The Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus is one of the noisiest shorebirds around Broome and should you happen to not notice it amongst any rocky outcrops it will soon advise you of its presence. They are a large shorebird with a down-curved bill and are like a larger version of the Little Curlew. At high tide they will congregate together in a small flock and often they will roost amongst the other shorebirds. Whilst the other shorebirds are resting at high tide the Whimbrel will soon easily bore of standing still and run amongst the flock. If you ever want some movement amongst a flock of settled shorebirds you can rely on the Whimbrel for that!

One other aspect of shorebird life is that sometimes you just need a wash. It is not uncommon to see shorebirds wash along the shores of Roebuck Bay and often it will be just after the tide has turned. Once they have completed their washing the tide will have dropped enough and they can resume feeding. A shorebirds life in Roebuck Bay revolves around feeding, washing and going to a safe area to roost during the high tide. There is pressure from birds of prey, unleashed dogs and people, but they are able to find several places where the threats are minimised.

This week I saw some Whimbrels taking a wash and they really did look like they were enjoying themselves…..

Washing Whimbrels

Now, doesn’t that look like fun!?

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!