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On a humid February evening, we took the boat out to a sandbank in the middle of Roebuck Bay to photograph the tropical marine life that is only exposed on this vast expanse of fine, silty sand on a very low spring tide.  Brightly coloured sponges, Comb stars, Brittle Stars, Feather Stars and crabs littered the sandbank, which covers an extensive area in the middle Roebuck Bay.  Of particular interest were the multitude of tiny Feather Stars associated with the sponges and pieces of coral; we counted fifteen on one yellow sponge.  We also found a sponge riddled with Five Lined Ribbon Worm, another new find.

As the tide receded,  Broad-billed Sandpipers foraged in the soft silt towards the water’s edge.  These Sandpipers are the only member of the genus Limicola.  Breeding in wet taiga bogs in Europe and Siberia, these beautiful little birds spend the boreal (northern) winter around Roebuck Bay, feeding by sight on insects and small crustaceans.

Bright orange sponge on the Broome sandbanks.  Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises

Bright orange sponge on a sandbank in the middle of Roebuck Bay at low tide on a spring tide cycle.

Colourful giant sponges litter the sandbank on a low tide.

Colourful giant sponges litter the sandbank on a low tide.

Yellow sponge and Feather Star.  Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, Broome, WA

Yellow sponge and Feather Star

Pink sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps) - Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, sandbank cruise

Sea cucumber

Kandy Curren photographing marine life in Roebuck Bay.  Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, Broome, WA

Kandy Curren photographing marine life in Roebuck Bay, Broome.

Anemone

Anemone and Feather Star

A Brittle star on the Roebuck Bay sandbank, Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, low tide sandbank cruise

Brittle star

A Comb star on the Roebuck Bay sandbank, Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, Broome, WA

A Comb star lies exposed on a low spring tide.

Two different sponges on the sandbank at low tide - Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises, Broome WA

Two different sponges on the sandbank at low tide.

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Walking the sandbank on a low spring tide.

A Broad-billed Sandpiper searches for prey on the sandbank.  The Sandpiper has a distinctive white eyebrow and a kink in the end of its bill.

A Broad-billed Sandpiper searches for prey on the sandbank.  The Sandpiper has a distinctive white eyebrow and a kink in the end of its bill.

 

 

Kimberley Wildlife Expedition Cruises - Broome, WA

An incoming tide in Roebuck Bay covers the sandbanks exposed at low tide.

 

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