RFI - Broom and the Kimberley's

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Subject: RFI - Broom and the Kimberley's
From: "Ricki Coughlan" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 20:01:57 +1000
Hi Peter
Just to state my interest from the outset, I'm the Warden of Broome Bird Observatory.
It's pretty easy right now to get Painted Finches near Gantheume Point, Broome.
Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens can be found along the banks of the Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossing Lodge in the mornings - walk down to the river bank between the two houses on stilts (you'll know them when you get there) and you'll find some huge old trees washed down in floods. Look among the roots of these trees, where they love to forage and along the adjacent banks of the river. Otherwise along the banks of the Fitzroy at Geikie Gorge. While you're at Fitzroy Crossing Lodge, look for the Barking Owls in the trees behind the safari hut area - often there "woof-woofing" at dusk, and check out the Star Finches near any sprinklers on the caravan park grounds in the mornings, especially out the back. Across the river from the Lodge is sometimes good for White-browed Robin. Have seen one only Ground Cuckoo-shrike at Fitzroy Crossing, in the bush opposite the Lodge.
You wont get Yellow Wagtails (all migrated to Asia) up here in June, but you will get Yellow Chats if you pop into the Broome Bird Observatory - tick it now, we'll show you later!
No Garganeys around Broome right now and no Little Ringed Plovers either (very rare and way out of season).
Derby sewage farm is easy access with specially constructed hides but I've not been there personally. Broome is very difficult. You can drive around it and mostly get good views but you need to do OH&S courses to enter (and more!) and can only do it with one or two tour groups in the area (including the Observatory).
I've had reports a few months ago of Pictorella Mannikins down the road from the BBO but not seen one personally.
Black-breasted Buzzards are pretty regular in the western Kimberley area generally, it's mostly knowing what to look for. Frequently with upswept wings - a bit like a Sea-Eagle, but has big white windows towards the wingtips. I only need Letter-winged Kite to complete my Aussie Raptor list, so call me if you see one up here!
Mornington Sanctuary, off the Gibb River Road is good for Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens and word from there right now is that there are zillions of Budgerigars breeding there. White-quilled Rock Pigeon is a bit of a goer in the Mornington area too. Otherwise, try Winjanna Gorge.
We haven't been getting the honeyeaters you're after around Broome, but have had Pied Honeyeaters, Black Honeyeaters, Banded Honeyeaters, White-fronted Honeyeaters and one Spiney-cheeked Honeyeater coming out of the deserts and arid regions for a feed or drink in recent months.
The details on where Red-browed Pardalotes can be found are a bit long winded but can give you leads if you pop in see me at the BBO, and you definitely should. Broome Bird Observatory is the best reason to come to Broome and is one of the great birding locations in Australia, if not the world. If you're not into waders before coming, you soon will be and even in this quieter time of the year these birds are amazing. Mention this ad and you'll even get a discount, but seriously, you'll never forget a day or two spent here. Roebuck Bay is among the most beautiful pieces (photogenic) of shoreline in Australia and, because the waders all roost at high tide on the northern shores of the bay they are perfectly lit from all our vantage points for photography. Indeed, the entire Kimberley is a photographer's dream.
Hopefully will see you when you get up here.
Happy Birding
Birds Australia
Broome Bird Observatory WA
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