Broome Bird Observatory Tours
Join our expert interpretive guides as they introduce you to the diverse birdlife of Roebuck Bay and the adjacent bush, wetlands and plains.
WE REGULARLY conduct variety of birdwatching and nature tours, each visiting different habitats and presenting opportunities to see a variety of species. Availability and timing of tours vary according to the tides and accessibility after the wet season. On request, we can also conduct short walks on the Observatory grounds for those who would prefer not to venture farther afield.
Advanced bookings are best
Although we may have spaces still available on the day of a given tour, we recommend that you book tours in advance. We can even tailor the schedule to meet your specific requests if you are the first to book on a given day.
- Please read the tour descriptions below to help you decide which would best fit your interests. In addition, we may be able to provide individually designed tours that cater to your specific birdwatching objectives if you contact us well in advance of your visit.
- Please email us at email@example.com or phone 08 9193 5600 for tour enquiries and bookings.
- See below for tour prices and additional information.
Roebuck Bay shorebird tour
This tour focuses on viewing the birds for which Roebuck Bay and the Observatory are so famous. We spend approximately two hours investigating roost sites along the northern shores of the bay during the high tide period. At this time, the shorebirds are forced from their feeding areas by the rising tide and come to rest at specific locations along the shoreline.
You will have an opportunity to view a wide variety of shorebird species at relatively close range, allowing you to discern the sometimes subtle features that distinguish them. Your guide will describe key identification criteria, as well as discuss the ecology and conservation importance of Roebuck Bay and the incredible life cycle of the migratory shorebirds that utilise the bay.
You will also hear about the extensive research that is conducted on the shorebirds of the bay, of which BBO is an integral part. Travel between the roost sites is by vehicle and very little walking is required for this tour.
Our Shorebird tours are scheduled close to selected high tides.
We begin at the end of Crab Creek Road, where the pindan meets the plain and the extensive mangrove system of the eastern shores of Roebuck Bay begins. This two-hour tour includes a walk of about one kilometre, each way, along the beach to reach a more extensive area of mangroves along Little Crab Creek.
You will spend time deep among the mangroves, searching for several special birds typically restricted to this habitat, including Mangrove Grey Fantail, Dusky Gerygone, and Broad-billed Flycatcher. You may even be fortunate enough to glimpse a male White-breasted Whistler, perhaps one of the most beautiful Australian birds.
After emerging on the far side of the mangroves, you also have an opportunity to view shorebirds and many other waterbirds foraging on the mudflats.
Our Mangrove tours are conducted at low tides.
Bush and Plains tour
We head out to explore the wetlands, salt flats, natural grasslands, and bush of the adjacent Roebuck Plains. The focus of the plains tour can vary greatly depending on the season and the time of day. Soon after the wet season, the plains are largely inaccessible, but freshwater wetlands provide an opportunity for viewing a variety of waterbirds. As the plains dry, the waterbirds leave, but the grasslands and salt flats become more accessible. During the dry season we visit some of the freshwater bores on Roebuck Plains. This is a great opportunity to see Honeyeaters and bush birds.
A variety of species typically restricted to the more open habitats of the plains can be found on this tour, including Woodswallows, Pipits and Songlarks. If conducted in the late afternoon, this tour can also provide an opportunity to see the rare, nocturnal Northern Nail-tail Wallaby.
Our Bush and Plains tours are conducted in the afternoons.
Yellow Chat twitch
Roebuck Plains is the most accessible and reliable place in the world to find Yellow Chat, one of Australia’s least known endemic birds. Therefore, the best way to see this species is on a BBO Yellow Chat Twitch!
Many Australian birdwatchers have never had the pleasure of watching flocks of this highly specialised and beautiful species bounce through the desolate samphire flats. Yellow Chat is one of the “must see” birds of the Broome region, and you should not miss what is likely your best opportunity to see this hard-to-find species.
- This two-hour tour is not on our regular tour schedule but is available upon request.
This tour is a full-day discovery of the various habitats and birds of Roebuck Plains Station. We typically leave the Observatory at 8:00 am and return after 4:00 pm.
Our focus is on several freshwater lakes, but travelling between to lakes you will also experience the open plains and bush of the area. Birds observed on the lakes and their margins include a variety of ducks, ibis, grebes, and freshwater shorebirds.
The lakes and plains also support an excellent variety of birds of prey, and it is not unusual to see ten or a dozen raptor species in the day. In addition, large numbers of beautiful Brolgas and Australian Pratincoles are almost a certainty. If you are looking for a very full and productive birding day, this is the tour for you.
We provide tea/coffee and bickies for mid-morning and afternoon, but you need to bring your own lunch. This tour is typically scheduled on one day every week from June through at least September, but may be available on additional days upon request.
Prices and additional information
- Two-hour tours, including the Shorebird Tour, Mangrove Tour, Bush and Plains Tour, and Yellow Chat Twitch are $70 per person from the Observatory or $115 per person from Broome.
- The all-day Lakes Tour is $150 per person from the Observatory or $195 per person from Broome.
- All prices include GST and are valid through 2013.
- Children aged 8-12 are half price.
- All tours include use of binoculars and telescopes.
- Tea/coffee and biscuits are provided on the Lakes Tour and at the conclusion of two-hour morning and early afternoon tours.