Port Hedland Birding Sites

Key Species : Eastern Reef Egret, Striated Heron, Pin-tailed Snipe (summer chance), Little Curlew (summer), Asian Dowitcher (summer), Broad-billed Sandpiper (summer), Red-necked Phalarope (summer chance), Beach Stone-curlew (chance), Pacific Golden Plover (summer), Lesser Sand Plover, Oriental Plover (early summer chance), Oriental Pratincole (late summer), Lesser Crested Tern (good chance), White-winged Black Tern (summer), Dusky Gerygone, Mangrove Robin (chance), Mangrove Golden Whistler (chance), White-breasted Whistler, Yellow Wagtail (summer chance), Star Finch (chance), Barn Swallow (summer), Yellow White-eyeMammals : Common Wallaroo (Euro) (Macropus robustus), Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus).  Reptiles : Fat-tailed Diplodactylus (Diplodactylus conspicillatus), Perentie (Varanus giganteus).

Port Hedland (Post Office S20 13 46" E118 34 34") is located on the north west Pilbara coast between Karratha and Broome.  The newer part of the town is located at South Hedland (Post Office S20 24 33" E118 35 57").  Port Hedland is a major centre for iron ore and industrial salt.

Port Hedland has a lot of potential for birding especially over summer when there is a good chance of rarities being found.  Port Hedland is the most common site in Australia for Asian Dowitcher, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope, although access to the best site is unfortunately restricted.  It is an excellent area to look for waders, terns and mangrove species.


1. South Hedland

Sewage Works (S20 24 57" E118 34 26") - This is accessed on Shoata Road which is 1km south of the South Hedland turnoff.  This is an unsealed road.  The sewage ponds are 2.5km along the road.  The best viewing is along the western side 400 metres further along.

?Bridge? - This is 19km west of the turnoff to South Hedland.  They have blocked off the best place to park on the west side of the bridge, so this can be a problem.  There is nearly always water on both sides of the bridge which attracts a variety of waterbirds including Darter, cormorants, egrets, Great Crested Grebe, waders, etc.


2. Wedgefield

Sewage Works (S20 22 08" E118 35 50") - This is opposite the Lions Club of Port Hedland on Schillman Street off Pinga Street.


3. Tidal Creek

The road to Tidal Creek is 1.3km north of the Broome turnoff and signposted Redbank.  The road leads 1.3km to the first access point to the creek.  The track past this point gives access to the creek in a few more places, and also access to other areas of mangroves.  The track after a further 1.1km goes as far as a lookout (S20 20 38" E118 36 40") and then returns around the other side.


4. Six Mile Creek

The road to Six Mile Creek is 1km north of the entrance to the salt works.  Follow the unsealed road for 3.3km to the parking area (S20 19 31" E118 40 03") near the mouth of the creek.  The best time to visit is from October to March when the tide is ebbing and the waders and terns return to feed.  You should see Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover and Red-capped Plover, and you have very good chances of seeing Broad-billed Sandpiper and a fair chance of seeing Asian Dowitcher.  You can look for waders at the creek mouth, or you follow the sand track at the right for 300 metres to a small beach along the creek (S20 19 40" E118 39 58") where you also can see Striated Heron, Yellow White-eye, Dusky Gerygone, Mangrove Grey Fantail and possibly Mangrove Golden Whistler, White-breasted Whistler and Collared Kingfisher..  


5. Port Hedland


Sewage Ponds - xxx

Rugby Oval & Race Course - xxx

Port Boat Ramp - xxx

Spoil Bank Recreation Reserve - xxx

Pretty Pool - xxx


6. Dampier Salt

The Dampier Salt evaporation ponds are located more than 30km east of Port Hedland.  They are an excellent area for waders.  Access is severely restricted, and the only practical way to visit the area is to be part of a formal wader count or wader banding expedition.  This is an excellent place to look for Broad-billed Sandpiper, Asian Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Banded Stilt, Orange Chat, Painted Finch, Brolga, etc.


7. De Grey River

The De Grey River bridge east of Port Hedland is a good place to bird for an hour or so.  You can look from the bridge, but it is better to follow the track down to the river on the east side of the bridge.  Look for waders, waterfowl, egrets, cormorants, Black-necked Stork, raptors, Red-browed Pardalote, Sacred Kingfisher and possible Western Bowerbird.




Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2010 Visits Last Modified 12th May 2010