Broome Bird Observatory report Sunday December 5

Subject: Broome Bird Observatory report Sunday December 5
From: "Ricki Coughlan" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 14:19:39 +1100
Hi everyone
Here's the latest from Broome Bird Observatory:
Yesterday afternoon I had a small tour group (2 regular birders and 2 newbies) . We began with a visit to our observation platform which is located adjacent to the Observatory.
A good little mixed flock had formed right in front of us, consisting of:
Red-necked Stint 500+
Red-capped Plover 1000+
Greater Sand Plover 50+
Lesser Sand Plover 3
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Great Knot 3
Whimbrel 1
Terek Sandpiper 3
Curlew Sandpiper 5+
Grey Plover 2
Broad-billed Sandpiper 17
The best sighting, of course, was the Broad-bills. After carefully pointing out the diagnostic features of these birds we were all, even our beginners, soon engaged in a competition to spot the Broad-bill - great fun in a flock of 500 or more Red-necked Stints!
A quick journey around the bay and we got into some serious numbers. Nearby, we located some good roosts of several thousand birds, but on the distant mudflats we were able to observe many tens of thousands of waders foraging - a truly humbling and majestic sight. Now and again, huge flocks would take to the wing and perform breathtaking "school of fish" or "mexican wave" style patterns in the air, leaving us all grasping for superlatives. Unfortunately they were a little distant to identify individuals and this is understandable, given that the mudflats are twice the size of Sydney Harbour! Here's the list of what we could make out before us:
Great Knot 1000+
Bar-tailed Godwit 1500+
Grey Plover 300+
Ruddy Turnstone 8
Red Knot 20+
Common Sandpiper 1
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 20+
Pacific Golden Plover 1
Oriental Plover 5
Greater Sand Plover 50+
Red-capped Plover 500+
Red-necked Stint 100+
Striated Heron 2
Green Shank 20+
Black-winged Stilt 30+
Black-necked Stork 3
Caspian Tern2
Gull-billed Tern (macrotarsus) 20+
Whiskered Tern 20+
Crested Tern 11
Silver Gull 20+
Lesser Frigatebird 1
Brahminy Kite 2
White-bellied Sea-Eagle 3
Collared Sparrowhawk 2
Great Egret 2
Little Egret 1
Eastern Reef Egret (grey morph) 2
This was actually a slow day, as there are usually people wandering about on the bay on Sundays and the birds tend to find roosting sites elsewhere when this occurs. The magnificence of the bay and its avian inhabitants totally stole the hearts of our "punters" who declared themselves converts to birding. They especially loved the White-bellied Sea-Eagles which repeatedly soared and hovered just over our heads at a viewing site called "One Tree" (visitors will know this site is great for Sea-Eagles). Whilst marvelling at the display of aerial control as he remained "geostationary" in the breeze about 8 metres from us, we could also make out every detail of his beautiful eagle face, talons and plumage,  - a really lovely and unforgettable sight.
When the tour was wrapped up, I went for a private birding session in the Observatory grounds, I had the following sightings:
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo 4
Red-winged Parrot 4
Red-backed Fairy-wren 3
Variagated Fairy-wren 4
White-throated Gerygone 5
Northern Fantail 1
Willie Wagtail 3
Restless Flycatcher 2
Singing Honeyeater 10+
Red-throated Honeyeater 6
Brown Honeyeater 11
Mistletoe Bird 7
Peaceful Dove 20+
Bar-shouldered Dove 30+
Crested Pigeon 8
Double-barred Finch 8
Long-tailed Finch 20+
Great Bowerbird 10+
Torresian Crow 3
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike 6
Magpie-lark 2
Black-faced Woodswallow 1
Yellow White-eye 30+
Rainbow Bee eater 7
Grey-crowned Babbler 6
Grey Shrike-thrush 2
Rufous Whislter 1
Tree Martin 20+
Barn Swallow 10+
Brown Goshawk 3
Tawney Frogmouth 2 (nesting)
Just another wonderful day at Broome.
For a view of the bay and Observatory, visit
Happy Birding
Broome WA
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