Tag Archives: water birds

Maslins and Blanche Point to Port Willunga…a rewarding short walk

12 Mar

Dear Reader:

It is glorious summer’s day, not too hot and a gentle sea breeze. The view from the clifftop is spectacular. The outline of Gull Rock and surrounding shallow reefs are clear cut against an impossibly blue ocean. Inland, the view is quite a contrast with farmland, scrub and distant, low hills reflecting the dry shades of an Australian summer.

Gull Rock from the clifftop

Farmland, Raven and Hills

There are Little Ravens and Red Wattlebirds in the trees alongside the road leading to the carpark. In addition, I can see an adult Singing Honeyeater feeding one of its fledged chicks in the scrubby bushes near the entrance to the downhill trail. As I scan the ocean there is a pair of Bottlenose Dolphins far out to see patrolling the edge of a reef or seagrass meadow.

Reefs and seagrass from the clifftop

Singing Honeyeater

From the Blanche Point/Maslins hilltop carpark there are two ways to reach Port Willunga. The hilltop track is self-explanatory, or you can walk down the steps to the shore and follow the beach. The beach walk has two special features: take a mask and flippers to explore the shallow inshore reefs or examine the rock formations and fossil beds along the route.

Walking along the beach at low tide

Seagrass and brown algae: an underwater view

Today, I take the path which winds along the top of the cliffs then dips down towards the Willunga Creek outlet where there is a lovely patch of scrub and some old ruins. As I walk along this section of the trail I can hear Singing Honeyeaters and catch sight of a flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding on pine cone seeds.

Willunga Creek where it meets the sea

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos

Suddenly, the birds scatter in apparent panic as a Nankeen Kestrel lands on a power pole. The bird sits for a while and I try to get close enough for a clear shot. Finally I have to settle for a long distance telephoto image. Later, on review, I am quite pleased with the result from my Nikon P900 at this range.

Nankeen Kestrel

Just as I am about to leave the scrub and creek to head up to the restaurant I notice a parenting group of Australian Black Ducks emerging from the reeds. A lovely way to end my walk before indulging in some Calamari and battered fish at the Star of Greece Restaurant. The restaurant and nearby sheltered lookout have lovely views over the Port Willunga Beach, the fringing reef and the old jetty piles.

Remains of the old Port Willunga jetty

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is a moderate fitness walk with parking and other facilities nearby at Port Willunga. It is dog friendly.

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.

Click on these links and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles as well as locating similar blogs on Feedspot’s top 20 Australian wildlife blogs

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_wildlife_blogs/

https://www.onkaparinganow.com/News-listing/Iconic-cliff-top-path-for-Port-Willunga

Goolwa Barrage (1)…Seals, Kites and Pelicans

18 Feb

Seals, Kites and Pelicans

Australian Pelican

Dear Reader:

As I approach the barrage, which separates the fresh water flowing down the Murray from the salt water of the Coorong, I notice quite a lot of bird activity. Pelicans are flying low in the sky and there are both Ravens and Mudlarks scavenging along the rocky banks.

 

Mudlark or Murray Magpie

 

Little Raven

The Goolwa barrage is a ten minute drive from the town of Goolwa around 80 kms south of Adelaide. It is the last of a series of locks and barrages that control the flow of the Murray River along its entire length. They were originally intended to make the river more navigable for the elegant paddle steamers that once plied these waters carrying essential goods. Information about them is provided along the path leading from the car park to the  barrage. 

 

Information

Walkway to barrage

A row of statuesque Norfolk Pines lines the roadway to the barrage and I scan them for more birds. Sometimes I have seen kestrels and hawks perched in the uppermost branches but today I am surprised by an even larger raptor; a Whistling Kite. It seems that food must be plentiful with so many predatory bird species in the area.

 

Whistling Kite

Pelican and Long-nosed Fur Seal often called New Zealand Fur Seal

When I reach the barrage, I am greeted by a variety of wildlife around the first section which leads out into the river. There are Great Cormorants on the adjacent bank, a Long-nosed Fur Seal basking in the muddy water closer to the main part of the barrage and a seal and Australian Pelican near one of the old wooden gateways. A nice start to my walk out to view the barrage proper………..to be continued in my next post

Cheers

BAZ

Additional notes

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

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.

Click on these links and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles as well as locating similar blogs on Feedspot’s top 20 Australian wildlife blogs

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_wildlife_blogs/

Title:Goolwa Barrage(2)…..Hunters and Hitchhikers or ‘Bluey Takes a Rest’

4 Feb

Dear Reader:

In my previous post I took you from the car park to the beginning of the Goolwa barrage. Now we will explore the main part of the barrage where the water is streaming through the gates at an unprecedented rate due to severe flooding upstream.

