A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about birds

Carnarvon to Monkey Mia

...via Hamelin Pool

sunny 23 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

Our first port of call in Carnarvon was the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum. It may come as a surprise to some that this isolated town played an important part in the United States manned moon missions. So much so that, in 2013, Buzz Aldrin came over to open Phase One of the museum's development. Australian-born astronaut, Andy Thomas, did the honours for Phase Two in 2014 and Phase Three was opened in 2016 by Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon - at the time of writing. The Tracking Station, which forms the basis of the museum, was built in 1964 to support Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions and, for 11 years, it was the last station to communicate with astronauts before leaving earth's orbit and the last voice they heard as they headed for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. (Acknowledgements to the Carnarvon & Coral Bay Destination Guide for this and other information about the area.

The huge satellite dish and the giant Redstone rocket are the first things one sees, on approaching the tracking station. Inside there is an almost overwhelming display of items connected with the history of the station including full scale replicas of Gemini and Apollo command modules. In the latter you can sit inside in 'launch' position and hear the sound of the rocket - it's worth doing for the atmosphere. The Gemini is decidedly less roomy but also accessible. The museum is expanding and it is easy to while away at least a couple of hours and still not see everything - excellent value.

The Redstone rocket near the entrance

The Redstone rocket near the entrance

The main satellite dish

The main satellite dish

There's always one!

There's always one!

Steve and Judith inside the replica Apollo command module

Steve and Judith inside the replica Apollo command module

Some rooms were crammed with machinery which is all beyond me but very interesting

Some rooms were crammed with machinery which is all beyond me but very interesting

7f690720-1a8a-11ea-b9e2-eb6db621e809.jpgTwo views of Steve in the Gemini replica

Two views of Steve in the Gemini replica

By the time we had finished there, it was time for lunch and we made our way to the Small Boat Harbour, where we had an excellent meal of fish & chips at the Harbourside Cafe.

Harbourside Cafe

Harbourside Cafe

Steve inside the cafe

Steve inside the cafe

In the afternoon we visited the One Mile Jetty. It is currently closed for safety reasons but we found quite a bit of birdlife there while walking on the mangrove boardwalk. There is also an interpretive centre providing details of the jetty's history. The jetty is, or was, the longest in Western Australia and at one time had a tramway which transported people and goods. The goods have included, from the late 19th century until the 1950s, wool, sandalwood, livestock, pearl shell and people.

One Mile Jetty viewed from mangrove boardwalk

One Mile Jetty viewed from mangrove boardwalk

Black Kite hunting over the mangroves

Black Kite hunting over the mangroves

Singing Honeyeater by the mangrove boardwalk

Singing Honeyeater by the mangrove boardwalk

A relic from bygone days at the jetty

A relic from bygone days at the jetty

We then planned on driving out to Bibbawarra Bore but after driving several kilometres along a dusty track, we found a "Road Closed" sign! Our next stop was Chinaman's Pool, a nice treed area by the Gascoyne River. Here there was a pleasant walk and plenty of birds but also swarms of mosquitoes! Our stay was short but productive! On the way back to our cabin, we called at a pharmacy where we asked after something for itch relief (the mossies had been really nasty) and the pharmacist recommended a haemorrhoid cream which worked a treat!

Australasian Pipit

Australasian Pipit

Little Corellas

Little Corellas

White-breasted Woodswallow

White-breasted Woodswallow

Meadow Argus butterfly

Meadow Argus butterfly

Having anointed ourselves, we returned to the Small Boat Harbour where we saw more birds and a lovely sunset to see us off. There is a great deal to see and do in and around Carnarvon so, if you can spare more than the two nights we managed, you will be busy.

Fishing boat returning to harbour

Fishing boat returning to harbour

Wader (possibly a Redshank) at sunset

Wader (possibly a Redshank) at sunset

Panoramic view over the inlet at sunset

Panoramic view over the inlet at sunset

Sunset over Carnarvon Beach Resort, across the inlet

Sunset over Carnarvon Beach Resort, across the inlet

A flight of ducks over the inlet at sunset

A flight of ducks over the inlet at sunset

The following day we headed off on our drive of about 380km to Monkey Mia. Most of the drive was pretty uninteresting but after we turned off towards Denham, we found Hamelin Pool. The caravan park and amenities are rather shabby, to be kind, but the short walk to the pool and out on the boardwalk to see the stromatolites is well worthwhile. The low tide area is covered with living organisms known as microbial mats which sometimes trap grit and become stone, at which stage they become microbialites. When these microbialites grow one on the other and the layers form a small tower, they are called stromatolites - living stone! The are not the prettiest things you will see but they are fascinating.

A dried out and broken stromatolite (perhaps an ex-stromatolite?)

A dried out and broken stromatolite (perhaps an ex-stromatolite?)

Stromatolites growing under water

Stromatolites growing under water

The boardwalk over the pool gives an excellent view of stromatolites and other marine creatures

The boardwalk over the pool gives an excellent view of stromatolites and other marine creatures

A ring of stromatolites out of water

A ring of stromatolites out of water

Welcome Swallows resting on a stromatolite

Welcome Swallows resting on a stromatolite

Clearly it was nesting season for these Welcome Swallows - their nests were tucked under the boardwalk - hopefully above high tide!

Clearly it was nesting season for these Welcome Swallows - their nests were tucked under the boardwalk - hopefully above high tide!

Seaweed seen from the boardwalk

Seaweed seen from the boardwalk

Back in the car park, an Australian Hobby posed nicely for us.

large_20190621_IMG_5785.jpgTwo shots of our friendly Australian Hobby

Two shots of our friendly Australian Hobby

Not far beyond Hamelin Pool, we pulled in to Shell Beach where the shells are 7-10 metres deep over a stretch of some 60km! The shells are mainly a species of cockle and these have formed a limestone rock known as coquina. Before Shark Bay became a World Heritage Site, this material was mined and used for building in Denham.

View down to Shell Beach

View down to Shell Beach

Panorama of part of Shell Beach

Panorama of part of Shell Beach

Stay away - it gets really crowded!

Stay away - it gets really crowded!

At Denham, an attractive little coastal town, we turned off towards Monkey Mia and drove through some good bushland. Close to the resort we stopped for a group of Emus and, a little further on, an Echidna crossed the road, paying little attention to us.

Emu by the roadside

Emu by the roadside

A closer view of one of the emus

A closer view of one of the emus

The Echidna on the road

The Echidna on the road

Echidna safely across and into the sand

Echidna safely across and into the sand

The RAC/Big 4 resort is massive and the staff are friendly and helpful. We paid extra to be upgraded to a sea-facing villa which was well worthwhile and, shortly after arriving, we saw dolphins swimming close to the beach, from our verandah.

