We are often walking the northern area of Cable Beach and it is always interesting watching how the birds react on a very high tide. There are not many places to hide and often the shorebirds huddle against any remaining rocks. The White-faced Herons and Eastern Reef Egrets that feed on the reef at low tide sometimes roost on the remaining sandy cliffs. On one occasion we encountered one of each species trying hard to camouflage themselves against a washed up piece of driftwood and they moved gradually around the wood as we approached. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph all three species side by side! The header photo shows the White-faced Heron perching on the debris and a grey morph Eastern Reef Egret on the sand below.

The grey morph of the Eastern Reef Egret remained on the sand with the white morph of the Eastern Reef Egret and the White-faced Heron remained perched in the debris. As is so typical of Australian bird names, the heron with a white face is a White-faced Heron.

White-faced Heron and both morphs of Eastern Reef Egret

White-faced Heron and the grey morph of Eastern Reef Egret

White-faced Heron

It is not every day that you encounter all three species in such close proximity to each other to show their similarities and differences!

The beach debris is also used by the Pied Oystercatchers when they nest. Many of the pairs that we observe choose to nest among this debris and appear to use it as a surround to their nests.

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!