Tag Archives: crab

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.

Cheers

Baz

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.

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South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula underwater

2 Dec

Dear Reader:

 I am snorkelling along the edge of the reef just off Aldinga Beach. The water is shallow and warm with just a light breeze ruffling the surface. Below me the terrain changes from seagrass to sand with a little outcrop of rocky reef in between and I am intent on photographing the variety of marine organisms that inhabit these different habitats.

 

A patch of reef near the seagrass beds

 

The reef has numerous invertebrates clinging to, and encrusting its wide variety of niches and a biscuit star is my first sighting. This pentagonal little seastar can be found on reefs and rocky surfaces and has a number of colour variations between light orange to reddish. It has quite large overlapping plates on its surface and has an arm radius up to 7cms.

 

Biscuit star alongside sea snail on reef

 

Leaving the little patch of reef behind I start to scour the seagrass bed where it meets the sand patches. My choice of location pays dividends as I disturb a blue swimmer crab that has been hunting in the seagrass.

 

Blue swimmer crab does not want to be photographed

 

Blue swimmer crabs have large pincers on their two front legs and paddles on the rear pair. They can be seen moving along the bottom in weedy and sandy areas but often bury themselves in the soft sand and mud. These large crabs can be quite aggressive when approached and feed on live animals as well as scavenging. They are migratory appearing from September to April in SA waters. Taking female Blue Swimmer Crabs with eggs and animals under 11 cms is illegal and there is a personal bag limit of 20 crabs per day. These restrictions help preserve the numbers of this commercially and recreationally valuable species.

These invertebrates are just two of my many encounters on the reef and the bushland around the Fleurieu Peninsula and I shall continue this story in my next post.

Cheers

Baz

Notes:

Over the next few months I will be writing a book about the wildlife of the Fleurieu Peninsula. My posts will reflect the research I am doing and provide more detailed information about each animal that I encounter.

Wildlife and Pub Food at the Port

25 Oct

Dear Reader;

It is a mild spring afternoon and there is barely a breath of wind to ruffle the waters of the inner harbour. A pair of sooty oyster catchers are foraging between the exposed rocks on the southern embankment. They are using their powerful blade-like beaks to prise shellfish from the rocks and dig in the sand for worms and crabs. The bright red beaks and eyes look like they have been painted by an artist with an exaggerated disposition for contrast.

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Sooty oyster catchers foraging at low tide (click on all images to enlarge)

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Soon to be lunch

 

I am walking around the wharves and shoreline of Port Adelaide. Originally nicknamed Port Misery by the early settlers who came ashore amongst the mangroves, mud and mosquitoes that once dominated the area; the Port has undergone many changes. Once a lively harbour that berthed dozens of ships delivering the provisions to establish a new colony; it is now a quieter, quayside community. People now come to the Port from the city, just 15 minutes away, to visit the maritime museum, shop at the weekend markets or go for a cruise along the Port River to catch sight of the world’s only urban dolphin pod.

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Dolphin cruise ship moored at the wharf

 

From the foreshore I walk past the pub and on to the old Birkenhead Bridge, the first bascule or lifting bridge in Australia. Glancing down at the old jarrah poles, driven hard into the river bed where they once stood as moorings, I notice that several silver gulls have chosen the iron clad posts as nesting sites. Every so often one of the birds lifts off its scruffy nest and checks the eggs, sometimes giving one a little push with its beak, perhaps to keep the distribution of heat even.

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Nesting silver gull

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Silver gull adjusting egg position

 

I watch the birds for half an hour. While one sits on the nest the other flies off in search of food further along the shoreline amongst the same rocks the oystercatchers were exploring just a little while ago. The foraging gull tugs on the end of a tube worm protruding from the fine sand and mud. It is about to extract the hapless invertebrate when a mudlark, usually a woodland species, emerges from a clump of nearby bushes and relieves the seabird of its prize.

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Mudlark feeding along the shoreline

 

Like the gull and mudlark I figure it’s about time for lunch and head for the Birkenhead Tavern and one of the best chicken schnitzels the Port has to offer.

the pub

Birkenhead tavern

Sorry, only one post this month!!!!!

Have been travelling overseas

Until next time

Cheers

Baz

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