View from our villa

View from our villa

Inside the villa - plenty of room

Inside the villa - plenty of room

Sunset from our villa

Sunset from our villa

The cabin was very roomy and comfortable and was equipped with no stove but at least a microwave. We were unable to access wifi, so had to talk to one another!

The following morning we went along the beach to see the dolphin feeding and were delighted to see a couple of females come in with calves. It was a bit breezy so no nice clear water for good photographs unfortunately.

People waiting for the dolphins

People waiting for the dolphins

The first one in to be fed

The first one in to be fed

A beautiful creature

A beautiful creature

Smiling for the camera!

Smiling for the camera!

Steve sitting in the shade on our verandah while Judith takes a few more photos

Steve sitting in the shade on our verandah while Judith takes a few more photos

A Silver Gull came onto the verandah hoping, in vain, for a handout

A Silver Gull came onto the verandah hoping, in vain, for a handout

View along the beach to the dolphin feeding area

View along the beach to the dolphin feeding area

Colourful kayaks lined up waiting for an outing

Colourful kayaks lined up waiting for an outing

Across the road from the resort is a bush walk area. We picked up a map from the Dolphin Centre, with the intention of heading for a bird hide. The paths that led to the hide were blocked off and it turned out the staff in the Dolphin Centre were unaware of the closures! Nonetheless, we wound our way through the dune bushland, seeing quite a few birds both in the bush and along the coastal strip, as well as a family of kangaroos.

Panoramic view from top of dune on bushwalk

Panoramic view from top of dune on bushwalk

View over the resort from the bushwalk

View over the resort from the bushwalk

Western Grey Kangaroo and joey in the dunes

Western Grey Kangaroo and joey in the dunes

Torresian Crow on the beach

Torresian Crow on the beach

Australian Pelicans on a sandspit

Australian Pelicans on a sandspit

Australian Pied Oystercatchers on the beach

Australian Pied Oystercatchers on the beach

Posted by SteveJD 08:42 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds boats sunset australia museum dolphin western_australia monkey_mia mammals carnarvon echidna hamelin_pool stromatolites space_technology Comments (0)

Karratha to Carnarvon

...with side trips to Cossack and Dampier and via Bullara Station

sunny 27 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

While based in Karratha, we drove along the coast to Cossack. Here there are a few surviving buildings of a once-thriving settlement. Originally it was called Tien Tsin after the barque which landed there in 1863. However, after Governor Weld visited in 1871 aboard HMS Cossack, the town gained its current name. Having quite a good harbour, Cossack provided a point of access for the settlement and development of the Pilbara region, including a gold-rush in the 1870s. There was also a significant pearling industry which attracted a wide variety of different nationalities. The most tangible reminder is the Japanese cemetery and in its heyday, the town had areas know as "Chinatown", "Japtown" and "Malaytown" - not very politically correct! Cossack grew quite quickly over a period of some 40 years but when the pearling industry moved north, the goldfields petered out and the harbour's limitations became more evident, the population shrunk even more quickly. The town staggered on and by the early 1950s, was virtually abandoned. Thankfully, some of the main buildings have been maintained and provide a fascinating insight into life on the coast in the 19th century. (Acknowledgements to the "Emma Withnell Heritage Trail" booklet, produced by the Roebourne Visitor Centre, for this information).

Bonded Store and Customs House

Bonded Store and Customs House

One of the ruined buildings

One of the ruined buildings

437c3510-093d-11ea-831d-0f6b31903fe9.jpgFlowers and shrub, Aerva javanica - a weed apparently

Flowers and shrub, Aerva javanica - a weed apparently

Cossack Cafe, at the rear of the Customs House

Cossack Cafe, at the rear of the Customs House

Thirsty Spinifex Pigeons!

Thirsty Spinifex Pigeons!

The ubiquitous Willie Wagtail

The ubiquitous Willie Wagtail

45ccb4c0-093d-11ea-89a2-b51c670b76fd.jpgPolice Lockup - complete with bushranger!

Police Lockup - complete with bushranger!

Heading out of town, to the coast, we reached Reader Head Lookout which gives great views over Settlers Beach and Jarman Island (named after the captain of the above-mentioned "Tien Tsin") sitting in the Indian Ocean, as well as back along Butcher Inlet towards the township. Near the lookout, is the cemetery in which many of the headstones refer to people who died at very young ages - it was a tough place to settle. On our way back through town, we went up the Tien Tsin Lookout and then down past the old schoolhouse. A cyclone destroyed an earlier building and children had to go by tramway to Roebourne for their schooling

Panoramic view over Settlers Beach

Panoramic view over Settlers Beach

View from the lookout towards Jarman Island

View from the lookout towards Jarman Island

Nankeen Kestrel in flight

Nankeen Kestrel in flight

The little cemetery

The little cemetery

Panoramic view from Tien Tsin Lookout over the township and the land-backed jetty on Butcher Inlet

Panoramic view from Tien Tsin Lookout over the township and the land-backed jetty on Butcher Inlet

The old Schoolhouse

The old Schoolhouse

What is left of one of the trucks used on the tramway to Roebourne

What is left of one of the trucks used on the tramway to Roebourne

We used to have a kelpie cross (courtesy of someone who dropped her, at about 5 weeks old, over our fence in Perth). She was a black and tan and she was the light of our life, so we became great fans of kelpies. Naturally, we had read Louis de Bernieres book "Red Dog", so had to make the pilgrimage to Dampier where they have a statue to this famous peripatetic dog as the town had been the main base for Red Dog's adventures. We had time for a brief stop at the North West Shelf Visitor Centre (natural gas being brought in from the seabed) but unfortunately were too late to visit the wonderful collection of Aboriginal petroglyphs a little further along the Burrup Peninsula.

Dampier was named after William Dampier (1651-1715) who was a colourful character. He had been a buccaneer and a privateer (i.e., a pirate!) before being being given command of HMS Roebuck, in which he explored the north-western coast of WA and then into the islands to the north of Australia. He landed at Shark Bay and collected the first known detailed record of Australian flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the Roebuck became unseaworthy and foundered at Ascension Island when Dampier was attempting to return to England. The wreck was found in 2001 by a team from the Western Australian Maritime Museum. He and his crew were picked up by an East Indiaman after about five weeks and returned to England. On his return to England, Dampier was court-martialled for having his lieutenant jailed in Brazil while on the outward voyage. He was found guilty, his pay was docked and he was dismissed from the Royal Navy. About a year later, he was appointed, as a privateer, to command the St George in order to act against French and Spanish interests during the Spanish War of Succession. He sailed with another ship on which was a seaman by the name of Alexander Selkirk. When he complained about the seaworthiness of his ship, the Cinque Ports, he was marooned for nearly five years before Dampier rescued him. Selkirk's experience is believed to be the basis for Daniel Defoe's story "Robinson Crusoe". Dampier's ship, St George, was eventually abandoned on the coast of Peru and he returned to England in 1707. He made a third circumnavigation 1708-11, still privateering but it seems unlikely that he received his share of the expedition's gains, as he died in 1715, in debt.

