This charter was a unique opportunity to visit the Lacepede Islands and Adele Island. Both islands are A class reserve’s and are recognised internationally for their importance as seabird breeding sites and wintering areas for migratory shorebirds. The extraordinary number of seabirds breeding here defies belief. The Lacepedes is an extraordinary place, mating Green Sea Turtles greeting us to West Island. I must admit I feel sorry for the females having spent all night digging holes, laying eggs and as soon as they are back in the water they are accosted by randy males attempting to mate and in doing so drag them under the surface. We had a welcoming committee of several hundred immature Brown Boobies flying over the dingy within arms reach.
Massive rafts of Common Noddies forming huge black patches on the beach. We saw Masked Boobies, lots of shorebirds, breeding Common Noddies—all in all a very exciting visit. With excursions to Secure Bay, South-east Twin Island, Rankin Island, Montgomery Reef and the Sale River, we took on a large part of the south-west of the Kimberley coast and certainly some of WA’s most spectacular scenery. The mangrove birds were particularly exciting, the Gallery Rainforest on the Sale River was fantastic with glimpses of Rainbow Pitta and the most beautiful fresh water swim. We left the best till last our visit to Adele Island some 150km due north of the mainland.
One of the highlights was to dinghy over the surrounding reef on the incoming tide; a beautiful calm day allowed us with the water like glass. We had our very own aquarium, fish, sharks and turtles everywhere—it really was spectacular. The birdlife was also exciting with Wilson’s Storm Petrels, White-winged Black Terns and Black Noddies amongst the more numerous Brown Noddies—it was a very exciting morning, and that was before we even went ashore! Once on land we quickly found Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigate birds amongst 1000’s of their more common relative Lesser Frigatebird. Common Noddy and Bridled Terns were also breeding and the number of shorebirds was quite extraordinary, identifying over 20 species. The highlight as we left the island was watching female Great Frigatebirds forcing returning Masked Boobies (full of fish) to crash land on the beach rather than regurgitate their prey—a clever ploy as the Frigates were then unable to pursue them any longer.