Last Sunday we went for a short drive to the east of Broome to see if we could find some sunshine! The rain has been great for the land and everywhere is turning green. You do need to be careful of cattle wandering across the highway, as the grass always looks greener on the other side! You must also be careful to not go off the edge of the highway, as you risk getting bogged. The puddles right against the highway had Glossy Ibis on them and they were unconcerned about the traffic-though there really isn’t much in the outback!

We were driving along slowly when I observed something out of the corner of my eye on the ground and then saw feathers going into a hollow in a Melaleuca tree. We had both seen it go into the hollow and decided to go and investigate from a distance to see what it was. When we looked through our binoculars we could see that whatever it was had turned and was facing us. I had my camera ready as we had no idea what was watching as we approached.

The hollow in the melaleuca that we saw the feathers go in

Before we knew it the bird had popped it’s sleepy head out to see what was going on. It had quite possibly not come across a human being in this remote part of Australia and these birds are generally only seen at night-if at all. Here we had an Australian Owlet-nightjar!

Australian Owlet-nightjar in a hollow

We were fairly distant and watching and taking a few photos and Grant suddenly told me not to move as he didn’t know what was about to happen. A goanna (small lizard) had also decided that the hollow looked good and was approaching from the back of the hollow. We waited to see what would happen-the bird flew straight at us! It then landed in a tree next to us and I had to refocus the camera fast and take advantage of such an unusual situation. What a treat!

A very cute and sleepy Australian Owlet-nightjar

Until this day we had only seen them at night chasing insects with the light of the moon and always fleeting glimpses. This was a real treat. It stayed in the tree for a few minutes and then flew down in amongst the trees to find a new place to relax for the day!

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!