Broome Trip, October

To: "" <>, Broome Bird Observatory <>
Subject: Broome Trip, October
From: Jennifer Spry <>
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 14:32:49 +1100
Hi all and thanks to those who gave me suggestions for Broome.

Sadly, we did not get up into the Kimberley far enough to find any Black
Grasswrens but the trip was spectacular anyway with the hills and gorges
of the Kimberley and the Pindan plains and Indian Ocean around Broome as
a backdrop to two weeks of birdwatching.

The other good thing about a birding trip at the end of October and
early November was that the tourist had left and we had the whole place
to ourselves. The Sandstone Shrike-thrush sang for just four of us as we
swam at Dillie Gorge. And no one interrupted our views of the
Purple-crowned Fairy Wrens at Old Mornington. Even the weather was good
with low humidity and hot days.

Highlights? Well obviously the Long-toed Stint at Like Eda, the Asian
Dowitcher at the observatory and the Purple-crowned Fairy Wrens and
White-browed Robins at Old Mornington Station, but also the sheer number
of birds.

At lake Eda we watched as close to 600 Brolga fed and, occasionally,
danced for us. At a bore beside the road into Broome we watched as a
flock of some 200 to 300 Red-tailed Black Cockatoos came down to drink.
Of course there was also the moving grey mat of waders along the beach
at the Observatory in numbers too great to even contemplate counting in
2 weeks.

To top the quantity/quality list though was our trip out to Kidney Bean
Swamp looking for Yellow Chats. There were none at the dry swamp but as
we drove on south looking for some Flock Pigeons that had been reported
we found the Chats. First a dozen or so and then more and more. Over 2
or 3 kilometres we saw, conservatively, over 120 birds. One flock alone,
that sat to be counted at a bore, had 34 birds in it. We southerners
even got into trouble at the bird report one night for declaring, tongue
well in cheek, that the Spotted Harrier was our "trash bird" of the trip
because it was so common.

Even dinner in town was an event as many hundreds of Plumed Whistling
Ducks flew across town beach heading for an evenings feeding.

The trip had an auspicious start to it too. While waiting for our plane
at Alice Springs on the way up we found a Western Bowerbird in the trees
at the pond in the middle of the carpark.

The trip was so good I can almost accept that we are missing the Grey
Wagtail that is there now.


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