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Kimberley Bird Watching

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

About 9am we went downtown for the Sunday Market. It was mostly tourist stuff - no fresh food. We bought a bottle of Mango Vinegar (a combination of Mango sauce and vinegar) and left.

We stopped by Cable Beach and Jetty Beach (18.005S 122.211E) on the way home to see what high tide looked like. At Cable Beach the spot we had been parking in was under water. At Jetty Beach there was no beach.

We went to the Warf Restaurant for lunch. The restaurant only had outdoor seating. There was a breeze and shade, but it was still hot. We decided to get take-away food and eat in the air-con of our apartment. My wife got Garlic Squid with chips. I got BBQ whole giant Prawns with chips. Everything was Beautiful! Late afternoon we went to Cable Beach to see what a 15 ft drop in the ocean level would look like. From the high tide point this morning, there was an extra 1100 ft of beach at low tide, with a rocky outcropping going an additional 500 out -- none of this was visible this morning.

While I was stepping off the beach, my wife talked to a lady having a day at the beach with her family and German Sheppard. The lady said in February it was 120 to 130F here every day, with 100 percent humidity and violent thunder, but no rain. She thought today's 95F and blistering sun was just fine.

broome road australiaOn April 17 it was sultry at 7am when we left Broome. We only had a 2-hour drive, so we stopped at every rest area along the road and most of the river crossings. We got lucky a few times and saw a Brush Cuckoo, a brilliant Long-tailed Finch, and a pair of Broglas right beside the road. We ended up seeing 35 birds on the drive.

This area is known for Boab Trees (see 17.351S 123.670E). One was so squatty they built a jail out of it.

We arrived at the King Sound Resort Hotel in Derby at 12:30pm. We had lunch at the resort. My wife had a vegetarian steak sandwich for lunch (a lot of veggies and a miniscule amount of beef). I had a huge Chicken Parmigiana (with cheese, olives and BBQ Sauce) with chips and salad. We asked for Tomato Ketchup (Tomato Sauce here). The packets said Tomato Sauce, but it was definitely BBQ sauce. It comes in an interesting container that you squeeze and the sauce pops out the middle.

After lunch we found the Nunga Women's Resource Center on Loch St (17.308S 123.636E). Nunga means "people coming together and talking". We ended up buying a hand made Sarong with an Aborigine motif, and a carved Boab Nut.

We drove to the Derby Jetty (17.292S 123.607E) to see the 37-foot King Tide in the afternoon. It can get up to 40 ft on some occasions -- only the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia has a bigger tide at 46 ft. Broome has the 3rd highest tide in the world at 32 ft.

Off shore, they have a thing called the "horizontal waterfall" created by the tide running between two islands. It costs $400US per person to fly out there, so we passed.

Instead, we went to the Derby Sewage Ponds (17.333S 123.649E). The road was a little doggy with heaps of soft red sand. Upon arrival we scared up a huge White-bellied Sea Eagle, which set all the other water birds flying as well. They finally settled down, so we could watch them from the viewing platform.

We drove back to the Jetty for sunset at 5:36pm. I got some great pictures of the Staircase to the Sun shimmering in the water.

Driving to the resort we saw an interesting sign at the Health Clinic: "Time for Flu Needles".

On April 18 we were off at 6:30am for the Derby Wetlands (17.434S 123.718E) near the 20-mile marker outside town. Then we had a hair-raising 2.5 Km drive over a rutted dirt road to the Wetlands. Sometimes the road was so bad my wife had to walk in front of the car to pick a route thru the ruts and loose red sandy soil. It was worth the dodgy drive. We saw a White-breasted Whistler and Yellow White-eye for the first time, plus 4 Broglas and a Cockatiel.

The wetlands were full of water lilies. Strangely, there weren't many water birds for the vast amount of water.

On the drive back we stopped at the Boab Tree Prison. The massive hollow tree was used by "Blackbirders" in the late 1800's to store Aborigine slaves overnight as they were being taken to Broome to work in the pearling trade.

We had a ham and pineapple pizza at the resort for lunch. It was Ok, but the sauce had a funky BBQ sauce taste.

After a long nap, we drove out to the jetty to see the 38-ft King tide today. Most of the 2Km of mud flats between the town and jetty was covered with muddy water. We could see a tiny front of water slowly rolling over the mud flat.

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