Red Dog welcomes visitors to Dampier

Red Dog welcomes visitors to Dampier

20190614_IMG_5644.jpgStatue of what I presume are riggers or drillers

Statue of what I presume are riggers or drillers

The gas burning off can be seen from a great distance

The gas burning off can be seen from a great distance

After our, as usual too short stay, we drove about 458km (via Fortescue River and Nanutarra Roadhouses) to Bullara Station, about half way between Exmouth and Coral Bay. On our way south, we stopped at Miaree Pool where we saw a small colony of Royal Spoonbills and the first Black Swans we have seen on this trip!

Some of the Royal Spoonbills

Some of the Royal Spoonbills

Royal Spoonbills and Black Swans

Royal Spoonbills and Black Swans

Flower of Solanum lasiophyllum

Flower of Solanum lasiophyllum

At Bullara we had a very good cosy hut, set among trees which were filled with birds throughout our stay. There are some good walks on the station and also plenty of opportunity to meet other guests - look out for Pommie John and his delicious damper!

Hale Hut and the Beast MkII

Hale Hut and the Beast MkII

b8630a30-0955-11ea-b68c-d9472465e982.jpgInside our hut

Inside our hut

b7e6ae40-0955-11ea-b68c-d9472465e982.jpgA Grey Shrike-thrush liked our vehicle but looked better in the bush

A Grey Shrike-thrush liked our vehicle but looked better in the bush

Blue-breasted Fairy-wren

Blue-breasted Fairy-wren

A treeful of Zebra Finches

A treeful of Zebra Finches

20190616_IMG_5666.jpgCockatiels finding a roost in the late afternoon

Cockatiels finding a roost in the late afternoon

Juvenile Butcherbird strutting its stuff

Juvenile Butcherbird strutting its stuff

Rainbow Bee-eater with a snack

Rainbow Bee-eater with a snack

The Grey Shrike-thrush came back - obviously the Hilux makes a good perch - or is it vain?!

The Grey Shrike-thrush came back - obviously the Hilux makes a good perch - or is it vain?!

Sunset from our hut

Sunset from our hut

Our original plans had included a cruise out to Ningaloo Reef but, after our dire experience on the Great Barrier Reef a couple of years ago, as this entailed taking a whole day - with a 6am start - we reluctantly decided to remain land-based. Outside the reef the seas were more than a little choppy, so we felt that it was probably a sensible decision. Our hosts had advised us to head for Exmouth rather than Coral Bay, so we took a drive north to Exmouth, stopping to look at the Potshot and Operation Jaywick memorials, just south of the town.

In 1942 the United States Navy established a submarine base under the code name “Operation Potshot”. Extensive facilities were built adjacent to where Learmonth Airforce Base now stands. Although the submarine tenders only stayed in the area for a very short period, the base continued to operate as a refuelling facility. Australian Army, Navy and Airforce personnel operated early warning radar, radio stations, anti-aircraft guns and provided fighter cover for submarines.

The famous Operation Jaywick which attacked shipping in Singapore Harbour departed from Exmouth Gulf. The Japanese bombed the location in 1943. A cyclone in 1945 extensively damaged the base and troops were withdrawn.

Road sign to the memorials

Road sign to the memorials

Potshot Memorial

Potshot Memorial

The scrub was fairly bland and the town did nothing to excite us but we stopped in a beach-side park to have our lunch.

In February 1818, the explorer Phillip Parker King was forced into the gulf now known as Exmouth Gulf. He spent eight days exploring the region and named the gulf after Admiral Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth. It would appear that there was no 'town' here until the US Navy built a submarine base (the above-mentioned Operation Potshot). Even then, the town was not really established, and named after the gulf, until the US Navy established a communications station here. They finally handed control of the station over to Australia in 1999.

Steve enjoying lunch by the sea

Steve enjoying lunch by the sea

A Silver Gull eyeing us hungrily

A Silver Gull eyeing us hungrily

We continued round to Cape Range National Park and enjoyed some bird-watching in Mangrove Bay. We had a pleasant time in the bird hide there but would probably have seen more birds if the water level had been lower. The bay itself was more productive and generally a very worthwhile stop.

df92b540-0957-11ea-9717-790e74b37e6d.jpgA Mangrove Grey Fantail kept us amused

A Mangrove Grey Fantail kept us amused

Eastern Reef Heron

Eastern Reef Heron

Little Egret in flight

Little Egret in flight

Mangrove Bay

Mangrove Bay

59525a10-0959-11ea-b30c-999c05a550d6.jpgWildflowers at Mangrove Bay

Wildflowers at Mangrove Bay

We returned along the coast, stopping at Tantabiddi, where we saw a White-bellied Sea-Eagle on its nest, right in the middle of the car park. A little further north we dropped in at the Jurabi Turtle Centre which was very interesting and must be wonderful to visit during the nesting or hatching seasons. Nearby Vlamingh Head Lighthouse stood tall at the end of the peninsula. As far as I can establish, Phillip Parker King named Vlamingh Head, when he visited the area in 1818, in honour of the Dutch explorer Willem Vlamingh who had visited the area 200 years earlier.

Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon

Rocky coastline near Vlamingh Head

Rocky coastline near Vlamingh Head

Vlamingh Lighthouse

Vlamingh Lighthouse

The Big Prawn in Exmouth

The Big Prawn in Exmouth

In all we spent 4 nights at Bullara, enjoying walks, relaxation, trips out and very good birdwatching. The station covers 250,000 acres in a region known by the local Yingarrda people as punurrba, meaning 'sea breeze'. However, the station was named after a state-owned boat that sailed up the coast in the 1900s. We enjoyed a few more birds near the hut before finally, and reluctantly, leaving.

Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk

Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk

Diamond Doves

Diamond Doves

Rufous Whistler

Rufous Whistler

Crested Pigeons

Crested Pigeons

Finally, it was time to leave and head further south to Carnarvon, some 315km, via Coral Bay. The latter is a delightful spot and we wished that we had had an extra day to come here. We could at least have snorkelled in the clear waters over the corals and perhaps seen some of the interesting underwater life there. It looks as if we are going to have to come back - yet again!

Our first view of Coral Bay

Our first view of Coral Bay

Judith with Jet Set at the viewing point

Judith with Jet Set at the viewing point

Jet Set solo at the viewing point

Jet Set solo at the viewing point

Jet Set really enjoyed the sand at Coral Bay

Jet Set really enjoyed the sand at Coral Bay

View over Coral Bay from the viewing point

View over Coral Bay from the viewing point

When we reached our cabin at Norwesta Lifestyle Park (an AirBnB place) only find that it was very compact and had no cooking facilities - far from the "complete flat/house" advertised! We were also not impressed to hear that our neighbours had paid considerably less than we had. We made our feelings known and Michelle, the new owner, was very apologetic and sympathetic. She quickly had the description changed and refunded one night's accommodation, so we felt that we had a fair deal.

