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.
To fully restore our global ecosystems, we may need to restore mass events like this one in North America. Farmers are going to have a pissing fit, but the long term benefits are unquestionable.
The balance a horde like that actually brings and nutritional distribution of the are factors we have lost.
Then- we restore Eskimo Curlews and voila!! 🙂