Marsh SandpipersTringa Stagnatilis are one of the many migratory shorebirds that we encounter here in Broome. They have a very wide range and they are summer migrants to Australia. The Marsh Sandpipers are currently feeding up ready to migrate and breed in the Northern hemisphere. We are currently able to observe them feeding alongside the highway south of Broome in the area that still remains flooded after our wet season rains.

Marsh Sandpipers are a smaller and more delicate version of the Common Greenshank, which are also present in smaller numbers. They are easily overlooked in the vegetation until they move as they feed and there are plenty of insects and larvae currently for them to consume before they head North. We are able to sit in our vehicle on the edge of the flooded highway and watch the Marsh Sandpipers feed close to the road.

Marsh Sandpiper

There are also many Sharp-tailed Sandpipers feeding in the area and they are also feeding up ready to go North and breed. Below you can see a photo for both species for a size comparison.

Marsh Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper feeding together

One of the most common shorebirds feeding and breeding in the area is the Black-winged Stilt and they are a much larger bird. They do also have very long legs, which are ideal for wading around our flooded landscape. As you can see below there is quite a size difference.

Marsh Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilt feeding

Over the coming weeks many of our shorebirds will be heading North to breed. Thankfully this year there has been ample rainfall and therefore plenty of food for them to prepare for their long journeys.

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!