View along the barrage

With the floodgates open there is an overabundance of food being washed out into the Coorong. The freshwater is laden with silt and leaves a brown stain across the seaward side of the barrage which actually extends to Goolwa Beach and Victor Harbor.

Enlargement of first image showing interspecies rivalry

Long-nosed Fur Seals, Australian Pelicans and Great Cormorants are positioned to ambush fish and any other food as the water cascades through the gates. On every level this is quite a spectacular natural event and onlookers, armed with phones and cameras, are making the most of the situation.

Too much of a good thing

I spend some time taking shots that I hope will capture the essence of this event as well as a few close-ups of the different species. When animals are engaged in feeding behaviour they often ignore people which creates the perfect opportunity for more intimate images.

Sub-adult Pacific Gull (still has darker markings)

Floats with Great Cormorants

Swallow at rest

It is time to leave. I stroll back along the walkway watching swallows, cormorants and occasional Pacific gull perching on bollards, chain link and floats. I am halfway back to the bank when I notice an elderly couple pointing excitedly at the area where I was just watching the seals.

Catching a ride

Close up of previous image

Time to go

Intrigued, I walk back to the viewing platform and to my surprise they have spotted one of the most unusual examples of animal behaviour I have ever witnessed. A few metres below us, a seal is resting in the water, catching the sunlight on a raised flipper with a Blue-tongue Lizard lying across its body. I can only assume the reptile is taking a break from the swiftly flowing water. The lizard stays for a few minutes before ‘disembarking’ and continuing its journey towards the far bank. Extraordinary!!!!

Historic Goolwa Hotel

On that note, I ‘call it a day’ and walk back to the car. My next stop will be the historic township of Goolwa. There is a wonderful gallery called ‘Art Worx’ where I love to browse and sometimes pick up something special for the house or garden. Finally, the Goolwa Bakery, for a chicken and vegetable pie and perhaps a vanilla slice to follow. Always a pleasant way to wind up any trip to this fascinating waterside location.

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.

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.

Click on these links and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles as well as locating similar blogs on Feedspot’s top 20 Australian wildlife blogs

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

https://blog.feedspot.com/australian_wildlife_blogs/

Commissariat Point’s Beachside Wildlife

25 Oct

Dear Reader:

The boat is high and dry on the turning tide. Time for a stroll along the shoreline. A little exploration of the intertidal zone.

Tide is Out

Commissariat Point is a ten-minute drive south of Port Augusta near the army testing and training grounds. It is a community of shacks, some quite opulent, where a few owners live permanently while others visit or rent on weekends and holidays.

Shacks, scrub and windfarm in the evening light

These upper reaches of the Spencer Gulf are also lined with one of the State’s truly wonderful trees, the Grey Mangrove. Mangroves live between high and low water and have many adaptations to help them survive this challenging environment. They produce aerial roots called pneumatophores which help the plant to breathe in the sticky mud that is common along the shoreline. Their leaves are shiny on one side and secrete salt particles on the other.

Grey Mangroves

Mangrove leaves

There is quite a lot of seaweed around the high tide mark. It has been deposited on the beach during winter storms and is home to a variety of animals. There are worms, crabs, insects and even small lizards in this unusual habitat which retains moisture below the sun-dried outer layers.

Gecko species in seaweed

Just above the high tide mark lies a thin line of vegetation which is tolerant to the windy and salty conditions. I am quite surprised to discover some Flax Lilies growing here. The delicate flowers are attracting a few buzz-pollinating native Blue Bees. The term buzz pollinating refers to their ability to spread pollen through the high frequency beat of their wings.

Blue-banded Bee on Flax Lily

The light is starting to fade and the tide is coming in as my walk draws to an end. A few wading birds are coming closer to the shore with the incoming water and I try my luck at photographing them in the soft light. A nice way to finish my initial exploration of this tiny settlement at the head of Spencer Gulf.

Heron using feet to help scare out fish and other small animals

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors with parking but no other facilities. It is dog friendly.

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Title Kangaroo Island….Day 2 Lesueur Conservation Park

30 Jul

Rosenberg’s Monitor a little upset

Dear Reader:

Grey clouds are shrouding the sky this morning and a cool wind is sweeping in from the sea. I check the weather app and there doesn’t seem to be any rain forecast for the day though the light will be poor.  My Sony RX10 has the larger sensor of my two cameras and seems the obvious choice for today’s jaunt through the nearby Lesueur Conservation Park.

