Friday, 13 January 2017

Broome Roadtrip 01

Whilst most of the Ashmore Reef Pelagic Cruise participants flew to Broome, I decided to drive. This enabled me to deliver a camper-trailer to Alice Springs then continue north along the Tanami Road to Halls Creek then along the Savannah Highway to Broome. It was all about getting there so no time for birding but I did manage to get some nice images.

First night stop was Terrick Terrick NP just north of Mitiamo. Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus were plentiful as were the mozzies.

Next night was at Sherlock to the east of Tailem Bend. A walk around the new lake there brought me a pair of Blue Bonnets Northiella haematogaster which alighted accommodatingly on a fence post.

The next camp was near Glendambo on the Stuart Highway. I thought I saw a magpie drop to the ground and chased it for a few hundred yards. It turned out to be a Ground Cuckoo-shrike Coracina maxima and gave me some good views.

A natural break at Marla had an Australian Hobby Falco longipennis staked out in a tree in the car park.

The Tanami Road is sealed for the first three hundred kilometres, virtually to Yuendumu. In the early morning sun, this Gwardar Pseudonaja nuchalis was sunning itself on the road. One of Australia's most venomous snakes.

The Tanami Road is 1,040 kilometres from Alice Springs to Hall's Creek. Up to the Granites Mine [600km] there is plenty of traffic but further north, in late spring to early autumn, there isn't much traffic at all. There is certainly no border force at the border. Just a 44 gallon drum.

I stopped for the night just short of the border. My short morning walk showed a Little Woodswallow Artamus minor and an Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis.

Next night was at  _____ Dam.  I saw a Pallid Cuckoo Cacomantis pallidus the next morning followed by a Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus had two goes at getting a honeyeater but too slow. These pics were taken while he rested up between efforts to get breakfast.
This last image of a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola [rear left] and, left to right in the foreground, a Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops, a Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea and a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata were at the Derby WTP. Discussion at Broome Bird Observatory of the middle bird brought up the possibility of a Cox's Sandpiper [a cross between a Curlew and a Pectoral Sandpiper] but the verdict was a Curlew Sandpiper with a very dirty bill on a bedraggled bird.

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