Tuesday 17 September 2013

Western Australia

As is often the case, we arrived in Australia at Perth airport and got our first wader quest bird there! It is not a fantastic photo as the bird was a long way off, taken through the window of a moving bus. All that considered it's not too bad! It is also an important species in that we may not see them elsewhere, certainly not in Broome or Cairns, Banded Lapwing.

Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor: Perth Airport Western Australia.
We then flew up to Broome and collected our hire car and drove out to the Broome Bird Observatory, where we are staying.

The Wader Quest chariot, Broome.
Our accommodation.
Broome is known as the wader capital of Australia, and for good reason. We have spent a few pleasurable hours sifting through the high tide roosts here with Chris Hassell and his assistant Grace Maglio who are recording flagged birds for the Global Flyway Network. It gave us a great chance to spend time looking at such wonderful birds as Great Knot, Grey-tailed Tattler, Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, and Greater Sand Plovers.

Mixed flock on the Broome shoreline.

Chris (behind) and Grace hard at it recording flagged waders, Broome.
Among these thousands of birds we spent one morning searching through the many godwits in the hope of finding a really important bird for the quest; Asiatic Dowitcher. Chris has seen some a few days before and when we arrived to join him at the roost he said that he'd seen on that morning, but we would have to look for it ourselves as he was rather occupied. Nothing new searching through godwits for a single dowitcher, and we soon picked it out interestingly, almost exactly the same moment that Chris came across it again. We were particularly pleased to see this as we had missed it in Thailand and this was our last hope for the species, even here we were a little early to be sure, the first of them had only been seen a few days previously. Skin of your teeth birding.

Asiatic Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus, facing left centre of photo. Broome. 
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus: Broome, Western Australia.
Elis photographing waders, Broome, Western Australia.
Some of the special birds we have seen with Chris included some seen at inland fresh water areas like Red-kneed and Black-fronted Dotterel, Australian Pratincole and Masked Lapwing.

Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles: Broome, Western Australia.

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella and Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops: Broome Western Australia
I gave a talk last night at the Broome Bird Observatory to the BBO Welcome the Waders back, birdwatching course. Seemed to be well received and one lady gave us 50 Aussie dollars to pass on to the Hoody project.

There is more to come when we get the photos organised, off to Cairns tomorrow, can't wait to see Cairns, but don't really want to leave Broome (except for the infernal heat!).


  1. If you think it's hot at Broome, wait till you get to Cairns!
    David Gascoigne
    Waterloo, ON

    1. Thanks for that David, in fact Cairns turned out to not be as hot as Broome. Flippin' cold in Victoria though! Cheers.