Tag Archives: bream

Fish and Explore West Lakes Inlet

22 Jun

 Fish and Explore West Lakes Inlet 

Dear Reader:

The receding tide has left the mud flats exposed and several species of birds are making use of the food sources it presents. A Sooty Oyster Catcher is probing the mud for shellfish and a Masked Lapwing is looking for worms and other soft bodied animals. Their beaks, feet and hunting styles are well adapted for each individual diet.


Sooty Oystercatcher


Masked Lapwing


I am exploring the inlet between the Port River and West Lakes. The water flowers under Bower Road and there is access to both sides of the inlet. Lawns, shelters, public toilets and barbecues are available on the West Lakes side as well as free carparking and even a bike and skate park. Something for all the family!


Spinning for Salmon Trout


A nice Bream


On the Port side the water is flowing out swiftly and some anglers are casting for Salmon Trout while the lone fisherman on the West Lakes shore has caught a couple of sizeable Bream. The calmer waters of West Lakes allows me to explore some of the rock facings and photograph schools of small bait fish that are feeding on the surface.


Pied Cormorant


Both Black and Pied Cormorants are fishing in the area. They paddle along the surface for a while then dive and use their webbed feet and shortish wings to aid steering and propulsion underwater. Cormorants’ eyes are well adapted with special lenses that allow them to see clearly underwater. In addition, the jagged tooth like structures on the edges of their beaks enable them to grab and hold slippery fish.


Mangrove leaves and spider web


On the western side of the Port River Basin there is a significant growth of mangrove trees. They provide yet another significant environment. Numerous birds, insects, spiders and marine invertebrates inhabit this zone and it is very important as a breeding and nursery area for many marine fish species.


Small bait-fish feeding on the surface


My walk around the inlet has been most rewarding. Apart from the animals photographed I have also encountered Pelicans, Terns, Stilts and tiny Plovers. Grubbing around in the muddy areas on the fringes of the mangroves I found numerous shellfish species and some little mangrove crabs that live in holes and under rocks. 


Mangrove crab species


The West Lakes Inlet on Bower Road is certainly a diverse and interesting place to spend some time. Give it a try when you have a spare few hours.



Additional notes

This is an easy walk/drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors with public toilets, barbecues, parking and other facilities nearby. It is dog friendly.

All the photographs for this article were taken using a Nikon Coolpix P900 

Please pass on this blog title and or contact information (URL) to any person or organisation with an interest in taking walks and enjoying wildlife in SA.

 See more South Australian stories and pictures in Weekend Notes


Old Noarlunga….A River Walk

17 Apr

Dear Reader;

As I pull the SUV into the parking area I can hear the sound of cockatoos and corellas foraging in the recreation area just a cross the road. At the beginning of the walking trail several monarch butterflies are hovering around a stand of late flowering eucalypts. They are all part of a sudden surge of activity following recent morning showers; a welcome distraction after a long hot summer and a dry start to autumn.


Corellas feeding



Monarch butterflies



There are several marked trails that I can take from the park but today I am simply following the bitumen path along the river front to get some idea of the terrain and wildlife. This side of the river is bordered by the little township of Old Noarlunga and the area is quite significant in terms of South Australian history. For thousands of years it was a meeting place for the Kaurna people who lived along the river banks in natural caves or dome shaped dwellings. Later, during the early years of European settlement the area was a rest stop for bullock trains and some of the timbers and bricks in the park are remnants from the old Horseshoe Inn that burnt down in 1987.


One of the larger pools



On the far side of the river, the summer brown hills rise steeply and there is mixture of native scrub and cleared grazing land. A wood and cable bridge links the two banks and a small group of students appear to be carrying out some kind of environmental survey on the opposite bank.


Footbridge across the river



The river is at its lowest during this time of the year; a series of large pools linked by pebble strewn shallows where the water flows slowly. At the far end of one pool a white faced heron is hunting stealthily amongst the rocks. Every so often the bird jabs its long beak into the water to grab, what appears to be, some kind of large insect larvae.


Grey faced heron hunting



After a while I decide to rest on a large tree stump above one of the larger pools and simply watch the water. Near the reed beds I can make out the shapes of some sizeable bream cruising between the bank and several submerged logs in the middle of the river. At the end of the pool there are large black cormorants perched on branches that overhang the water. Surprise!!! They are also watching the fish.


School of bream in shallow water



A few hundred meters further up the track there is a side road that leads to The Old Noarlunga Hotel. In the warm weather a drink and lunch are a welcome break before I head back on the other side of the river. As I start to pack away the camera, a flash of grey catches my eye. A large bird flies along the river bank and lands in the trees quite close to where I am standing. Pulling the camera back out, I walk slowly towards the target keeping a large tree in line for cover. It turns out that the bird is an Australian bittern, a heron-like species that is not often seen in the daylight hours.


Old Noarlunga Hotel



Australian bittern



Half an hour later, refuelled and rehydrated I shoulder arms and head back down to the river to explore the other bank. But that area will be the subject of a future post, perhaps in the springtime, when the character of the river will have changed again.




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