Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Around Oz Part 19: Broome - Mud Skippers and Sea Snakes to Asian Gull-billed Terns

Dusky Gerygone

After visiting Derby (see last post) we moved on to Broome, one of my favourite towns, for a five-day stay, booking in to the overcrowded Tarangau Caravan Park. We have travelled almost 8000km - about one-third of the way of our trip around Oz..Contrary to expectations, we have had no trouble so far finding a spot everywhere we have wanted to stay, although we booked ahead for Broome.

We met up with friends from Brisbane, Jeff and Joe, and visited some of the sites around town, including the lively CBD area and Chinatown, and awesome coastal scenery around Gantheaume Point and the port. Good numbers of Brown Boobies were seen offshore.

Gantheaume Point

Looking north towards Cable Beach
At the town sewerage ponds, birds included a few Pink-eared Ducks among many thousands of Plumed Whistling-Ducks, a Common Sandpiper and a few Whiskered Terns.

Pink-eared Duck

Whiskered Tern
In mangroves behind the Broome CBD, birds seen included White-breasted Whistler, Mangrove Golden Whistler, Red-headed Honeyeater, Yellow White-eye, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Mangrove Fantail and Dusky Gerygone.

Broad-billed Flycatcher

Dusky Gerygone

White-breasted Whistler
Cable Beach was delightful as always, including the camels on the beach late in the afternoon, but the area is becoming busier each time I see it. In the image below the camels are passing the beachfront mansion owned by Perth businessman Kerry Stokes.

Camels on Cable Beach, Broome 
I found an Olive-brown Sea Snake stranded on the beach, caught it and released it back into the sea. The snakes are highly venemous but essentially harmless as their fangs are set back and small.

Me with Olive-brown Sea-snake
We visited the Broome Bird Observatory, a 30-minute drive from town. The tide times were wrong for waders but I was able to clearly pick out two of the small Asian race of Gull-billed Tern - smaller size, greyer upperparts, whiter heads - among a larger flock of Australian race Gull-billed Terns and Caspian Terns. The terns were near the mouth of the mangrove creek 3km from the observatory. Common birds about the observatory included Singing Honeyeater and Double-barred Finch.

Roebuck Bay, Broome Bird Observatory
Double-barred Finch
It was a delight to watch hundreds of mud skippers of all sizes in the mud behind the mangroves at low tide. Also in the mangroves were White-breasted Whistler, Dusky Gerygone and Mangrove Fantail.

On the way out of the observatory we had nice views of a Black-breasted Buzzard.

Black-breasted Buzzard

Black-breasted Buzzard

1 comment:

  1. each of these bird species are new to me Greg; I enjoyed your photo account..