Ashmore Reef

Kimberley Birdwatching’s Ashmore Expedition 2018 is selling fast, contact us to secure your spot.

Brochure & Bird List & Information for participants

Lesser Black and Common Noddy at Ashmore 2012


Trip Details

The 2018 Ashmore Reef trip in November (8th to 16th) offers birders the opportunity to visit Ashmore Reef, Browse Island and the Lacepede Islands and seas off the NW coast during the spring. This period has proved over the years to be the most productive for interesting Pelagic species particularly Storm Petrels and vagrants found on the islands we visit.
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, Matsudaira’s & Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel, Abbott’s Booby and possible sightings of Tropical Shearwater. Cetaceans 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. More regular pelagic birdlife 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.

The trip enables participants 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 with rare species regularly recorded on Ashmore and the Lacepedes 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 of Australian firsts recorded on the island. The location is a perfect migrant trap for Australian and Asian land birds 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 over the years include Crested Honey Buzzard, Japanese & Chinese Sparrowhawk, Tiger Shrike, Siberian Thrush, Siberian Blue Robin, Asian Brown, Dark-sided, Grey-streaked and Narcissus Flycatcher, Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Arctic, Yellow-browed, Willow, Kamchatka leaf and Eastern Crowned Warbler, Asian Stubtail, Middendorff’s, Gray’s and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-throated and Pechora Pipit. Island Monarch, Red-billed Tropicbird, Northern Boobook and Red-legged Crake. This list of species is not comprehensive, there are more! This exciting number of vagrants can also be complemented by some more traditional Australian migrants, irregular migrants (Grey Wagtail) and Australian resident species that find themselves lost or disorientated. This extraordinary diversity demonstrates the mouthwatering potential these trip have to offer.


We have full access to all the Islands and Sand Bars on Ashmore Reef which is exclusive to this charter, we also have full access to Browse Island and the Lacepede islands.

Facilities on board MV Diversity

MV Diversity is a 20m catamaran. The vessel is custom built for charter work and is fully air-conditioned sleeping 12 guests.


Upper deck – 2 double cabins, with en-suites (these can be converted to twin share if need be).
Main deck – 4 twin share rooms with two share toilet/bathrooms.

Each cabin features:

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

Food and Drinks

The Diversity has an onboard chef who will provide fantastic food. If you have a particular food allergy please let the company know. Soft drinks and alcohol can be purchased in Broome and transferred onto the vessel when we board.

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.
It is essential that you bring your passport in the unlikely event that the vessel needs to seek shelter in Indonesia.

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

    Facebook Email Rss

    Leave a Message