RTP / SPP at Broome

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Subject: RTP / SPP at Broome
From: "Frank O\"Connor" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:32:29 +0800

I have just been to Broome to twitch the Red-throated Pipit. I arrived at lunch time on Monday. It had rained and it soon opened up again. 40mm. The rain finally let up after 15:30. The Father McMahon / Joseph "Nipper" Roe Sports Ovals near the water centre were sodden. No wagtails. No pipits. Still none at 17:00. Had the rain moved all the wagtails / pipits on? There were two snipe on Father McMahon oval. There was a Green-headed Yellow Wagtail at the sewage works. And about 30 Barn Swallows over the junction of Clementson and Frederick Streets.

I was there again at 05:30 today (Tuesday). Still nothing. The Silver Gulls and a few Australian White Ibis were having a feast on the large numbers of grasshoppers on the oval. I was feeling very pessimistic. Should have come last week!! But I had been preparing for the WA Twitchathon.

Another visit at 08:30. Still nothing. But I thought I heard a wagtail call somewhere. I walked over to look on the Joseph "Nipper" Roe field. Nothing. Then I saw two Eastern Yellow Wagtails on the Father McMahon field that must have just come in. And then I saw a bird land at the far end of the Joseph "Nipper" Roe field. And there in the scope was the Red-throated Pipit. I looked at it very quickly and called George Swann. By the time I had hung up very soon after, the bird was nowhere to be found. George and I looked around for nearly an hour but no luck. A third Eastern Yellow Wagtail had arrived and two Australasian Pipits.

Another look at 10:30.  Still only the 3 EYWs and the two APs.

Another look at 12:30. Bingo!!! There it was at the far end of Father McMahon oval. A quick call to George and we both observed it for nearly an hour and a half. It moved a number of times between the two ovals. A tractor came to mow the field a day early, so we departed. The Black Kites were now feasting on the grasshoppers.

A comment from George that the Semipalmated Plover was still at Demco Reserve was interesting. I had never been there or even heard of the reserve. George gave me rough directions. It was 2pm and I was hungry so I decided to have lunch. After lunch I thought what the hell, and went looking for Demco Reserve. George's instructions were spot on. Just before the Broome end of Clementson Street there is a unsigned sealed road. Follow it to the end to a parking area. A quick call to George who said look for it on the black rock to the left, usually where some gulls roost. The tide was perfect. An easy walk along the flat rocks for less than 200 metres. Up with the scope and there it was almost exactly where George had said. I had twitched the Semipalmated Plover back in January, but I had only had a poor fleeting view at the sewage works. Here it was in full scope view for as long as you wanted.

Many thanks to George Swann for keeping me informed, and for the suggestion to visit Demco Reserve.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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