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Kimberley Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: April 2007

Seeing Boab Trees and the 37-foot King Tide at Derby.

Buying a hand made Sarong with an Aborigine motif and a carved Boab Nut at the Nunga Women's Resource Center in Derby. Nunga means "people coming together and talking".

Seeing a Chestnut-backed Button-quail sneaking down to the water hole at the Ngumban Cliff rest area on the drive to Kununurra. We also saw a couple of Spinifex Pigeons and a Pictorella Mannikin. Buying an authentic Returning Boomerang and Killing Stick at the Aborigine Art Gallery in Kununurra. The Boomerangs were made by a "desert man" in the Outback of Queensland. He made the body of the Boomerangs, and his several wives decorated them.

Getting 2 bags of Zebra Stone pieces from the Zebra Rock Gallery outside Kununurra. Zebra Rock is fossilized algae in soapstone. It is only found at one site near Lake Argyle.

If we were planning the trip again, I would:

Spend more time in Derby, hopefully in July when they hold an Art festival..


Not being able to go to the Broome Bird Observatory because the road was flooded.

Birding Summary

Of the 189 bird species we saw in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, 51 are endemic to Australia. Most of the 138 non-Australian Endemic bird species were new for us.

34 bird species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Bar-shouldered Dove, Brown-tailed Flycatcher, Singing Honeyeater, Brush Cuckoo, Little Friarbird Rufous Morf, Star Finch, Buff-breasted Robin, Little Shrike-thrush, Striated Heron, Chestnut-backed Button-quail, Long-tailed Finch, Striated Pardalote, Common Redshank, Mangrove Fantail, Whimbrel (Siberian), Common Tern, Mangrove Gerygone, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Gray Falcon, Black-tailed Whistler, White-breasted Whistler, Gray Shrike-Thrush, Northern Rosella, White-gaped Honeyeater, Great Bowerbird, Pictorella Mannikin, White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Jacky-winter, Paperbark Flycatcher, White-winged Black-terns, King Quail, Rufous-throated Honeyeater, Yellow-rumped Mannikin, & Brown-tailed Flycatcher.

Special Comments:

On April 10 we left Port Hedland at 6am in time to see the pink sunrise below storm clouds at 6:15am. We got a few early sprinkles, but most of the day was a severe clear.

We stopped at the Praddo Roadhouse for ice cream at 8am (they had just opened) - passing up their famous sausage rolls. We saw 2 of the big open pit mining trucks in the Roadhouse parking lot - they dwarfed our car.

Down the road we came on several places where water was running across the road from one temporary wetland to another. In places there were hundreds and thousands of water birds. Our most spectacular sightings were of hundreds of White-winged Black-terns and glossy ibises in their breeding colors.

There were heaps of Large Grass-yellow butterflies on the road, and a few Monarchs. The drive was very green with a few Hibiscuses. In one place there was 8 ft high grasses with rufous seed heads lining the road.

When we got to Broome we couldn't find the road to the Broome Bird Observatory (17.975S 122.345E) on Crab Creek Rd where we had a reservation. We stopped at the VC to ask directions. They said the road might be closed due to the rains from the 3 cyclones last month. They call the Observatory but no one answered.

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