The annual migration of the waders commenced last
week, with many Eastern Curlews now making their way north to Siberia. They
gather each evening and are extremely vocal and then, once the stars come out,
they depart in numbers of around 20 or 30 at a time, flying directly over the
Broome Bird Observatory. Amazingly, they will arrive at their first stop in
three days: the Yellow Sea, where our friends enjoy a brief Chinese meal and a
snooze or two before continuing on to their breeding grounds. If watching
this magic take place doesn't give you goosebumps and bring a tear to your
eye, then you're not a nature lover.
We're awaiting the departure of the Great Knots too
at the moment, but none appear to have left so far. In truth, they are all
looking so fat now that I feel they'll need to go on a diet before attempting to
depart! (jokes aside, this sometimes actually does happen!)
All along Roebuck Bay, tens of thousands of waders
are gathered in their stunning breeding plumage, creating a most festive sight.
However, the increasing abundance of Asian Dowitchers has also created
excitement for us, with sightings on every outing to the bay of late.
Broad-billed Sandpipers remain quite common, as do Lesser Sand Plovers, which
are looking totally gorgeous in their breeding finery.
Off the beaches, I've had sighting of Pied
Honeyeaters, another extreme rarity for Broome; the Spiney-cheeked Honeyeater
(only third sighting for Broome) and even Budgerigars. We've also had reports of
Black Honeyeaters, Pictorella Mannikins and Banded Honeyeaters. Sightings
of Red-rumped Swallows also continue. With the total failure of the wet season
this year we expect to see a continuing influx of rarities and are keeping a
keen eye on our already overcrowded bird baths here for vagrants and
A family of Collared Sparrowhawks has also moved
into the Bird Observatory precincts in recent days, with the juvenile taking a
fancy to branch less than two metres from my bedroom window. Everywhere you look
at the moment is another fantastic bird story.
If you're not in Broome today, try and be happy