Key Species : Magpie Goose, Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy-goose, Garganey (chance), Pied Heron, Striated Heron, Black-breasted Buzzard, Black Falcon (chance), Brolga, Pin-tailed Snipe (chance), Swinhoe's Snipe, Litle Curlew, Long-toed Stint, Painted Snipe (chance), Comb-crested Jacana, Oriental Pratincole, Australian Pratincole, Spinifex Pigeon, White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Northern Rosella, Common Koel (chance), Azure Kingfisher (chance), Collared Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Mangrove Gerygone, Large-billed Gerygone, Yellow Chat (good chance), Lemon-bellied (Kimberley) Flycatcher, White-browed Robin, Mangrove Golden Whistler, White-breasted Whistler, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Leaden Flycatcher, Mangrove Grey Fantail, Yellow Wagtail (chance), Star Finch, Pictorella Mannikin, Gouldian Finch, Zitting Cisticola (good chance). Mammals : Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis). Reptiles : Freshwater Crocodile, Saltwater Crocodile, Merten's Water Monitor (Varanus mertensi), Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus).
Also see the Birds Australia WA series of bird guide brochures including Wyndham.
1. Halls Creek Turn Off to Wyndham
Cheese Tin Creek - There are several creeks that you pass and any of them that still have water pools could be worth a look in the dry season. Cheese Tin Creek is possibly the best. Good numbers of finches come into drink including Pictorella Mannikin. The left side has quite a lot of melaleuca which if flowering will have a variety of honeyeaters including (Bar-breasted Honeyeater and Silver-crowned Friarbird). On the other side of the road you can flush quail from the grass, there are a good variety of birds along the creek, and we flushed a Black Bittern.
NAASRA Creek - This is signposted 16.5km from the Halls Creek turn off. There are usually some pools about 50 to 100 metres from the bridge on the left side. Finches and honeyeaters come down to drink. I have also heard Black-tailed Treecreeper, Grey Butcherbird, Olive-backed Oriole and Horsfields Bronze-Cuckoo.
The Grotto - This is a spectacular waterhole about 30km from Wyndham. You are almost certain to see White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, Northern Fantail, honeyeaters, finches, etc. I have seen Gouldian Finch and Pictorella Mannikin coming down from the slopes on the left, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, and Common Koel (in the wet season). You also have chances of Collared Sparrowhawk, Grey Shrike-thrush, Leaden Flycatcher, Varied Sittella, etc. In August 1995 I saw up to 14 Nankeen Night Herons which I thought was unusual. You can look from the top, walk down the stone steps, or search the hill side. Spinifex Pigeon should be a good chance if you walk to the top of the falls, and Chestnut-backed Button-quail might be a chance although I have only flushed Brown Quail. This is best visited very early in the morning while the birds are active and before the tourists arrive. Keep an eye on the sky along the highway in this area as it is possibly the best area to find Black-breasted Buzzard.
Wyndham Golf Course - This is on the left side of the road between the two roads to Marglu Billabong. I havent birded there, but it has been recommended to me, especially in the wet season for species such as Common Koel. Driving past, it looks like a good area of open woodland plus grass fairways that should be suitable for a variety of bush birds, finches and possibly Yellow Wagtail, etc in the wet season. Bush Stone-curlew has been reported here.
2. Marglu Billabong & Parry Creek
Jogalong Billabong - The first (all weather) access to Marglu Billabong is signposted on the right as Parry Lagoons 8. Power lines have been installed along the right side of the road. Look for Spinifex Pigeon right near the corner. At about 1.1km from the highway is the turn off to Marglu Billabong (signposted Parry Lagoon Nature Reserve), but if you continue for about another 3.2km you come to a small tree beside the road with the remains of a rusted car wreck. On the left is a watercourse that gets flooded in the wet season. We found large numbers of Swinhoes Snipe plus a few Pin-tailed Snipe along this watercourse in the flooded grass in January 1995. We followed the creek to the right for about 1km but my map shows that it goes for about 3km plus another 2km to the left. The watercourse still had water in September 1995 but only a small variety of waterbirds. During the wet season there are also flooded areas on the plain some of which are about 100m from the road on the right which also had Gallinago sp. snipe and other waders.
