Peering over the fence at the “Poo Ponds”
It may surprise some of you that we could get so excited about Poo Ponds here in Australia, but they are some of the best places to observe birds! Poo Ponds you ask….what do you mean?! Well it is where all of our water goes when we flush the toilet and take a shower. Now, these are not smelly places and the birds just love the settling ponds. If you are flying into a town, with a lot of arid country around, you need to look out of the plane’s window and establish where these ponds are….the Tourist office will not know! We have come across towns that have excellent views into their ponds, but generally it requires you to stand on the edge of your car and look in. Several people in Broome have dents in the roof of their cars after the Semipalmated Plover showed up at the Poo Ponds…a first for Australia…and they just needed better views! At present we have good numbers of Australian Pelican and several Black Swan and Royal Spoonbill.
The most common duck we have at the ponds are Plumed Whistling Ducks and they are in the hundreds for most of the year. They can often be seen at the Golf Course next door on the lovely green grass. The water from the ponds is used to maintain the greens, so it is not wasted.
Even Barn Swallows take advantage of the cables around the ponds and all line up to rest.
One of the best things you can come across are Swinhoe’s Snipe and they have just returned to Broome from the north. There were up to fourteen here last year at this one location. You can get ridiculously close to them as you drive around the perimeter fence, but you have no chance if you walk! Cars really do make excellent bird hides in certain situations.
A lot of birds visit the Poo Ponds each day as their supply of water and the Zebra Finch is the most common of the finches at present. It does not take long on any visit to the ponds to notch up a decent list of species and we would recommend visiting Poo Ponds to any keen bird watcher.