The Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus is one of the noisiest shorebirds around Broome and should you happen to not notice it amongst any rocky outcrops it will soon advise you of its presence. They are a large shorebird with a down-curved bill and are like a larger version of the Little Curlew. At high tide they will congregate together in a small flock and often they will roost amongst the other shorebirds. Whilst the other shorebirds are resting at high tide the Whimbrel will soon easily bore of standing still and run amongst the flock. If you ever want some movement amongst a flock of settled shorebirds you can rely on the Whimbrel for that!
One other aspect of shorebird life is that sometimes you just need a wash. It is not uncommon to see shorebirds wash along the shores of Roebuck Bay and often it will be just after the tide has turned. Once they have completed their washing the tide will have dropped enough and they can resume feeding. A shorebirds life in Roebuck Bay revolves around feeding, washing and going to a safe area to roost during the high tide. There is pressure from birds of prey, unleashed dogs and people, but they are able to find several places where the threats are minimised.
This week I saw some Whimbrels taking a wash and they really did look like they were enjoying themselves…..
Now, doesn’t that look like fun!?