One of the target bird species for birders when they visit the Broome area is Yellow Chat. They are relatively easy to find year round and sometimes you are lucky when they pose for you. Some years we encounter Crimson Chats around Broome too and even less rare is the Orange Chat. The last record of an Orange Chat in the Broome area was in 2006. We have encountered Orange Chats before in Western Australia, but also in the Northern Territory at the Tennant Creek Poo Ponds. There were several Orange Chats when we visited the Lake Bindegolly National Park in Queensland too.

Last weekend we were lucky enough to observe a splendid male Orange Chat close to Broome where we have been observing Yellow Chats in recent weeks. The Orange Chat is actually in the header photo, but due to the distance it may not be instantly clear where it is.

Orange Chat

The Orange Chat was moving through the dry mud and the grass as we sat and watched. The colour on this bird species is incredible and not easily hidden in the environment. The Orange Chat was clearly feeding on insects and taking advantage of the cow pats in the area. For scale I will include some photographs of the Orange Chat with other bird species.

Orange Chat and Black-fronted Dotterel

The Yellow Chat is much harder to see in this landscape and blends well into its surroundings. There is a Yellow Chat in both of the photos below to the right of the Orange Chat.

Orange Chat, Yellow Chat and Magpie-larks

Orange Chat and Yellow Chat

I was able to take a few more photographs as the Orange Chat fed and before there was too much heat haze.

Orange Chat-male

It always seems odd when only one of a bird species shows up. A few days later another individual Orange Chat showed up, which was female or immature at a nearby ephemeral lake. We have had some very strong winds recently and there may well be other bird species blown off course, so we will have to keep an eye out!

It is comforting to know that whilst we are still restricted on where we can travel there is no limit to the movements of birds around the state, country and world!

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!