When we have cyclonic weather around it is always worth going out to look for any birds that have been blown off course. It is not always a fruitful search and sometimes it can be a few days after the tropical low or cyclone passes by before anything is observed. In fact it was just a casual walk along the shoreline in Broome heading towards the port several days after the windy and wet weather that I accidentally flushed a bird roosting on the rocks. It was the furthest bird species from my mind as the sky was blue and all had returned to normal. Although my last view of a Common Noddy was on 2nd March 2008 in cyclonic weather I knew what I had found. Last time the Common Noddy had been sat on the sand on Riddell Beach in Broome surrounded by over 200 Lesser Sand Plovers and flying in the thermals overhead were several Edible-nest Swiftlets. That was a memorable afternoon in the wind!

The Common Noddy was well-camouflaged on the rocks and had not flown far. I rang Grant to come from work as it would be a shame to not see such a rare bird on our shoreline and even more of a shame to not have it on a list! I was able to take some photographs of the Common Noddy perched on the rock and continued on along the shoreline looking at shorebirds. Grant rang to say he could not see it when he got there, but I was sure it would still be roosting there and a few minutes later he found it on the next rock over. Some people had walked along and it had moved a few metres.

Common Noddy (2)

Common Noddy (3)

Common Noddy (4)

Common Noddy (5)

Common Noddy (6)

 Common Noddy

I returned from my walk to the port and back observing the thousands of shorebirds and the tide had fallen substantially and several people had been onto the beach. The Common Noddy had moved to another rock further out from the high tide line and was perched there. I took a few more photographs in the late afternoon light of this beautiful bird.

Common Noddy (7)

Common Noddy (8)

Common Noddy

The following day the Common Noddy was gone and had no doubt rested enough to return to its life at sea. They feed on small fish and nest on outlying islands and it was an incredible bird to add to my 2014 list on January 2nd. We won’t mind a few more tropical lows coming down from the north if they bring us some good birds!

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!