Jogalong to Parry Creek - If you continue for about 2.8km past the car wreck you will reach a road junction. On the right is the Parry Creek to Kununurra Road which goes through to Ivanhoe Crossing except that it is blocked about 13km along the road because of the Noogoora Burr Quarantine Area. There is some discussion of reducing the quarantine area, in which case the map shows some excellent billabongs and areas prone to flooding. If you turn left at the junction for 200 metres you come to the K-AUS Parry Creek Farm (08 9161 1139) where there is a large water hole along the creek. This should have a good variety of waterbirds plus honeyeaters and other bush birds. I also saw an Azure Kingfisher and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle. The farm is a recent ecotourism venture. If you continue at the junction for another 1.5km you come to a concrete crossing of a creek. There is usually a pool on the right, and you can walk along the creek to the left. I saw Broad-billed Flycatcher, Northern Fantail, White-browed Robin, Yellow Oriole, Bar-breasted Honeyeater and heard Horsfields Bronze-Cuckoo. I also squeaked in a Taipan! You can continue past the creek but you come to a gate on the edge of the Noogoora Burr Quarantine Area.
Jogalong to Marglu - From the 1.1km turn off to Marglu it is about 5.1km to the hill that overlooks the flood plain and the billabong. This road is pretty good but requires a 4WD in the wet season due to two patches of about 30 metres of black soil. There is a sign warning that the road can be closed from December to April, so contact CALM or a tourist bureau to check. The plain beside this road is usually good for finches (including Pictorella Mannikin), raptors (including Spotted Harrier and Brown Falcon), Singing Bushlark, quail and button-quail.
Marglu Billabong - This is one of the birding highlights of the east Kimberley. The dry season access road across the flood plain is about 7km along a black soil track about 11km from Wyndham. This can be good for finches, Singing Bushlark, Golden-headed and Zitting Cisticola, quail, etc. Tawny Grassbird has been reported (as common by some people but I think that they are seeing Golden-headed Cisticola). The main wetland is the billabong below the hill. The billabong to the left of the parking area is open water while the water to the left has trees on both banks and becomes more of a creek. There is a metal boardwalk with a couple of viewing areas although it needs a rubber covering. There can be 20,000 birds even in the dry season (mostly Plumed and/or Wandering Whistling-Duck and Magpie Geese). The other common species are ducks (including Radjah Shelduck), Brolga, Black-necked Stork, egrets, herons, endemic Australian and migratory waders, spoonbills, ibis, etc and possibly as many as ten species of raptors. It can be worth walking around the shore to the left of the parking area where in September 1995 I saw good numbers of Yellow Chat, Oriental Plover, Australian Pratincole, and a scattering of other migratory waders. There are also a good variety of other birds. You should see 50 to 80 species in half a day within walking distance of the parking area. You also have a chance of seeing less common species in the wet season such as Little Curlew, Painted Snipe, Gallinago sp. snipe and Yellow Wagtail. It is a long shot but there could be an outside chance of Red-backed Button-quail and King Quail has been reported in areas of wet grass.
Parry Creek - The billabong continues to the right past the information board to Parry Creek. There is a rough 4WD track that follows the creek for about 3km. The creek is lined by trees that usually have Nankeen Night Heron and could possibly have uncommon species such as Little Bronze-Cuckoo and Azure Kingfisher. I have also flushed crocodiles into the water, but I didnt look closer to see which species! The track continues away from the creek on to the plain for a further 2.5km before coming to a creek crossing. The creek here is usually dry but would be good when the melaleucas and eucalypts along the creek are flowering.
