79 species of bird were identified, constituting 33 seabirds, 23 shorebirds, 5
waterbirds, 2 raptors and 16 landbirds.
Whilst at sea a continuous log of position and faunal observations was recorded
on 'Palm pilots' and for the most part, also manually.
At-sea highlights included:
Bulwer's Petrel: A total of 103. This is the highest number ever recorded on an
Ashmore cruise. Since the species has been recorded on all 14 KBW Ashmore
cruises, such numbers and regularity make nonsense of this species oft
published status as a vagrant to Australia.
Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel: 5 seen well and photographed responding to berley ~75
km from Broome on 20 Oct.
Matsudaira's Storm-Petrel: 9 seen well and photographed attracted to berley on
Terns and Noddies: Dense masses of terns (mostly Roseate but also Common,
White-winged Black and Bridled) and Common Noddies were observed in feeding
frenzies over surfacing Tuna just north of the Lacepede Islands. Whilst we
routinely observe feeding aggregations on these trips being able to 'park-up'
next to a mixed seabird flock that exceeded 5000 individuals was an experience
not to be forgotten.
On-land seabird highlights:
Lesser Noddy: Up to 10 on East Island. Photographs were obtained of all three
Noddy species together, a feat probably not possible anywhere else in the
Roseate Tern: 34,000 roosting in the lagoon at the Lacepedes was a magnificent
spectacle especially when huge numbers took flight simultaneously! This is the
largest single aggregation ever reported in Australia and suggests the global
population estimate of 55,000 in HANZAB may be an underestimate.
Landbird highlights on West Island, Ashmore, were:
Middendorff's Warbler: One daily.
Island Monarch: 1 adult on 25 Oct.
Grey Wagtail: 1 on 25 Oct.
Collared Kingfisher: 1 (3rd record) of the nominate race (Indonesian origin) on
Ashy-bellied White-eye: 1, also of Indonesian origin, daily.
Brown Goshawk: 1 daily but 3 on 25 Oct.
Nankeen Kestrel: 1 daily. This follows observations of 8 here in April this
Oriental Cuckoo: 1-6 daily.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail: 1-5 daily and 3 on East Island on 24 Oct.
Barn Swallow: 1 on 22 Oct and another on 24 Oct.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow: 2 daily.
The usual local tropical seabirds, Masked, Red-footed & Brown Boobies, Great &
Lesser Frigatebirds, Common & Black Noddies, Bridled, Sooty, Crested, Lesser
Crested Terns, as well as White-winged Black, Common and Little Terns were
seen. The first ten of these had bred or were nesting on Middle or/& East
Islands, Ashmore. Many of these and Lesser Crested Terns were also nesting on
the Lacepedes. On West Island, Ashmore, there were 4 Red-tailed Tropicbird
nests and 3 White-tailed Tropicbirds were prospecting.
Other migrant Seabirds of note included Tahiti Petrels (16), Streaked
Shearwater (68), Flesh-footed Shearwater (3), Hutton's Shearwater (86),
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (35) & Pomarine Jaeger (1).
Cetaceans of 8 species, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Risso's
Dolphin, Common Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Indo-Pacific Bottle-nosed Dolphin,
Rough-toothed Dolphin, Long-snouted Spinner Dolphin (both larger offshore
animals and near Broome, dwarf inshore animals) and Fraser's Dolphin provided
great entertainment at various times. At least 3 species rode our bow wave
(including Spinner Dolphins that stayed with the vessel for over 1.5 nautical
miles) and all species were seen well enough to be photographed.
Reptiles included Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Australian Flatback Turtles
and various sea snakes.
Flying-fish and rays, including Manta's, were also welcome sights.
Photos of many of the species mentioned above have or will be posted on
Several persons have already booked for the 2013 spring cruise and others with
an interest in attending should register with George Swann at Kimberley
Birdwatching, Rohan Clarke or Mike Carter.
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza VIC 3930
Tel (03) 9787 7136
To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)