It is that time of year again when we start to see the shorebirds around Broome change into their beautiful breeding plumage. We then witness their departures each evening over several weeks. The header above is of several species of shorebirds on Reddell Beach. There are Grey-tailed Tattlers, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper and a Pacific Golden Plover looking at you head on!

Each evening the Broome Bird Observatory records the departures and update the website. The public are welcome to join the wardens and guests on the beach to watch migration in full swing.

Some of the shorebirds here are quite well camouflaged in the rocks on Reddell Beach. The Pacific Golden Plover are a good example of this. When they return from the north they have a lot more black plumage, but before they go they are just more heavily “golden” than they have been over recent months.

Pacific Golden Plovers

Whimbrels tend to keep to themselves on Reddell Beach. They are very vocal when they take off and are the larger shorebirds on the beach.


All of the shorebirds are very busy feeding up ready for migration when the tide is out. They are then relaxed at high tide and roost on the damp sand until they can feed again. The colouring of the rocks and the pindan sand in Broome enables the shorebirds to blend in quite well.

Shorebirds on Reddell Beach

There are a number of shorebird species here for you to identify! Ruddy Turnstones, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey-tailed Tattlers, Sanderling, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sandplover and Terek Sandpiper. There are some beautifully coloured Curlew Sandpipers on the beaches now and the Great Knot and Red Knot are also coloured up ready to head north.

We are not allowed to travel internationally out of Australia, but these shorebirds are free to head north. We wish them all the best for their travels and hope that they can successfully breed and return to our shores in a few months’ time.

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!