If this post goes up, then it means we are still away from civilisation and without computer, internet, electricity and running water. It means we are hopefully finding some new birds for the year list off the beaten track somewhere north of Broome….can’t be too specific can I!!??

When we have had the very big tides in Broome during June there are a few beaches worth checking out for the remaining migratory shorebirds and the resident shorebirds alongside other water birds. When we visited the shores of Roebuck Bay in early June there were some lovely flocks of Red-necked Avocets and Black-winged Stilt standing high up on the beach below the cliffs, but they were not the only birds present. The rocks that were surrounded by the sea at high tide were great roosts for Australian Pelicans, Silver Gulls and Caspian Terns.

Pelican, Silver Gulls & Caspian Tern (2)

Australian Pelican, Silver Gulls and Caspian Tern

It didn’t look particularly comfortable where the Australian Pelicans had perched themselves on the rocks surrounded by Silver Gulls and the restless Black-winged Stilt flying by.

Pelicans, Black-winged Stilt & Silver Gulls

Australian Pelicans, Silver Gulls and Black-winged Stilt in flight

As the tide dropped the Black-winged Stilt settled themselves on the wet sand close to some other Australian Pelicans and gives you some idea of the relative size of the two species.

Pelicans & Black-winged Stilt

Australian Pelicans, Silver Gulls and Black-winged Stilt

At high tide there is no reef exposed and the Eastern Reef Egret walked the edge of the tide looking for food. Although Broome has both the grey and white morph of the Eastern Reef Egret you are more likely to come across the grey morph in Roebuck Bay and the white morph further north on the Coconut Wells reef.

Eastern Reef Egret

Eastern Reef Egret

The Eastern Reef Egret then moved to roost among the Silver Gulls on the remaining exposed rocks.

Silver Gulls & Eastern Reef Egret

Silver Gulls and Eastern Reef Egret

June is a good time of year to observe Gull-billed Terns roosting along the shoreline and their black-caps show beautifully at this this time of year. The Gull-billed Terns are separated into two subspecies-the “macros tarsus” shown here and the Asian subspecies “affinis” that migrate to the north. They can often be found surrounded by Silver Gulls.

Gull-billed Terns & Silver Gull

Gull-billed Ternsmacro tarsus” and Silver Gulls

It is also worth checking the beaches close to the port area of Broome for shorebirds and on very high tides you may be lucky enough to find a Beach Stone-curlew. When there is no beach left they will happily roost on an outlying rock in the sea. It is also worth checking the Willie Creek area for Beach Stone-curlew.

Beach Stone-curlew

Beach Stone-curlew having a stretch

Beach Stone-curlew (2)

Beach Stone-curlew

Even though most migratory shorebirds are in the northern hemisphere there are still 14 Whimbrel roosting in the port area.


14 Whimbrel

The most exciting time of year is coming up for us with the imminent egg laying, hatching and possibly fledging of Pied Oystercatcher chicks. It will be interesting to watch the pair that are the most successful parents along the Broome coastline once again this year. Last year they successfully raised three chicks to be independant and leave to find a non-breeding flock until they find a mate. They have been feeding up at Gantheaume Point over the past few months and will have some “egg-sitting” time ahead!

Pied Oystercatchers

Pied Oystercatchers

I will keep you updated on Pied Oystercatcher breeding in Broome once again this year and hopefully there’s a good outcome once again in 2015!

Update….we are back in civilisation, but I have only got as far as updating the year list so far! I can also confirm that there are several Pied Oystercatcher eggs currently being sat on!

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!