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[Ashmore Trip 1] Day One: Melbourne to Broome

May 5, 2013

[This is the third in a series of ‘Ashmore Trip 1’ posts, essentially diary entries. Internet was unavailable at the Ashmore Reef, so they are being presented one-day-per-day now that I am back in Melbourne.]

07/04/2013

Woke up this morning, breakfasted, and bundled into a taxi with R and J. Have to leave my girlfriend, N, at home on this one – she consoles herself with penguinning at the St Kilda Breakwater.

Boarded a Qantas flight around 09:20, took four hours to Broome. Circled over Uluru on the way for a decent view.

We are certainly in the tropics here: mango trees adorn the street-sides, and it sits in the mid-30s Celsius. After settling, R took R2 and I to the local sewerage ponds to birdwatch. Many lifetime-new species for me: Whistling Ducks, Singing Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Black Kites, Whiskered Tern, Red-necked Lorikeets, the Spur-winged Plover subsp. miles, Friarbirds, Dollarbird. Those are the ones I remember. There were others.

A brief lunch, then R2 and I visited the local mangroves to twitch some more: Red-headed Honeyeater, Grey Mangrove Fantail, many hundreds of bright red fiddler crabs, and mudskippers.

Onwards to the mudflats: Red knots, Whimbrel, ?Terek Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Striated Heron, Gull-billed Tern, Greenshanks. This is almost unfair: the only species here that I can definitely remember seeing in Melbourne is the Magpie Lark.

Oh, yes: White-bellied Sea Eagle, Osprey, and Brahmini Kite. I knew I’d forgotten some.

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