plover at the Broome sewage ponds, was stand on the back of the car and look through a high security fence. The Semipalmated tended to hang around with Black-fronted Dotterels, such as the one on the right.

One of the more common waders of the Broome area, Greater Sand Plover.

 Another of the more common waders, a beautiful Grey-tailed Tattler.

All in all it turned to be a great trip with us seeing a total of 125 species in the Broome/Derby area in five days. Fred supplied all the photos while I took video, which I still have to edit, but that will have to wait as I have another fauna survey in the far north at Koolan Island waiting for me.


yen said...

so many of them, is the season just starting or ending?

Wilma said...

Kudos to the photographer!

S.C.E. said...

Great stuff. Those same birds were in my neck of the woods only a few months ago......

Nice to know waders get nice winter breaks down under.......

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

11m tide - wow! I thought our 10.3 later this week was going to be big.
Love to get back to WA - only be down to forests of SW corner and Shark Bay so far.


Davo said...

Good shots!! Gran blog!!


Nigel Jackett said...

Great post Richard, glad you got to see the Semipalm.