We have been at BBO for far longer than we expected, but it has been a wonderful stay. We are leaving in just a couple of days. The birding has slowed down, as it must. We have seen most everything we could reasonably hope for and more. We have wonderful new friends in Nigel and Jaime, and in Graffy and Dave. The tribe expands. My US bird friends would effortlessly dovetail into these wonderful Aussie bird friends. I am so grateful for this place, these people and this whole opportunity to explore and bird so much of Oz.
To catch up… we haven’t been doing all that much. Lynn and I chased Roseate Terns earlier last week and with two visits to their roost, we got them. And by we I mean, Lynn. We were at Willie Creek (there is a pearl farm there, no we did not buy any pearls). I was scoping through the scores of terns as best I could across a couple of hundred meters of water. Then Lynn had one fly up and out toward us, I missed it, but she had cracking views of a flying Roseate. I continued with the scope and got some long distance views as well and I was and am, grateful.
|This digi-scoped photo looks as if it were drawn by a child with pastels, but that one in the middle with the long bill is a Roseate Tern (I think).|
On Sunday, I walked the soles off my Keen sandals (literally, they are wrecked) as Nigel and Dave and I walked about a kilometer to view the other point at Willie Creek. Unfortunately, the flock that Lynn and I had seen, which was almost all Roseates and Commons, was not there and we saw no Roseates, but we had a nice walk in the 40+ degree heat along the shade-less beach (there was an excellent breeze though). And to get within a kilometer of the point, Troopi rolled us through some ridiculously deep, soft sand and some big holes. My confidence in my girl builds. I am very grateful.
|They have gone a lot of miles, but they are now done. They did get me back to Troopi.|
|Dave and Nigel at the beginning of the long walk to the point.|
|A White-winged Black Tern gliding over a few of the others at the point. The large flock of common-type terns that Lynn and I had seen was evidently elsewhere.|
And then, Monday was a surprise boat trip! Nigel asked us if we wanted to go out on a fishing boat that we could bird from as well. It was a beautiful boat, a much more comfortable boat than on any pelagic I have done (Brian’s big boat in Hatteras is quite comfy, but this was broader with much more seating in the shade). We left from the beach. There’s a little amphibious boat that drives up onto the beach to collect everyone. It was very cool.
|The little amphibious boat is to their left and the boat we are going on is to their right.|
About an hour offshore, almost the first bird we spotted was the Streaked Shearwater that we were hoping for. It had been a nemesis bird for Nigel, and it would be a lifer for Lynn and me. We ended up seeing a lot of them. Tick! I am grateful. I also had proper looks at Roseate Terns (finally). All in all it was a very comfortable, enjoyable day. The seas were also ridiculously calm. We saw quite a few turtles (Loggerheads I believe) and sea snakes as well as the occasional pods of dolphin.
|Heading out... |
|Mackerel Tuna feeding on the surface (there's one jumping out of the water on the right).|
|Roseate Tern in the middle there.|
|Roseate Tern going by the boat (photo: Nigel Jackett)|
|Sea Snake (do not know what kind).|
|Streaked Shearwater Lifer Selfie for Lynn, Nigel and me.|
There were about a dozen fishing persons, all bottom-fishing with bait and catching a fish now and then. Since the birding was slow, I asked if I could use the rod with a jig on it for a bit and see what happened. They said I could (I had not paid to fish, so it was nice of them- I also told them if I caught anything, the boat could keep it). I caught three fish! The fish in the photo is a Blue Lined Emperor. Evidently I can still work a jig right well. That really was fun. It had been a very long time since I caught a fish. This was my first fish in the Indian Ocean and come to think of it, in the southern hemisphere period. I am grateful.
|The Old Man and the Sea back in his element.|
Lots coming up, stay tuned I will keep y’all posted! Sending good vibes to all from northwestern Western Australia.
Birds. Peace. Love.