The camp kitchen, which was close to our cabin, was brand spanking new with all mod cons. As the park is convenient and the cabin reasonably priced, we would probably still have booked it - but with the knowledge that there would be limitations.

Posted by SteveJD 08:35 Archived in Australia Tagged birds history coral_bay buidlings exmouth carnarvon karratha cossack dampier bullara_station pearling Comments (0)

Kakadu to Darwin

...with one or two side trips

sunny 37 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

The name, Kakadu, comes from the mispronunciation of "Gagudju" which is the name of an Aboriginal language spoken in the northern part of the Park.

On our first full day in Cooinda, (this is an Aboriginal word meaning 'happy place' (cooinda.net.au), we had booked on the Yellow Waters Cruise which was excellent, with our knowledgeable guide, Dennis, making it all the more enjoyable. If I listed everything that we saw, I would need another book, let alone a blog. I hope our pictures will tell the story. Dennis was part Aboriginal and part New Zealander so had some interesting and amusing views which he shared with us.

Sunrise over the South Alligator River

Sunrise over the South Alligator River

Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile

20190513_IMG_4724.jpgPandanus palms and a similar cruise boat to ours

Pandanus palms and a similar cruise boat to ours

77d067b0-9187-11e9-bdd6-41f42623f2b8.jpgNankeen Night Heron and Plumed Whistling Ducks (well-named!)

Nankeen Night Heron and Plumed Whistling Ducks (well-named!)

773f2430-9187-11e9-bdd6-41f42623f2b8.jpgWater lily and crocodile nest

Water lily and crocodile nest

White-bellied Sea-eagle

White-bellied Sea-eagle

20190513_IMG_4760.jpgComb-crested Jacana and chicks

Comb-crested Jacana and chicks

73f158c0-9187-11e9-b08e-ab34f523e853.jpgAustralasian Darter perched and in the act of diving

Australasian Darter perched and in the act of diving

Magpie Goose on nest

Magpie Goose on nest

Freshwater Crocodile

Freshwater Crocodile

Forest Kingfisher

Forest Kingfisher

20190513_IMG_4788.jpgAustralian Pelican on approach and splashdown

Australian Pelican on approach and splashdown

We returned from the cruise for an excellent breakfast (included in the cruise package) and then, with the company of a Gilbert's Dragon, relaxed for the rest of the morning before taking a drive out to Nourlangie where we saw some fascinating Aboriginal rock art. According to Wikipedia, "Europeans were first in the area of Noulangie Rock in about 1845, after Ludwig Leichhardt’s explorations passed through the area. By the 1880s, European buffalo and buffalo shooters had moved into the area, and local Traditional Owners joined their shooting parties. Traditional Owners told the buffalo shooters about the Dreaming stories at Burrungui and the many names of all the natural features of the landscapes. Chaloupka argues that the Europeans couldn’t remember all of the names, and called ‘Nourlangie’, a confused pronunciation of the name of the area generally called ‘Nawulandja’". This is the first I have heard of European buffalo in Australia but who am I to doubt Wikipedia?!

Gilbert's Dragon

Gilbert's Dragon

20190513_IMG_4806.jpgTwo styles of kangaroo paintings

Two styles of kangaroo paintings

7433ab80-9290-11e9-8901-91a2f9f6fab3.jpgPaintings to illustrate a story and information board about this story

Paintings to illustrate a story and information board about this story

73f08800-9290-11e9-8901-91a2f9f6fab3.jpgA strange figure and a basic figure with hand stencil

A strange figure and a basic figure with hand stencil

Both that afternoon and the following morning (after sharing our breakfast with a Pied Heron) we visited Anbangbang Billabong, near Nourlangie, as this had been recommended as a good place for birds. There was a good variety of waterbirds but had great difficulty with the light at the times of our visits.

Anbangbang Billabong

Anbangbang Billabong

Wandering Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese

Wandering Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese

You have been warned!

You have been warned!

We moved on a short distance to stay at Jabiru from where we visited Mamukala Wetlands which was a great area for both birds and butterflies.

Monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies

Black and White Tiger butterflies

Black and White Tiger butterflies

Fruit of pandanus palm

Fruit of pandanus palm

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Comb-crested Jacana chick

Comb-crested Jacana chick

Peaceful Dove

Peaceful Dove

Jabiru is named after the stork which is common in the area but the name originates from a similar South American bird. The South American stork has an inflatable neck bladder, unlike its Australian counterpart and its Brazilian name means 'blown out with with the wind', referring to this inflatable bladder!

On our last afternoon in Kakadu, we drove to Ubirr where there were some very different and interesting examples of Aboriginal art. We climbed to the top (almost!) of the rock from where we had sweeping views over the Nadab floodplain. The sunset would have been magnificent from there but we felt that we should do the rock scramble down while it was still light.

Interesting depiction of a person - hunting?

Interesting depiction of a person - hunting?

Various fishes - very detailed

Various fishes - very detailed

Steve looking up at some of the paintings

Steve looking up at some of the paintings

A Lined Fire-tailed Skink

A Lined Fire-tailed Skink

Thought to depict a Thylacine (Tasmanina Tiger, now extinct)

Thought to depict a Thylacine (Tasmanina Tiger, now extinct)

Mimi figures - some Aborigines believe these Mimi people pulled the roof of the cave down, painted their pictures and then put the rock back in place

Mimi figures - some Aborigines believe these Mimi people pulled the roof of the cave down, painted their pictures and then put the rock back in place

Steve looking out over the Nadab floodplain

Steve looking out over the Nadab floodplain

The Sun getting lower through smoky haze

The Sun getting lower through smoky haze

Judith wondering what Steve is up to!

Judith wondering what Steve is up to!

Generally, I have been able to find the meanings of place names but most of the places mentioned above seem to be just the names of places with no apparent meaning. I am sure there are Aborigines who could explain a meaning but even one official site was even now, still seeking a meaning for the name Mamukala.

On our way to Darwin (253km plus our detours), we stopped again at Mamukala and were again rewarded with good sightings, including a Brown Goshawk perched above the car park, devouring a lizard of some sort.

Our cabin at Jabiru in Kakadu

Our cabin at Jabiru in Kakadu

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Blue water lily

Blue water lily

Comb-crested Jacana

Comb-crested Jacana

Brown Falcon ripping into its prey

Brown Falcon ripping into its prey

Brown Falcon - replete!

Brown Falcon - replete!

A short way along the road, we spotted a very scrawny Dingo - our first ever sighting.

large_20190516_IMG_4928.jpglarge_b8f5dcc0-95c4-11e9-9eec-bba98a3af2ad.jpg

We stopped again at South Alligator River where we had a coffee break while admiring a couple of Osprey. Not much further on (we do travel slowly when we can!), we stopped at some wetlands which were teeming with water birds of various sorts.

