Wader Departures

To: <>
Subject: Wader Departures
From: "Phil Joy" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 18:11:27 +0800
Hallo to all,
                  If you really want to relax and unwind now is the time to
start planning your visit to Broome, Western Australia,  to witness the
gathering and the departure of huge flocks of shorebirds as they head for
their Arctic Circle breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere, a journey
of some 10,000 kilometres.

This could be you!!

It is 4pm the sun is getting lower in the cool of the evening, there's just
a short five minute walk from your air-conditioned accommodation or the
legendary Shadehouse at the Broome Bird Observatory through birdcall filled
pindan woodland down to the colourful, red cliff backed, sandy shores of
Roebuck Bay, where over 300,000 birds of up to 19 different species feed and
build up their fat reserves for their epic annual journey north to breed.
With a tidal rise and fall of some 10 metres, ( that is ten metres) the
shores of Roebuck Bay surround tidal mud flats, rich in benthic organisms on
which the shorebirds feed.  The mudflats cover an area the size of Sydney

So come and sit on your stool on the beach at the end of the relaxing day,
sit behind the scopes the BBO supplies or watch through the binoculars as
the birds gather to depart, sometimes in their flocks of hundreds, they form
into their spectacular echelons or V formations as they test the wind and
when the conditions are just right for them, away they go, sometimes
directly over the heads of the observers, and away to the  north.

Usually the Eastern Curlew, the largest of the migratory waders, are the
first to go, starting sometime in March. Sociable within their species the
Curlews remain apart from other waders and travel separately. With their sad
and haunting calls to each other echoing across Roebuck Bay they depart in
flocks of 30 or 40. The sound of their calls are truly unforgettable, as
they pass over the BBO, sometimes after night fall. Their slow and
deliberate wing beats carry them fast and high, calling as they go, away to
the Northern Hemisphere, to their breeding grounds on the swampy marshes of
Eastern Siberia and Northern Mongolia.

That is just one species, there is still eighteen to go.  So come and share
with us in the spectacle of peak shorebird migration.
Bird identification is made easy as the waders depart the shores of Roebuck
Bay in vibrant breeding
Your observing is enhanced as you learn about all aspects of shorebird I.D.,
ecology and conservation along with visits to the top birding sites around

There are some vacancies on both of the courses at the moment so don't

The first course runs from 22nd March to 26th March and the second commences
on the 21st April and finishes on the 25th April.

 For further information contact the BBO on Tel. 61 08 9193 5600, fax 61 08
 9192 3364 or Email 

 The Broome Bird Observatory is a self funded, not for profit, educational,
 research and conservation facility run by Birds Australia.

Phil Joy
PO Box 1510
W A   6725
Visit Broome Bird Observatory online at:-

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