Broome is located on a peninsula which forms a large shallow bay to the east called Roebuck Bay. At low tide this exposes large mud flats that attract hordes of shore birds which come to feed on the mud dwelling crustaceans. While most of the migratory shore birds choose to fly to Siberia to breed in the northern hemisphere summer, most of the younger birds don’t bother. So along with the permanent residents, even at this time of the year there is plenty to see.
I camped for 3 nights at a research centre run by Birdlife Australia called the Broome Bird Observatory. In that time managed to add another 8 new bird species to my list.
Roebuck Bay near Broome Bird Observatory at high tide and at low tide.
Another view. The shore birds go out to feed on the flats at low tide that extend for kilometers out into the bay. At this time you can’t really see them. However at high tide they congregate on the beaches like in the photo below.
It was not easy to see shorebirds on the first day I visited because it was Sunday and every man and his fishing rod was out lining all the beaches. I’m not sure where the shorebirds go on weekends – maybe to the inaccessible side of the bay to the south. However one small stretch of beach was lined with great egret instead – also obsessed with fishing.
Clockwise from top left: Salt flats being flooded by the high tide – it was interesting to hear a loud rumble emanating from the flats as trapped air bubbled up from the whole area; White-breasted Whistler – a new bird; Australian Hobby Falcon; Australian Pelican
Osprey (LHS) and Brahmini Kite
LHS: Lesser crested tern (a new bird species for me) with black winged stilts and silver gulls. RHS: Crested tern with silver gulls.