 

Wildlife and Farm life

The unsealed road from the lodge towards Lesueur has been recently graded which makes travelling a little easier and I reach the turn off to the park in a few minutes. There is low scrubby forest to my left and verdant grazing land on the right. To my surprise, a flock of sheep near a small water hole are sharing their territory with Black Swans. A sweep with the telephoto also reveals a few Masked Lapwings and Grey Currawongs in the paddock.

 

Pea flower species

Blue Cockatoo Orchid

I make the signposted turn to Lesueur CP and a little way down the road I notice a cage trap set under a grass tree; I assume it is for feral cats which are a threat to all Australian wildlife from reptiles to birds. Today there are very few animals around which is fairly typical in cool overcast conditions and I decide to fossick around in the scrub adjacent to the road. The first thing I notice is the proliferation of flowering plants including native pea flower species and delicate blue orchids.

 

Grey Fantail and Silvereye

Red-browed Finch

There are small birds high in the trees but they are hard to identify. I come across a deep rut in the road which is partially filled with water. The vehicle scares several small birds away which are using the pool as a bathing area. After driving a several hundred metres down the track I leave the car and approach the ‘bird bath’ stealthily through the scrub. Taking up a position about fifty metres away I wait and within ten minutes they return. Long shots on a cloudy day do not make for award winning images but they do help me identify these small birds as; Silvereyes, Grey Fantails and Red-browed Finches. Meanwhile a large centipede is burrowing through the leaf litter next to the log I am sitting on. Telephoto to macro in a split second supports my use of bridging cameras in some circumstances.

 

Rosenberg’s Monitor (like all monitor lizards it has a forked tongue similar to that of a snake)

Centipede species

The wildflowers, centipede and small bird species have made the excursion into the park interesting and I am sure it is worth another visit on a more amenable day. I leave the park and take another randomly chosen track which takes me away from the coastal fringe. Five minutes along this route I see the flattened shape of a large lizard by the side of the road. I stop and take a closer look hoping it has not been injured or killed by a car. As I approach the goanna/monitor which instantly informs me of my error with a hiss and quick, aggressive lunge. I take a couple of shots and usher the animal away from the road.

 

Creek scene

 

View from the lodge

A little further on, the road passes over a small creek which is picturesque even on a dull day. It then intersects with another road, which my GPS informs me, leads back towards ‘Seadragon Lodge’( see link below for more information) where I started my day’s adventure. By now the clouds have shifted and patches of blue sky are brightening up the day. Time to relax, put a log in the combustion heater and sort through my images while enjoying the view across the gully to the ocean.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

Seadragon Lodge……  https://seadragonlodge.com.au/

This is an easy drive which is quite suitable for families and seniors and the lodge is wonderful with magnificent views and abundant wildlife.

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

 

Port Elliot to Goolwa…A Wildlife Drive

20 Jul

Scrub and dunes between Coorong National Park and Goolwa Beach

Dear Reader:

A lone Silver Gull is perched on the parking sign next to the Flying Fish Café on Port Elliot’s picturesque Horseshoe Bay. Two hours should be more than enough for a fish and chips lunch while watching a few brave souls taking a dip in the chilly winter waters.

Parking restrictions…seagulls only

Across the bay, a fisherman is unfolding a chair and setting his lines for a leisurely afternoon’s angling. Perhaps he will catch a squid or some Flathead as we enjoy the same species on a plate and without the effort.

Horsehoe Bay’s old Jetty

I am taking a drive along the southernmost part of the SA’s lovely Fleurieu Peninsular between the towns of Port Elliot and Goolwa. This area is well known for fishing, surfing and whale watching in the winter months when Southern Right Whale migrate through these waters from the Southern Ocean.

Goolwa Beach and photographer

My next stop is Goolwa Beach, a long sandy stretch of several kilometres ending at the mouth of the Murray River. If the tides are right, I will be able to take my SUV onto the beach between sand hills and surf; a really rewarding experience. I am in luck and able to drive some distance towards the mouth. There are a few tiny waders dodging the surf while feeding on worms and other invertebrates beneath the wet sand but they quickly fly away as I get close enough for a shot. A pair of Pacific Gulls are more accommodating and I get a good series of images using full extension of the Nikon P900 zoom.

Fun in the surf…Pacific Gull style

About a kilometre along the beach there is a sign indicating a track that crosses the dunes ending up at the Coorong National Park near the Goolwa barrages which separate seawater from freshwater. This area is my next destination and I must drive back along the beach and skirt the town to reach the park.

