Monday, 11 September 2017

Broome 2017 _ Wave The Waders Goodbye _ Day 03

The third day at Broome started with an early morning, rising-tide Mangrove Walk at Little Crab Creek towards the southern end of Roebuck Bay. The walk into the mangroves ends at a "lookout" facing mudflats giving relatively close views of the usual suspects and the few birds of Australia's only known Common Redshanks colony. We didn't see them but on our way back to the vehicle, we saw that the entire bird population of the bay appeared to disappear or be in a total panic. Had to be a raptor somewhere. We scanned the skies for about a minute until a Peregrine Falcon was spotted crossing the bay about a kilometre offshore. I happened to get some images that were in-focus and it was later identified as one of the two migratory northern hemisphere forms of the Peregrine Falcon; Falco peregrinus japonensis. The other is calidus. That was exciting.

The usual afternoon wader watch at some of the roosts near the BBO showed Sooty Oystercatchers. These are the northern race Haematopus fuliginosus ophthalmicus which has a bright yellow ring around the eye.

Day 03

Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax caledonians juvenile. Probably the same bird as Day 1

White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus calidus

Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus ophthalmicus

and friends...
Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris
Bar-Tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica both in breeding and non-breeding plumage
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Yellow JX was a pretty interesting bird. We discovered it whilst wader watching and soon were aware it was not behaving normally; just standing on the rocks doing ... well, nothing really, unlike every other Whimbrel in the bay. A few photos soon showed it had a radio transmitter on it. Later we found out that Chris Hassell's team had caught the bird the previous evening and placed a transmitter on it, a sort of backpack arrangement. I guess the bird found it uncomfortable or was just recovering from the capture  or both. Anyway, the bird remained there for several hours into dark but was gone the next morning and the transmitter was found on it's way to the northern hemisphere within a short time. This shows that us amateurs can contribute to projects by being observant, noting when things aren't right and telling the people in charge. Fortunately, all involved had tea together that evening!!

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