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Pied Heron

Pied Heron

Not far from the park entrance, there was a sign to the Window on the Wetlands Centre, on the Adelaide River. Here we had to walk up a steep ascent (no wheelchair access here!) to the centre which was very interesting but, cruelly, their ice cream kiosk was unmanned! The temptation to take one and leave the cash was great but we were brave and made do with water!

We then drove on and stopped at Fogg Dam which is a wonderful place for birds, not far from Darwin. Having enjoyed the open wetlands areas, we decided to take a short walk (time was running away from us) in the monsoon forest. Other than huge spiders and squadrons of mossies, we were not as well rewarded here and we hoped to return at a better time of day. Sadly, the return visit was not possible.

Black Kite with prey

Black Kite with prey

Ibis and Egrets take to the air

Ibis and Egrets take to the air

Intermediate Egret thinking it is a Jacana!

Intermediate Egret thinking it is a Jacana!

Jabiru strolling by in stately fashion

Jabiru strolling by in stately fashion

White-bellied Sea-eagle in flight

White-bellied Sea-eagle in flight

Boardwalk through part of the monsoon forest area

Boardwalk through part of the monsoon forest area

Golden Orb Spider

Golden Orb Spider

White-breasted Gerygone

White-breasted Gerygone

We found Big 4 Howard Springs Holiday Park on the southern outskirts of the city, where we had a very comfortable cabin.

Parked outside the cabin

Parked outside the cabin

As our laptop had again be playing up, we decided to play safe and get a backup/replacement, so some time was taken finding a computer shop and then looking at the various options. In the end, we bought a neat little Acer which was exactly what we wanted in 2017 - it is smaller than our Dell, has masses more disk space and all the USB ports we needed - progress! As the Dell is limping along, Judith has laid claim to the Acer.

Having sorted our computer needs out, we then visited the Howard Springs Nature Reserve which is a lovely place just down the track from where we are staying. The main pool has a variety of, mainly quite large, fish and some turtles and then there are various walks into the forest area. A really great place for families to bring kids to play and for adults to generally unwind.

As the day was running out, we then drove into Darwin to take sunsets from the Esplanade before enjoying a meal of threadfish salmon - we had never heard of this before but it was delicious.

The "Streeter" crossing the bay as the sun lowers

The "Streeter" crossing the bay as the sun lowers

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Sunset from the Esplanade

Darwin, or more correctly Port Darwin, was named by Captain J.C. Wickham, when he was exploring the coast in 1839 aboard the HMS Beagle, after Charles Darwin who had sailed on the HMS Beagle earlier. The name was changed in 1869 to Palmerston but then changed back to Darwin in 1911 (Aussie Towns).

We had, as usual, not allowed enough time in Darwin and most of the last day there was spent visiting the excellent Military Museum. A fairly small but very good indoor exhibition and extensive grounds with outdoor exhibits of vehicles and some of the huge guns used for Darwin's defence as well as other buildings containing artefacts from various wars.

Parked in one place too long?

Parked in one place too long?

One of the defences for Darwin

One of the defences for Darwin

The day was slightly marred by the beginnings of a bout of gastro-enteritis but we went towards Mindil Beach but it seems there was an event on so other than Judith having to undergo a Random Breath Test, we didn't even get close. Instead, we chose to go to the Waterfront which is a very smart area now. A Japanese four-master was in dock, we spotted a few interesting birds and the whole place looked great for drinking, dining, swimming and generally having fun. This, all too soon, brought our visit to Darwin to a close.

Japanese four-master in port

Japanese four-master in port

Some of the new apartments by the water

Some of the new apartments by the water

Fun and games in the large swimming area by the apartments

Fun and games in the large swimming area by the apartments

Wind-ruffled woodswallows

Wind-ruffled woodswallows

Having arrived in Darwin, we have reached the end of the part of our trip following Stuart and the following describes his coverage of this last stretch and the aftermath - Stuart and his party continued north carefully and Stuart named the Strangeways River before reaching the Roper River which had been discovered by Ludwig Leichardt. He was again in known territory and set his sights on reaching the Adelaide Rivers, some 320km northwest. On the way he named tributaries of this river, Priscilla Creek, Elle Creek and Anna Creek. Further on they were following Thring Creek when he realised that
they had reached the Indian Ocean. It is hardly surprising that the highway from Port August to Darwin is called the Stuart Highway. The Overland Telegraph was in due course constructed. Stuart was awarded £2,000 for opening the overland route and other members of his party were rewarded for their efforts. Not long after Stuart's return, Chambers died and Finke was ill. Stuart's hair had turned white, he was almost blind and his health had been severely affected. He returned to his native Scotland, to his sister and they both moved to London. In 1858 the Royal Geographical Society had awarded him a gold watch in recognition of his achievements and in 1860 the Society awarded him the Patron's medal (before him, only David
Livingstone had twice been honoured by the Society).

Posted by SteveJD 12:13 Archived in Australia Tagged birds darwin kakadu ubirr nourlangie jabiru cooinda mamukala fogg-dam Comments (3)

Broome to Karijini National Park

...via Eighty Mile Beach, Cape Keraudren and Port Hedland

sunny 28 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

Broome had more to offer but we had had to make advance bookings at other sites, so had to move on. We set off on a 379km drive to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park. We stopped at Sandfire Roadhouse for an obligatory beer on the way. I believe the roadhouse burnt down a few years back - maybe it had more character then as it did not live up to other Outback roadhouses but is OK for a rest stop.

The bar area

The bar area

large_e5cc3660-da2d-11e9-91c1-054d888b2569.jpgTwo views of the front of the roadhouse

Two views of the front of the roadhouse

At Eighty Mile Beach we had a very nice cabin with the only drawback being that, as it was made of metal, wifi and phone reception was zilch! We had known nothing about this place but it was yet another place where a longer stay would have been most enjoyable. The beach is great for beach-combing and the birdlife is pretty good. It is also a very sociable place, to judge from our brief experience.

Our cabin and vehicle

Our cabin and vehicle

View of part of the park from dunes

View of part of the park from dunes

White-breasted Woodswallow

White-breasted Woodswallow

Tree beginning to fill with White-breasted Woodswallows

Tree beginning to fill with White-breasted Woodswallows

It's a long beach!

It's a long beach!

