Broome …

The Kimberley adventure brought us finally back to Broome. We finished the trip at the Broome Bird Observatory.


One of the trio still needed a few mangrove birds for his Aussie list and Little Crab Creek, not far from the observatory, would be the place to find them. A tour of Broome including the Port, the playing fields and the sewage works is birding heaven. Add the proximity of Roebuck Bay, which even over winter holds a wonderful trove of migratory waders, Pindan woodland and open plains and a hundred species in a day can be seen with relative ease. I gave a guarantee that I would deliver the White-breasted Whistler and the Dusky Gerygone.

The first morning saw us in the mangroves beating off the mozzies. The whistler duly surrendered and what’s more, the first one to parade for us was a beautiful male, usually much harder to find than the drabber females and young males. But no Dusky Gerygone. Then off to Nimilaica, Barred Creek and back up the Derby Road to Taylor’s lagoon. A great day, some great birds but …

Dawn of day two and we were back in the mangroves, swatting the mozzies, ignoring the White-breasted Whistler, the Broad-billed Flycatchers, Yellow White-eyes, Mangrove Grey Fantails, Sacred Kingfishers, Brahminy Kites and the rest, reputation is at stake, I have never dipped on the gerygone, ever.

The Dusky Gerygone is found only in the mangroves from about Broome, south west along the WA coast to about Shark Bay. Gerygones are little birds, often grey or brown or greyish-brown, distinguished by subtleties of eyebrow or tail tip, and amongst all these the Dusky is distinguished by its lack of distinction, no contrasting tail tip, the subtlest of eyebrows. The clinching detail is the pale iris! You need a good look.

My colleague slapped another mozzie, I distinctly heard him muttering about trusting me instead of trying Streeter’s Jetty. Everybody gets them at Streeter’s Jetty.

A Yellow White-eye peeked out …

Yellow White-eye

Dime a dozen. Mangrove Golden Whistlers are much harder to find, I doubt that one has ever been dismissed as lightly as this one …


More muttering, then …

Dusky Gerygone

Reputation rescued.

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