Broome Bird Observatory Part 2
routine of the BBO is a mix of running tours for guest and day trippers
form Broome, and coordinating the more serious role that the Observatory holds for conservation and research. Tours include the Lakes Tour, which we took, Plains tours
and search for the Yellow Chat.
On the weekend we were
there a canon netting was scheduled and we (kind-of) volunteered to
The principle of canon netting is to set up a concealed net, wait for
a lot of interesting shore birds to start hanging out together on the beach, then to
explosively shoot the net out over the top of the birds without hurting
any of them, so they can be caught, weighed, measured and tagged.
You need a
very special license to do it, and you’re restricted as to when. It’s a
game with the tide because you need the birds to be far enough away
from the net so you don’t hit them when it shoots out, and
far enough away from the water that you don’t drown any.
think I have mentioned before that birds can be well, flighty. Lots of
little things can cause a flock of birds to launch off at the last
moment, so all of us – the ‘volunteers’ were asked to wait out of sight
at the top of the cliff. We were given instructions that on the sound of
the canon we were to race down the steep, narrow path down the cliff
and onto the beach where each of us was to run to our designated spot to
make sure no birds were trapped in the water where the might drown.
On the day we missed out on catching any birds, and missed out on
seeing the ones we didn’t catch because we were hidden away at the top of the cliff. Over all not the most satisfying experience, but one we can
chalk up to experience.
There were birds on the beach, in the right place, but not the right mix of species.
we’re honest we were both quite relieved- the idea of running down the
gully at break neck speed to make sure we get to the beach in time to
make sure no birds come to harm – not to mention making sure you DO NOT
WALK ON THE NET – well it was all starting to feel quite stressful.
The best part of the morning was helping roll up the net.