And it is smothered with seashells

And it is smothered with seashells

A beautiful White-bellied Sea-eagle cruised by

A beautiful White-bellied Sea-eagle cruised by

Some walkers on the beach at sunset

Some walkers on the beach at sunset

Australian Pied Oystercatchers joined the party on the beach as the sun went down

Australian Pied Oystercatchers joined the party on the beach as the sun went down

The sun setting over the beach

The sun setting over the beach

The beach became so peaceful after the sun had gone down

The beach became so peaceful after the sun had gone down

Eighty Mile Beach lies along the north-west coast of Western Australia about half-way between the towns of Broome and Port Hedland. The beach is some 220km in length (so a good deal more than its name would suggest!), forming the coastline where the Great Sandy Desert approaches the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most important sites for migratory shorebirds, or waders, in Australia, and is recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. (Wikipedia)

We delayed leaving the park in order to find some more birds and then drove on down the coast (289km to Port Hedland, so no rush).

White-winged Fairy-wren (a pretty little bird but I would love to have seen on in breeding plumage!)

White-winged Fairy-wren (a pretty little bird but I would love to have seen on in breeding plumage!)

One of many Zebra Finches

One of many Zebra Finches

The drive south was through low coastal bush or sandbush, so not enthralling and we were glad to find a turn off to Cape Keraudren where we had our lunch by the sea. A couple camped nearby had a superb collection of shells which they had gathered from the beach, so we had a wander and picked up a few very nice pieces.

Not all of the beach is sandy!

Not all of the beach is sandy!

A Hermit Crab in its shell

A Hermit Crab in its shell

Hermit Crab almost out of its shell - it was quickly returned to terra firma

Hermit Crab almost out of its shell - it was quickly returned to terra firma

Ruddy Turnstones and Grey-tailed Tattlers on the rocks by the beach

Ruddy Turnstones and Grey-tailed Tattlers on the rocks by the beach

Eastern Reef Egret

Eastern Reef Egret

We then drove to Cootenbrand Creek, a short way along the beach, where there was good fishing, good birdlife and, walking along to the sea, more birds and shells - a pretty good, unplanned, stop. I have been unable to find the origin of the creek's name.

0b9bec60-da69-11e9-a654-b3120c77ab39.jpgTwo views of the creek

Two views of the creek

A couple of Brolgas made a brief appearance near the creek

A couple of Brolgas made a brief appearance near the creek

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

The fishing is good!

The fishing is good!

A scattering of Sea Urchin cases cast up on the beach

A scattering of Sea Urchin cases cast up on the beach

Three Beach Stone-curlews

Three Beach Stone-curlews

Two Beach Stone-curlews in flight

Two Beach Stone-curlews in flight

One of the Sea Urchin cases, showing lovely markings

One of the Sea Urchin cases, showing lovely markings

Cape Keraudren is located at the southern end of Eighty Mile Beach and was charted in 1801 by a French expedition on which Pierre Francois Keraudren served as the ship's physician. Both the cape and an island further north were named after him.

In Port Hedland we stayed in a cabin at the Discovery Parks site, another comfortable stay. The town is named after Swedish-born Captain Peter Hedland who, in April 1863, anchored his cutter Mystery in a natural harbour which he named Mangrove Harbour. At the time Hedland was searching for a suitable place to land stock that his vessel was carrying. The area is known as Marapikurrinya ('place of good water' or the hand-like shape of the tidal creeks) by the local Aboriginal people. (Aussie Towns). The port is the highest tonnage port in Australia and is the main fuel and container receiver in the area and a hub for the export of iron ore from the Pilbara.

There were a few birds to be seen around our cabin which was perched on a cliff overlooking the beach. After doing a supplies shop, and a bit of window shopping, in South Hedland, we headed back to Koombana Park in Port Hedland for some late afternoon photography. The park is named after the SS Koombana which vanished, with all 150 people aboard, during a tropical cyclone just off Port Hedland in 1912 - a bad year for shipping as the SS Titanic was also lost that year! Three years earlier, the SS Koombana had been the first ship to moor at the newly-opened jetty at Port Hedland. The ship derived its name from a Nyoongar name for a bay at Bunbury. The ship had had a short and chequered career before disappearing.

The park itself is not large but has a pleasant palm tree-lined walk along the clifftop, with access to the beach below, and a nice shady grassed area behind the path.

A Peaceful Dove near our cabin

A Peaceful Dove near our cabin

Rainbow Bee-eater near our cabin

Rainbow Bee-eater near our cabin

Palm trees line the path by Koombana Park

Palm trees line the path by Koombana Park

20190609_IMG_5478.jpgA paraglider flew back and forth enjoying the sunset

A paraglider flew back and forth enjoying the sunset

A bulk carrier waiting to berth

A bulk carrier waiting to berth

Black-shouldered Kite hovering

Black-shouldered Kite hovering

The last golden glow

The last golden glow

As we set out for Karijini, we passed an enormously long ore train (a common sight in the area) and also had a brief glimpse, on the outskirts of the town, of huge white pyramids of salt at the Dampier salt works. Other visitors are advised to make time for a visit to the latter as, apart from being photogenic, it is very interesting and nice to know where products that we use actually come from.

Part of one of the ore trains

Part of one of the ore trains

One of the pyramids of salt

One of the pyramids of salt

View of the salt works

View of the salt works

On our way down to Karijini, we stopped at Two Camel Creek Rest Area. This is quite a large area where 24 hour stopping is allowed, free of charge, but full facilities are not provided. For us, this was a coffee stop and a chance to stretch our legs and look at the bush, which looked pretty bare but on closer inspection had many flowers.

Flower of Corchorus laniflorus

Flower of Corchorus laniflorus

Flowers of Single Leaf Indigo (Indigofera monophylla)

Flowers of Single Leaf Indigo (Indigofera monophylla)

Flowers of Dwarf Myall (Acacia ancistrophylla)

Flowers of Dwarf Myall (Acacia ancistrophylla)

Small succulent-like plant with small white flowers

Small succulent-like plant with small white flowers

Closer view of the flowers on the small shrub

Closer view of the flowers on the small shrub

Interesting yellow wildflower, a small very open and sparse shrub

Interesting yellow wildflower, a small very open and sparse shrub

I bit further on we stopped at a viewpoint where we started to get a flavour of what was next to come in the Pilbara.

Getting into some more interesting country

Getting into some more interesting country

On our way to the viewpoint

On our way to the viewpoint

A lovely Ghost Gum near the shelter at the viewpoint

A lovely Ghost Gum near the shelter at the viewpoint

Ghost Gum below the cliff at the viewpoint

Ghost Gum below the cliff at the viewpoint

Wider view from the viewpoint

Wider view from the viewpoint

We then reached Karijini Eco Retreat where we settled into our comfortable tent. In the evening we had an excellent meal at the restaurant, luckily close to a heater as it was getting chilly. We chose our coldest night there to try out some star photography. I had no success but Judith managed to save the day with what I think is a rather nice one for our first real attempt (we had made a half-hearted attempt at Mt Ive in South Australia a couple of years ago but we did not have remote releases and under-exposed some shots, getting virtually nothing or got streaks from longer exposures. We shall try again sometime - when we find another dark sky!

