It had to happen eventually!

We have all been waiting for the rain to arrive and it seems to be later this Wet Season. The frogs must have been wondering what was going on, but now they are happy. It’s not “rain” here until we get over 10mm in a downpour, which has now officially happened and it looks like we have plenty more rain ahead. Of course it will still be 32c in the day and 29c at night, but it adds variety to all those bright blue skies that we have to endure the rest of the year!! The birding may well get interesting if we get some strong winds from the north….who knows what may show up!

Rain in Roebuck Bay at last!

The downside to big falls of rain are the restrictions to where we can get to. Many gravel roads will be closed and the only access will be on foot. Once everywhere is really flooded the birds will have so much choice they will disperse and be harder to find.

A gravel road before they close it!

We went for a walk and to look for some shorebirds on Thursday and the sky looked OK when we set off, but things can change fast this time of year. We were at Town Beach (in town) and had not gone far and the skies opened. We always carry a plastic bag for emergencies-drop camera, mobile phones, etc into it and wait. It is recommended you wear quick drying clothes as well…board shorts are ideal! It is interesting to watch shorebirds in these conditions as it takes fairly torrential rain before they stop feeding and tuck their bills under. The storm soon went around us and we carried on. Although the tides were not ideal for shorebird watching, due to them being neaps, we did have some rather nice species along the shoreline.

Common Greenshank

Pacific Golden Plover and Ruddy Turnstones

Did you see four Ruddy Turnstones in the first picture? They are really well camouflaged amongst the rocks, though their legs do tend to give them away! The Pacific Golden Plovers are still showing some nice colour as well. This is a good area for Ruddy Turnstones, Pacific Golden Plover and Grey Plover even on neap tides.

As I mentioned earlier, the Green Tree Frogs were awaiting the rain. Our garden has several watering points for the birds and this also encourages frogs, which provide us with not only noise during the Wet Season but tadpoles. Tadpoles eat mosquito larvae and we are all happy! We also save rain water to wash the house windows and to put in the car windscreen wash-the best water! These butts are very useful if you are a Green Tree Frog. There’s a lot of “hugging” going on…..

 

“Hugging” Green Tree Frogs

All of this results in a rather busy pond as we have at least 4 species of frog which use it during the Wet Season.

Frog spawn

It’s going to be an interesting few months ahead as far as weather goes, but don’t think a bit of rain is going to stop us getting out there and going birding! How bad could the roads get? If you are watching the “Dakar Rally” you know what a bad road can look like! We don’t have a support team when we go out, so we are rather more cautious than they are!

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Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!