Flood Plain - There are two side tracks on the left about 3.2km along the main track from the highway across the flood plain. I followed the middle track which was not always distinctly marked but is easy driving (except for two dips!) in the dry season (dont go near it in the wet season). About 6.5km along the track I came to a wet area about 100m to the right of the track. The shallow pool is about 500m long with clumps of bulrushes in places. In August 1995 I found seven Yellow Chats, lots of Australian Pratincole and Red-capped Plover, a few Red-necked Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and a Common Greenshank. This pool would be very good when access is possible just after the wet season but it was dry by September. There is a larger pool about another 1km further on (about 300 metres to the right of the track) that had also dried out by September. A further 1.5km along the track you get close to some trees but the track becomes very indistinct. As I returned across the plain a small quail (possibly not Little Button-quail) crossed the track, and nearby I found a group of six Zitting Cisticola (white tip to tail and different call).
Old Road to Wyndham - About 1.2km along the main track from the highway there is a track to the left. This leads around the Bastion Ranges for about 25km where it reaches Wyndham near the crocodile farm at the port. The track is rough with bull dust in places and I didnt go all the way. About 9.3km along the track there is a dam with a few waterbirds and some birds coming in to drink, but not much of special interest.
3. Wyndham Town
Wyndham Harbour - The wharf is a good location for Collared Kingfisher (usually found under the wharf), Striated Heron, Brahminy Kite and a few waders. There was a report of a dark headed gull there a few years ago. You can enter the mangroves (10 metres should be enough) at the far end of the wharf. You should be safe but keep a watch for crocodiles. You can find Mangrove Grey Fantail, Yellow White-eye, Mangrove Gerygone, Large-billed Gerygone, Mangrove Golden Whistler and Broad-billed Flycatcher. I have also seen White-breasted Whistler and Lemon-bellied (Kimberley form) Flycatcher. There are also some mangroves at the Crocodile Lookout, and near the boat launching ramp behind the tourist bureau.
Tidal Mud Flats - The tidal mud flats behind the mangroves are generally disappointing but if you look closely there are often waders (such as Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint) which might include something different.
Mangroves Across Mud Flats - I have once checked out the mangroves between the town and the port. I parked at the Pioneer Cemetery. It was disappointing but (if you dont mind the sticky mud) they could be worth a look for general mangrove species plus there maybe a chance of something less common such as Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Lemon-bellied (Kimberley form) Flycatcher, Large-billed Gerygone, Chestnut Rail, etc. Beware of crocodiles and mosquitoes.
Wyndham Town Oval - The main oval is close to the road on the way from the town to the port. It is worth a quick check (especially in the wet season) for Little Curlew, Yellow Wagtail, Richards Pipit, Straw-necked Ibis, etc.
Wyndham Sewage Ponds - The sewage ponds are located behind some melaleucas down a track behind the town oval. Turn down Sharpe Street and continue straight ahead at the corner with Ord Street. You should find a small number of waterbirds (Australian Shelduck was seen once), waders and other birds (possibly Yellow Wagtail).
Wyndham Caravan Park (08 9161 1064) - The (only) caravan park is located down Baker Street across from the town oval. This can be an excellent site for birds coming in to drink such as finches (including Gouldian Finch), Spinifex Pigeon, honeyeaters, etc when the park is not too full.
Wyndham Hospital - The hospital is down the back roads, but is well signposted from near the giant crocodile. This used to be a good site in the dry season, especially if there is a leaking tap or the sprinklers are on the lawn as you come into the car park, but it has been disappointing the last few times. I have seen Gouldian Finch (and other finches), Jacky Winter, Northern Fantail, etc.
Wyndham Town - Apart from the above locations, if you walk around the town and look on the power lines, you have a good chance of seeing White-breasted Woodswallow, Sacred and Red-backed Kingfisher, Olive-backed Oriole, finches, honeyeaters, etc.
Five Rivers Lookout - This is well signposted. The road is quite steep so dont tow anything. Chestnut-backed Button-quail has been reported on the way up. The lookout gives an excellent view over the whole area and is especially good at sunset. However, I doubt if there are many birds of special interest.