The road into Karijini National Park

The road into Karijini National Park

We were spoiled for photogenic trees

We were spoiled for photogenic trees

Our Eco-tent

Our Eco-tent

Nice sleeping/living area - flap by the table leads to 'al fresco' bathroom area - very cold in the evening and morning!

Nice sleeping/living area - flap by the table leads to 'al fresco' bathroom area - very cold in the evening and morning!

Neighbouring tents were mainly empty

Neighbouring tents were mainly empty

The dining area - open all around and, in spite of heaters, we needed fleeces for comfort

The dining area - open all around and, in spite of heaters, we needed fleeces for comfort

Part of the Milky Way from outside our tent

Part of the Milky Way from outside our tent

Posted by SteveJD 15:41 Archived in Australia Tagged birds coast seashells beachcombing western_australia port_hedland eighty_mile_beach cape_keraudren Comments (1)

Mabel Downs to Broome

...via Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby

sunny 28 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

After a rather hot stay at Mabel Downs, we set off on our next leg of 437km to our overnight stop at Fitzroy Crossing. After about 150km, we reached Halls Creek. Along the way we lost the boabs and drove through some fairly uninteresting scenery but then came across vast areas covered with termite mounds. Halls Creek did not have a great deal to recommend itself to us but we took a side road to China Wall, which was fascinating. This is a vein of white quartz, rising to about 6 metres above the surrounding countryside. This is the most prominent part of the vein, which extends for many kilometres and can be seen at lower levels further along the road. The vein at China Wall is quite fractured, giving the impression of large squarish 'bricks' enhancing the 'wall-like' appearance. It is a striking sight and well worth the short detour.

China Wall descending into a river valley

China Wall descending into a river valley

Close-up view of the 'brick-shaped' quartz

Close-up view of the 'brick-shaped' quartz

Fractured surrounding countryside

Fractured surrounding countryside

View along the river away from the wall

View along the river away from the wall

Very different rock strata opposite the wall

Very different rock strata opposite the wall

Senna pendula flower (apparently a weed) growing among the rocks opposite the wall

Senna pendula flower (apparently a weed) growing among the rocks opposite the wall

A further 109km along the road, we came across the Mary Pool Rest Area. This is one of the nicest free camping sites we have come across and we wished we had been able to stay there. The rest area is actually beside the Margaret River which was named on 29 May 1879 by the explorer Alexander Forrest, during an expedition in the Kimberley area, after his sister-in-law Margaret Elvire Forrest, wife of his brother and superior, Deputy Surveyor-General John Forrest, who was later to be Premier of Western Australia. The camp site has composting toilets but no water. Swimming is inadvisable due to the possibility of crocodiles being present. Despite that, it is a well-treed spot with plenty of birdlife.

7c840350-cbe0-11e9-bace-015e96b5df68.jpgA couple of shots of the countryside between Halls Creek and Mary Pool

A couple of shots of the countryside between Halls Creek and Mary Pool

The causeway at Mary Pool has seen better days!

The causeway at Mary Pool has seen better days!

Crotalaria (aka Rattlepods)

Crotalaria (aka Rattlepods)

Australasian Darter, White-faced Heron, Intermediate Egrets and Little Black Cormorants on a sandy spit

Australasian Darter, White-faced Heron, Intermediate Egrets and Little Black Cormorants on a sandy spit

Crewcut Kookaburra!

Crewcut Kookaburra!

Diamond Dove

Diamond Dove

Our last 178km was uneventful and we were happy to find our tented accommodation at Fitzroy River Lodge (just before the township of Fitzroy Crossing). It was very comfortable and spacious with adequate shading and the food at the pub was pretty good too.

Some of the areas en route were smothered with termite mounds

Some of the areas en route were smothered with termite mounds

Agile Wallabies to greet us at the Fitzroy River Lodge (they also ventured into the accommodation areas)

Agile Wallabies to greet us at the Fitzroy River Lodge (they also ventured into the accommodation areas)

Our Hilux beside our tent.  It doesn't look flash but was very nice inside

Our Hilux beside our tent. It doesn't look flash but was very nice inside

Fitzroy Crossing takes its name from the river which was explored in 1838 by Captain Stokes, who named it after Captain Fitzroy who had been a commander aboard HMS Beagle. Later on, local Aboriginals resisted European settlement and there were several bloody battles in the area (Aussie Towns).

While we were in Fitzroy Crossing we learned that the accommodation we had booked in Derby had been cancelled as the hotel had closed! The alternative offered to us had pretty dire reviews and, when we got there, indeed looked rather ropey, so we were glad to find Spinifex Hotel where we had a very comfortable stay. To their credit, Booking.com through whom we had made our original booking, refunded the difference in price - Spinifex was more expensive but worth it. Generally we try to find cabins or similar but, close to Derby, we had been unable to find anything of that ilk, so ended up at a motel. On our way there, we stopped at another very pleasant free camping spot, Ellendale, for a coffee break - here we were relatively fly-free! Our lunch site had a huge boab but the flies were so numerous that we had our lunch inside the vehicle and only did a minimum of exploring! Naturally, before checking into our motel, we visited the famous (infamous) Prison Tree, a very impressive boab.

An Emu kept us company for a short while

An Emu kept us company for a short while

A bulbous boab at our picnic site - fly ridden unfortunately!

A bulbous boab at our picnic site - fly ridden unfortunately!

The Prison Tree just outside Derby

The Prison Tree just outside Derby

Fruits of the boab

Fruits of the boab

Colours of the Kimberley

Colours of the Kimberley

Derby was named after Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, who between 1885-1886, was the British Secretary of State for the Colonies (Aussie Towns). It doesn't have a great deal to offer but was not as bad as some people had suggested.

We had been told that Derby Waste Water Wetlands were worth a visit and we did indeed see a good variety of birdlife, both from the shaded viewing point and around the car park area. Once we had our fill of wetlands birds, we headed off to the jetty where we enjoyed a wonderful sunset, while enjoying a good meal at the Wharf Cafe.

Brown Falcon

Brown Falcon

Western Corella - should be white but it has been dusting itself in Kimberley sand!

Western Corella - should be white but it has been dusting itself in Kimberley sand!

Grey Teal splashdown

Grey Teal splashdown

Red-kneed Dotterels

Red-kneed Dotterels

View over part of the wetlands

View over part of the wetlands

Brolgas

Brolgas

Why do we always have to mess things up?!

Why do we always have to mess things up?!

bf861f10-cd95-11e9-80ac-c5329a496836.jpgTwo images of an unidentified white and black butterfly

Two images of an unidentified white and black butterfly

Black Kite (we think!)

Black Kite (we think!)

