Finally the weather has changed! For months and months we have had to wait patiently for rain. All of the ephemeral lakes have been drying out fast and the land was very dry. The wet season has now started and so far this week it has been perfect. A tropical low was heading towards the coast and it was not likely to turn into a cyclone. Torrential rain without strong winds is perfect. The ground soaks it all up & the trees stay standing upright.

When there are tropical lows heading for Broome one of the best places to go birding is Entrance Point at the Port of Broome. It is ideal, because it is a bitumen road all the way and you can watch the weather approaching from all sides. You also hope to observe a few birds that you may not see at other times of year. Greeting us this week were two Silver Gulls in the car park. They were trying to attract our attention, but we had other birds on our minds!

Silver Gulls talking about something!

We then noticed a Brown Booby that had obviously given up fighting the weather. It had perched itself on a rock to wait for the wind to subside. This was a much calmer option than the offshore buoys that they often use to rest on during calmer weather.

There was a lone Black-winged Stilt amongst the terns on the beach. Caspian terns, Roseate Terns, Little Terns, Crested Terns, Lesser Crested Terns, Whiskered Terns and Gull-billed Terns were taking a break from the rough weather.

An Australasian Darter and Little Pied Cormorant had found a place out of the wind and several Australian Pelicans were also “parked” on rocks. Meanwhile the Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Stint, Common Sandpiper and Grey-tailed Tattler ran around as if this was the last chance to get a meal. With an incoming tide it was rather like that!

There were also two Oriental Pratincoles in the area. One was on the beach and the other was beside a puddle in the car park. They were rather unsteady if they tried to move. However, with the amount of mileage they do over any given year it would not have been the worst weather they have encountered.

As we sat in our vehicle observing the birds through the miserable weather a dark winged tern flew through the car park. Turning the vehicle we could see it was struggling in the wind. That was favourable! Half a chance of a few photos! I managed to take a few photos of the Bridled Tern in flight.

The Bridled Tern then made its way to a rocky outcrop to rest for a while. I could get a few more distant photos and the weather was rather dull. However, this was our first Bridled Tern for 2020.

Bridled Tern on the rocky outcrop

It is easy to forget what happened when this year and I have to check my year list every now and then to remind myself. We won’t be leaving Broome before the end of the year, so it is up to the birds to get blown this way if they want to make it onto our 2020 list! Fingers crossed we just get tropical lows and not tropical cyclones.

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!