Each year around the end of August we eagerly await the return of the Oriental Plovers. We usually have our first encounter with them in the last week of August and if it is hot and dry they are often found on the beach. The numbers of Oriental Plovers gradually appear to increase day by day over the following weeks. The legs of the Oriental Plovers are significantly longer than the Greater Sand Plovers, which are also returning to Broome’s beaches at this time of year.
Oriental Plovers are also common at the last remaining water in the ephemeral lakes. The water levels have dropped dramatically since we last saw rain in April. We won’t be getting any rain for a few months yet, so the lakes will mostly dry out. We have six seasons traditionally in Broome and we are just starting to have hotter days and nights.
In the header photo above you can see six Oriental Plovers in the foreground and two Masked Lapwings in the background. The Masked Lapwings have taken advantage of the recent ideal conditions to breed around the Broome area. The Oriental Plovers are quite well camouflaged, but remaining in your vehicle you can get quite close for a few photos.
We are just starting to observe juvenile migratory shorebirds on our shoreline. They will have hatched out only weeks ago in the Northern hemisphere and have made the incredible journey to Australia. Little Curlews, Oriental Pratincoles and Dollarbirds will all soon be easily observed again around Broome.
Whilst our borders remain closed both nationally and internationally we are grateful that the birds are still able to travel and breed. It reminds us that although our lives are so different now nature continues to bring us all joy.