Boabs spreading out over the wetlands

Boabs spreading out over the wetlands

Sunset at the jetty

Sunset at the jetty

Fishermen at sunset

Fishermen at sunset

When we moved on, it was a fairly short drive of 224km to Broome where we stayed in a lovely Airbnb cottage/flatlet in a densely grown tropical garden. The bathroom was alfresco but private and as the weather was good, this was no problem.

Peeking through from our chalet to the Hilux

Peeking through from our chalet to the Hilux

Our al fresco dining area

Our al fresco dining area

Outside the chalet

Outside the chalet

A four-poster bed, no less, for our sleeping area

A four-poster bed, no less, for our sleeping area

On 27 November, 1883 the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederick Napier Broome, declared that there would be "a townsite on the North Western point of Roebuck Bay hereafter to be known and distinguished as Broome." Broome was not driven by ego. He did not name the town after himself. The Western Australian Surveyor–General, John Forrest, had named the town. However it was Broome who proclaimed it. He was, however, less than impressed with the settlement claiming that it was nothing more than three graves and a few itinerants. He didn't realise that it would attract over 300,000 tourists every winter and become one of Australia's most famous holiday resorts (Aussie Towns).

Broome had been a bustling pearling port but by the 1970s was struggling. Lord Robert Alistair McAlpine arrived and saw the potential. Over a decade, he helped transform Broome into an internationally renowned tourist town. He founded Cable Beach Club and the Pearl Coast Zoological Gardens for endangered species. He founded the Broome Preservation Society which restored many old buildings and generally promoted and supported local culture, indigenous art and the pearl industry. He was made a Freeman of Broome in 2012.

On our first full day in Broome we drove into town, then out to Cable Beach for a quick recce and then down to Gantheaume Point. This was named in 1801 by Nicholas Baudin in honour of Honore Joseph Antoine Ganteaume, a distinguished French naval officer (for some reason an 'h' was added to this chap's name). The red sandstone cliffs are very striking and we were fortunate enough to see a pair of Ospreys at their nest in the lighthouse tower. Unfortunately, we were not there at low tide, so we did not see the dinosaur footprints below the cliffs.

Broome is, at times, a quiet tropical town

Broome is, at times, a quiet tropical town

Cable Beach

Cable Beach

Osprey near the nest

Osprey near the nest

The lighthouse tower in which the ospreys nested

The lighthouse tower in which the ospreys nested

The rocks at Gantheaume Point were colourful and showed signs of significant disruption and weathering

The rocks at Gantheaume Point were colourful and showed signs of significant disruption and weathering

View over the cliffs towards Cable Beach

View over the cliffs towards Cable Beach

From the Point we headed back to Cable Beach for the sunset. We did not get right down to the beach to get the iconic camels at sunset shot but it was a lovely sight anyway. Had we been down on the beach, we would probably have been jostling with other photographers for the best position, which may have taken the edge off our enjoyment!

Bust of Lord McAlpine in honour of his contribution to Broome's development

Bust of Lord McAlpine in honour of his contribution to Broome's development

View over the beach showing camel groups

View over the beach showing camel groups

Camels on the beach at sunset

Camels on the beach at sunset

The camels return to unload their passengers

The camels return to unload their passengers

Sunset over Cable Beach

Sunset over Cable Beach

On this trip we have booked more organised trips than previously and they have all worked out well. Willie Creek Pearl Farm was no exception! We were picked up and taken out to the farm where we given a thorough guided tour of all aspects of pearls and the pearl industry, all absolutely absorbing. Outside the main building, we were enthralled by Red-headed Honeyeaters, Yellow White-eyes, Double-barred and Zebra Finches in a tree just above our heads and then on a water feature right in front of us. We were so carried away that we almost missed the next part of the tour!

The long red road to Willie Creek

The long red road to Willie Creek

Willie Creek

Willie Creek

One of our guides explaining the intricacies of pearl farming aboard our cruise boat

One of our guides explaining the intricacies of pearl farming aboard our cruise boat

The main building at Willie Creek, including the very tempting shop

The main building at Willie Creek, including the very tempting shop

Yellow White-eye

Yellow White-eye

Double-barred Finch

Double-barred Finch

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

Red-headed Honeyeater

Red-headed Honeyeater

Red-headed Honeyeater with Double-barred Finches

Red-headed Honeyeater with Double-barred Finches

Singing Honeyeater

Singing Honeyeater

Another worthwhile trip was to the Broome Bird Observatory but before our afternoon trip there, we had a rewarding trip to the Waste Water Treatment Plant (the things we do to find birds!) and then had a look around Broome itself and found some fascinating relics of old pearling days.

Royal Spoonbills

Royal Spoonbills

A raft of Australian Pelicans

A raft of Australian Pelicans

A restored lugger on display

A restored lugger on display

Another old lugger in need of some TLC

Another old lugger in need of some TLC

An old diving helmet

An old diving helmet

It would be remiss to leave Broome without a photo of the famous/infamous Roebuck Hotel

It would be remiss to leave Broome without a photo of the famous/infamous Roebuck Hotel

The road to the bird observatory is pretty bad and, if you don't follow their instructions, your GPS is just likely to lead you into even worse roads. We managed to navigate our way there but stopped about 4km short of the reception area at a little pull in by Roebuck Bay. We stopped for lunch and found ourselves gazing out at a rock about 100 metres from the shore - it was heaving with birds. Mainly knots of one sort or another but also herons and gulls.

Some of the birds on the rock - mainly Great Knots with some Terek's Sandpipers

Some of the birds on the rock - mainly Great Knots with some Terek's Sandpipers

Crested Tern

Crested Tern

At the slightest movement the rock erupted as birds took to the sky

At the slightest movement the rock erupted as birds took to the sky

Steve sitting among the strange shapes wrought by sea, wind and weather

Steve sitting among the strange shapes wrought by sea, wind and weather

Beautiful and strange shapes caused, mainly, by the sea eddying around the sandstobe

Beautiful and strange shapes caused, mainly, by the sea eddying around the sandstobe

Intermediate Egret (with Eastern Reef Egret in cave)

Intermediate Egret (with Eastern Reef Egret in cave)

Intermediate Egret with an itch!

Intermediate Egret with an itch!

Having checked in for our tour, we had time to visit the viewing platform where a beautiful Brahminy Kite sailed back and forth in front of us. On the tour, led by Merren, we saw a good variety of birds but Yellow Chats were conspicuous by their absence! These are one of the star attractions but I think I'll settle for my memory of the knots wheeling in huge flocks off the rock and round and around before settling again, quite magnificent.

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

Black-shouldered Kite seen on our tour

Black-shouldered Kite seen on our tour

Our tour vehicle late afternoon, in search of Yellow Chats

Our tour vehicle late afternoon, in search of Yellow Chats

Posted by SteveJD 04:46 Archived in Australia Tagged birds coast camels broome derby fitzroy_crossing halls_creek boabs great_north_highway china_wall mary_pool bird_observatory Comments (0)

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