We have been getting some really good rain over the last few days and the highway has been closed going north from Broome. It is the time of year to always check the travel website before setting off on any journey. There are no alternative routes and the risk is serious if you try and drive through a flooded highway. A “closed” highway really means that.

The highway across Roebuck Plains heading south continues to offer great birding opportunities. Thankfully that highway has not had to be closed yet this year. There have been literally thousands of Whiskered Terns feeding close to the highway as you can see by all of the tiny dots in the header photos. There have also been White-winged Black Terns amongst them.

The Pheasant Coucal family have moved on from the last place that we observed them. They are ground-dwelling birds and there is plenty of food for them at ground level. The Oriental Pratincoles had their feed of locusts and have headed north now on migration.

It is hard to make it possible for you to appreciate the huge numbers of both Whiskered Terns and locusts that have been flying around in recent weeks. If I zoom in on the larger flocks of Whiskered Terns you only get to see a handful of the thousands of birds!

Whiskered Terns feeding

Whiskered Terns will breed in this area if the conditions are right. It is currently flooded, but there is higher ground along the fence-line and the Whiskered Terns will also roost on the fence.

Whiskered Terns roosting beside the highway

Recently the highway has been covered in locusts and you can’t avoid them. It did not matter which way you looked there were thousands of locusts. Attempting a photograph of the cattle beside the highway was pointless, because you only got photographs of locusts!

The recent swarms of locusts

It did not matter how slowly you drive that section of highway, because it was impossible to avoid a collision with the locusts. We have had to clean the lower front of our vehicle after each bird-watching trip.

Locust carnage on the front of our vehicle

The bird-life has definitely benefitted by the recent outbreak of locusts. The property owners will be pleased that the birds have been here to eat them. Thankfully the locusts have mostly gone now and the rain has continued this week.

There appears to be a change in the season coming with the arrival of dragonflies. Dragonflies in large numbers are indicative of the next of the six seasons in 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!