frangipaniThis week has really been a case of waking up and smelling not the roses, but the frangipani! It is that time of year in Broome where the air starts to fill with the smell of ripening mango and all things good about the tropics.

I am very rarely sick and this week has been a challenge as I have/am suffering with laryngitis and bronchitis and our backyard birds have been the only birds I have seen. After an 8 days of intensive shorebird work this is not at all a bad thing, as there really is more to birds than those on our brilliant shores! Every morning we have been woken by the Pied Butcherbird and the Blue-winged Kookaburra and it doesn’t take long before the garden is filling with the sounds of Brown and Singing Honeyeaters getting their first bath of the day. The Rufous-throated Honeyeaters are the only Honeyeaters to literally “do bombies” into the deeper water! The Double-barred Finch are not far behind followed by the Bar-shoulderedand Peaceful Doves.

On very hot days we get Brown Goshawk and Collared Sparrowhawk in for a bath and you can see from the photo that they sort of love the water! The alarm calls of the finches soon lets you know of their presence and if you see some statuesque Bar-shouldered Doves it is a good indication that they are rather scared! They stand absolutely motionless thinking that they can’t be seen right out in the open!


Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus


A noisy visitor is the Crested Pigeon….no, we don’t put too much effort into naming our birds here in Australia! The sound of the wings as they fly is almost mechanical and you may hear them leave your garden and not even realise that they had been in. They really do appear quite comical.


crested pigeon, broome
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes


There are huge flocks of several hundred Little Corella that fly each morning from out of town to the cattle yards and back each evening. Quite often they will land in the scrub out the back and you can hear them munching away in the trees, but luckily they don’t all land in the garden! We have had over 100 species fly in or over our garden and every day brings new surprises.


little corella, broome
Little Corellas Cacatua sanguinea


Now, I know there’s a few out there that are hanging out for something that is not a bird, so each posting I will try and include something that is not! This goanna came into our garden from the bush out the back and he is not the biggest that has come in by a long shot. As you saw the Pheasant Coucals in this same spot in my last posting I thought it would help with scale!


goanna, broome
Goanna Varanus sp


Water is quite an attraction in this dry continent and we have water restrictions across most of the country. The ridiculous part of the restrictions is that we can only water every second day here, but we can use as much as we want on those days. So, a bit like a diet where you can only have chocolate every second day, but you can each as much as you want on those days! Makes perfect sense, right?!

Next time I will fill you in on some of the great research that is being done on shorebirds around Broome.

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!