4. King River
Stony Hillsides - The King River Road is quite good but rough, so I would recommend a 4WD. I was told that Chestnut-backed Button-quail could be found along the road in areas of stony, spinifex covered slopes with a scattering of eucalypts. However, I have looked briefly a few times without success.
Singhs Garden - At about 9.5km there is a track to the right that leads about 200 metres to an area known as Singhs Garden. There isnt much there but if you are prepared to walk a kilometre or so along the tidal creek you should reach the mangroves along the King River. Another 2.3km along the King River road there is a small track to the right. About 200 metres from the road there is a mangrove lined creek. The mangroves looked quite good but had very few birds. Again, if you are prepared to follow the creek then you should get to some better mangroves along the King River.
Mangroves along King River - You reach the edge of the King River after about 16.5km. You will find Mangrove Gerygone, Yellow White-eye, Mangrove Grey Fantail, a few waders, etc and lots of mosquitoes. There would also be a chance of Lemon-bellied (Kimberley form) Flycatcher, Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Chestnut Rail, Large-billed Gerygone and Great-billed Heron but there are only about 200 metres which greatly reduces the chances. I saw my first Black Falcon for WA along this stretch of the river. I havent done it but you could walk back along the road and follow the mangroves.
Moochalabra Dam - This is about 12km along a side track on the left about 2.7km past the edge of the King River. There is only a small area that is accessible, but you might find a few birds of interest such as Black-chinned (Golden-backed) Honeyeater, Northern Fantail and possibly a few waterbirds on the dam.
King River Waterholes - About 5.4km past the turn off to Moochalabra Dam there is a large permanent freshwater pool from where water is pumped to the dam. I havent spent much time there but I know that there are Shining Flycatcher, White-browed Robin, etc. There is very often a large saltwater crocodile so be careful and dont go swimming. If you do see a saltwater crocodile then report it to the CALM office in Kununurra (08 9168 0200). If you cross the King River just before the pool you can continue on to Diggers Rest station where there is another pool. I believe that you can continue on to the Gibb River Road but you would need to be a very keen 4WDer.
5. Gibb River Road
King River - This is about 15km along the Gibb River Road. I passed here once on a tour but dont remember anything, and we didnt stop.
Emma Gorge (08 9161 4388) - This is about 23km along the Gibb River Road. I havent been here but it is a popular swimming and camping spot, and would almost certainly have some birds of interest.
El Questro Station (08 9169 1777) - This is about 13km past the turn off to Emma Gorge, followed by about 15km to the homestead. There are many places to camp and to swim. We camped beside a creek on a tour where we found Barking Owl, Nankeen Night Heron, Varied Lorikeet and many other species. There are a good variety of birding habitats that would be good.
6. Boat Trips
Lower Ord River - Cambridge Gulf Fishing & Scenic Tours (08 9161 1305) run by Branko Raicevic of Branko BP Motors operate boat trips. They are expensive ($150 per person for 6 people), but it would be very worth while exploring the banks of the Ord River (and King River). It would be an excellent site for Great-billed Heron, Chestnut Rail, Shining Flycatcher, Mangrove Robin and possibly WA rarities such as Large-billed Gerygone, Black Butcherbird, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove and Rufous Fantail. They have the required local knowledge of the tides, open water, crocodiles, etc. Macka's Barra Camp (08 9169 1759) advertise birding as a highlight and could possibly enable access to the lower parts of the river.
Parry Creek - It is difficult to access Parry Creek from land, but a boat trip would be excellent for mangrove species. Chestnut Rail, Great-billed Heron, Mangrove Robin, etc have been reported from the mangroves along Parry Creek.
Adolphus Island - This is a sizable island near the mouth of the Ord River. I dont know anything about it, but I would be surprised if there was nothing of interest.
Kununurra / Wyndham Bird List (Microsoft Word 95) (31KB)
Wyndham Tourist Information Centre, O'Donnell Street (08 9161 1054).
Wyndham Crocodile Farm (08 9161 1124).
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002||Visits||Last Modified 31st January 2002|