I recently drove the 2540km over to the west coast
to participate in the 5 day Bird week at the Broome Bird
It was well worth the trip (in spite of the 680km
gravel road shortcut from Dunmarra N.T. to Halls Creek W.A. via Top Springs
Warden Joy Tansey and assistants Emma, Inka and
Megan took us to the main locations in the Broome area. They made sure we all
got good views of 147species. (& I got another 3 with two fellow Bird
Week participants just before they left for the airport ) No way
could I have found the local specials by myself in the available
time. The catering was excellent. As a bonus
we were able to see banders Perry & Alma de Reberia from Perth in action.
The number of participants was fewer than I
expected, especially now that Virgin are servicing Broome. I can thoroughly
recommend the Birdweek but expect some very full days. We frequently
started soon after the 5.15am dawn and one evening after dinner we did a
night spotlighting drive. And two gluttons for punishment left immediately to
join tour leader George Swann for the Kimberley bird
The memory of being lead through 35cm of gooey grey mud to get to
the Redshank viewing location will stay with me for ever.
Believe it or not, but the Bird of the week was a
roosting Barking Owl ... in spite of seeing the
Redshank, Beach Stone-curlew, Lesser
Frigate-bird, Asian Dowitcher, Dusky
Gerygone, Mangrove Gerygone, Broad-billed Flycatcher
& 100s of Little Curlews. Not forgetting the
Oriental Plovers leading Laurie Living's wish list and all the
One of the many Jabirus on the mud
flats playing around with a Sea Snake was of interest to us all.
Unfortunately major reconstruction of the Broome
Sewage Ponds is in progress so we had to to look through the fence at the birds
which included several 1000 Plumed Whistling-ducks. But the 5
Barn Swallows present gave me a tick.
Broome (permanent pop 14000) is now the Port
Douglas of the West coast and unrecognisable from my first visit +40 years
They even have a man following the tourist
camels at Cable Beach with a brush & pan ! At night the last Camel has
a flashing red tail-light !!
I also visited the Derby Sewage Ponds which has a
newly constructed architect designed reed-filled overflow ponds where I got
reasonable photos of an Oriental Plover.The main ponds have a
high observation platform. Top marks to Derby Council !
The overflow from the Cattle trough next the big
Boab prison tree on the Derby road kept me occupied for 2
What I did learn was that Waders do not return to
the northern hemisphere breeding grounds in their 1st year. Thus waders are
viewable all year at Broome. This is different from my inland home where 4
species have only recently appeared.
Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW
ps On my return back at the Isa I heard my 1st
Common Koel for the season
For more Broome information see
Frank O'Connor's "Broome Birding
Frank O'Connor's "Derby Birding
Broome Bird Observatory
Turnstone Nature Discovery