I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had added a branch at Ellendale dam and pleased several species of birds and this is also the case for a branch that we added to a local ephemeral lake. It was also used straight away by a variety of birds and on returning a few weeks later it had become quite a hive of activity. There is no shade at this lake, so we sit in the shade of our vehicle and watch all of the activity. Since we added the branch we position ourselves in that area and watch all of the comings and goings.

The birds that make the most of the addition are the variety of finches in the area. The most common are the Zebra Finch and the Long-tailed Finch and they fly in huge flocks to the water and appear to use the principal that there is safety in numbers!

Zebra Finch & Long-tailed Finch (2)

Zebra Finch and Long-tailed Finch

A Diamond Dove soon joined the finches on the branch.

Diamond Dove, Zebra Finch & Long-tailed Finch

Diamond Dove, Zebra Finch-leaping and Long-tailed Finch

Zebra Finch

Large flock of Zebra Finch

A Peaceful Dove then joined the birds on the branch.

Peaceful Dove,Zebra Finch & Long-tailed Finch

Peaceful Dove, Long-tailed Finch and Zebra Finch

A pair of Diamond Doves with their red eyes and spotty wing feathers flew out to join the finches and one promptly leaped directly into the water to drink!

Diamond Dove,Peaceful Dove,Zebra Finch & Long-tailed Finch

Pair of Diamond Doves, Peaceful Dove, Zebra Finch and Long-tailed Finch

There were very few honeyeaters around, but we were delighted to observe a Banded Honeyeater come onto the branch to drink.

Banded Honeyeater,Zebra Finch & Long-tailed Finch

Banded Honeyeater, Zebra Finch and Long-tailed Finch

The Eastern Yellow Wagtail also took a liking to the branch and flew over to get a drink using the twigs close to the water.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

All was going well for the birds and suddenly there was a mass evacuation when a juvenile Brown Goshawk took centre stage on the branch. The Brown Goshawk was not looking for food, but like the other birds in need of water.

Brown Goshawk (2)

Brown Goshawk

Juvenile Brown Goshawk

The Brown Goshawk subsequently threw itself into the water and stayed submerged for over thirty minutes. A pair of Crested Pigeons were uncertain about approaching the branch and chose to drink from the edge of the lake.

Crested Pigeon & Brown Goshawk bathing

Crested Pigeons at the water’s edge and the Brown Goshawk bathing

After holding back for over thirty minutes the Zebra Finch decided it was worth the risk, because it was hot and they were thirsty. They flew to the far end of the branch to drink as far from the Brown Goshawk as possible.

Brown Goshawk & Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch and Brown Goshawk bathing

The biggest disappointment of the day came when it clouded over and the Yellow Chats came to the branch, so you can hardly enjoy the beautiful yellow plumage!

Yellow Chats

Yellow Chats

Maybe I have convinced you that a branch is a wonderful thing if you are a bird and you want to get closer to the water! It appears that many species prefer to dip down for water from a dry branch rather than stand on a muddy edge! Muddy edges are for shorebirds!


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!