Ashmore Reef

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Brochure & Bird List & Information for participants

Lesser Black and Common Noddy at Ashmore 2012


Trip Details

This new Ashmore Reef trip in the March/April period offers birders a first time opportunity to visit Ashmore Reef, the Lacepede Islands and seas off the NW coast during the late wet season. Visits in April in recent years have turned up an extraordinary list of species and birding experiences, so much so that it has prompted the creation of this exciting charter.

The route is shown on the map on the following page and a detailed itinerary will be forwarded to people booking the trip. Our journey north from Broome targets deeper water along the continental shelf as we track north to Scott Reef and ultimately Ashmore Reef. These waters can be incredibly exciting, with huge potential for rare pelagic seabirds like Jouanin’s Petrel, Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Abbott’s Booby and even Persian Shearwater. Cetaceans can also add to the excitement with mixed species pods of dolphins including Spinner, Pan-tropical Spotted and Fraser’s Dolphin. Larger animals like Pilot, Melon-headed and Sperm Whale have been recorded regularly and rarer cetaceans including Beaked Whales species also hunt canyons that form the continental shelf, presenting plenty of spotting and ID challenges. More regular tubenoses include Bulwer’s and Tahiti Petrel, Streaked, Wedge-tailed, Fleshy-footed and Hutton’s Shearwater, and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. All three Jaegers species; Pomarine, Arctic and Long-tailed have been recorded.

Tropical Seabirds are in no shortage when close to Ashmore and the Lacepede Islands with three species of Booby, Lesser and Greater Frigatebird and eleven tern species. On Ashmore we have a chance to see Common, Black and Lesser Noddy breeding in close proximity while Roseate Terns in full breeding plumage take some beating.

The trip will also give participants the chance to compare Sooty and Bridled Tern and Crested and Lesser Crested Tern. Ashmore Reef and the Lacepede Islands also support large numbers of migratory shorebirds and many of the twenty-odd species will have attained breeding plumage. Rare shorebirds recorded on Ashmore include Common Redshank, Little Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Asian Dowitcher.

West Island on Ashmore Reef is an extraordinary place for rare birds and the Australian list is complemented by a number firsts recorded on the island. The location is a perfect migrant trap for Australian and Asian landbirds and this trip offers birders a unique opportunity to experience the excitement of finding something new, rare or unexpected.

The bird list for Ashmore speaks for itself. Species found during April include Crested Honey Buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Tiger Shrike, Siberian Thrush, Siberian Blue Robin, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Arctic, Yellowbrowed and Eastern Crowned Warbler, Asian Stubtail, Middendorff’s & Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Redrumped Swallow and Pechora Pipit. The diversity of this impressive list alongside the species recorded on the October trips over the years demonstrates the mouth watering potential this trip has to offer.

Facilities on board MV OCeania

MV Oceania is a 27m catamaran boasting an exceptional 9m beam. The vessel is fully air-conditioned and sleeps 20 guests, with 8 shared ablution facilities.


Upper deck – 3 double cabins, 6 berth family share cabin

Main deck – 4 double cabins 1 single berth

Each cabin features:

  • Double Cabins can be configured into two single beds or a queen.
  • Storage shelves
  • 240V power sockets
  • Reading lights
  • Storage
  • Bar fridge
  • Air-conditioning

Food and Drinks

As you’d expect we provide great coffee, hot chocolate and a selection of teas. Alcoholic beverages our available from our bar at very reasonable prices. We stock several beers, both mid and full strength, champagne, premixed sprits and a selection of nice house wines with a focus on our lovely Margaret River Wine Region. Let us know what you might like and we’ll make sure we have plenty at hand. You may also bring your own alcohol. Our meals are based on healthy local produce and fresh seafood wherever possible.

Travel Insurance

You will be travelling to an extremely remote location and medical evacuations can be extremely difficult and expensive. We strongly recommend that you carry comprehensive travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation and cancellation insurance.

Photos of many of the species mentioned above have or will be posted on

Brochure & Bird List & Information for participants

  • Ashmore Reef 2014


    Weather & sea conditions, tide heights & times, unusual sightings or events and other factors will affect this itinerary. The Oceania is capable of cruising at speeds of 11-12 knots. Within reason, enabling us to make detours to investigate birds or cetaceans where necessary without affecting the schedule. Daylight hours are from around 05.00 to 17.50.

    Ashmore Reef is a National Nature Reserve. A permit is required to visit and special permits are required to go ashore on each of the three islands. We have the necessary permits to land on West Island at any time and can approach East and Middle Islands by boat to ‘within a metre’ but not land. However, by special invitation from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations & Communities officers aboard the Customs Vessel at Ashmore, we may be able to land.

    Participants will need to arrange their own accommodation in Broome for the nights immediately prior to and following the trip. Although assistance may be provided for transfers between your accommodation and the boat, this is essentially your responsibility and a charge may be levied for any such service if provided.

    Data collected on these trips by the leaders and participants has contributed significantly to our understanding of the birdlife at Ashmore Reef and in the surrounding seas.

  • Types of Tours

  • Address

    PO Box 220, Broome 6725, Western Australia
    Phone: (08) 9192 1246
    Fax: (08) 9192 1246

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