Beach crossing to the barrages

The part of the Coorong National Park I am exploring is just past the barrages and consists of shallow mud flats, reed beds and small islets; an ideal collection of habitats for a wide range of aquatic birds. There are Black Swans in the distance, an unusual Musk Duck a couple of hundred metres offshore and a White-faced Heron hunting in the grasses and pools next to the road. Meanwhile, Singing Honeyeaters warble in the scrub between the park and the ocean beach which we were driving along just fifteen minutes earlier. However, the most exciting birds in the area are a couple of quite different raptor species which are swooping and hovering close to the shoreline. The larger bird is a Whistling Kite and the smaller, a female Nankeen Kestrel.

Singing Honeyeater not singing

Whistling Kite

Lunch and a couple of lucrative wildlife drives have made the day a success. However, the coastal town of Goolwa has many other attractions and I spend a further relaxing hour pottering around galleries and other small shops. To finish the day, I buy a bun and coffee at the Original  Goolwa Bakery on Dawson Street (established in 1912) before heading home via Strathalbyn and Mount Barker; two more SA towns with much to offer an enthusiastic nature photographer.

Goolwa’s Artworx Gallery

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

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

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Houseboat 2022 Mildura to Trentham Winery….part 1

4 Jun

Houseboat sunset

For any regular followers:

(I am stepping outside my usual SA destinations posts to recount part of my latest houseboat adventure from Mildura. The town is on the Murray River just over the border from the SA Riverland towns of Renmark, Berri and Barmera). The terrain and wildlife are much the same as the Riverland

Dear Reader:

It has been a long drive from Adelaide to Mildura and with the unpacking finished and the boat moved to its new mooring on the Mildura Quay it is time to enjoy a glass of wine, sit back on a comfy couch and admire a glorious river sunset.

Pond by the quay

Purple Swap Hen

Coffee time

The next morning is all business. Sandra checks the maps, two couples take a quick walk up to the local shops to purchase a few extras and Pete stows the fishing gear and coolers on the rear deck. The weather is fine so I wander over to the recreation area opposite which has a lovely pond used to rear protected, native fish species. The pond is a perfect place to take some close-up shots of the aquatic birds I will encounter along the river. In addition, the little coffee shop alongside the pond is ideal for an early morning ‘cuppa’ and a calorie laden treat for breakfast.

Swallows on outboard by Peter Zab using iPhone

Back on the houseboat we’re waiting for everyone to come aboard. I watch the swallows hawking for insects alongside the boat. They are incredibly fast and acrobatic and never seem to slow down. Pete notices a pair resting on the small outboard motor of our attached dinghy and zeroes in on them with his iPhone.

Sandra at the helm

Ropes are untied, Sandra opens the throttles and blasts the reversing horn…we are off; cruising around 7km/hr. I climb the stairs to the top deck and take up a position near the front, ready to brace my camera against a fibreglass side panel. From this position I am able to sight a target coming towards me from the riverbanks on either side of the boat. It is tricky photography and stretches the Nikon P900’s capabilities to the limit.

View of Whistling Kite from the boat

Whistling Kite through the telephoto

Our destination is Trentham winery about 10 kms away by river. The scenery along the way is classic Murray River scrub with Mallee trees, a few errant Willows and billabongs dotted with massive dead River Gums protruding like bony, grey fingers. At the top of one fading gum, I spot a Whistling Kite and further along the river there is an Australian Pelican perched on an old tree stump. My final shot for the morning, as the winery is just around the bend, an Anhinga or Snake-bird drying its wings after hunting in the river………….to be continued…. 

Anhinga drying wings

Australian Pelican and rosella

Please comment on this story if you find Houseboat posts interesting.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy holiday which is quite suitable for families and active seniors as tying up the boat requires some mobility and strength. Only a driver’s license is required to operate a houseboat and instruction is given prior to use.

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles:

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

For more information about Trentham Winery go to:

https://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/The-Murray/eat-and-drink/Wineries/Trentham-Estate-Winery

Hindmarsh Island ……Part 2

13 Apr

…….Continued from my last post about Hindmarsh Island……

White-faced Heron stalking

Dear Reader:

Having explored the little settlement by the channel I decide to drive a little further on this side island before cutting inland and heading to the Murray Mouth. A fortunate decision, as I spot a Royal Spoonbill working the shallows near a patch of reeds, a Black Swan just taking to the air and a heron stalking prey; all just a couple of hundred metres further down the track. Window down, some quick snaps and fingers crossed!

 

Spoonbill at work

Swan take off

It is only a five-minute drive to the river mouth but the wind has certainly whipped up the water and bent the grassy pastures. The area around the Murray mouth has a varied collection of shacks, the signposted entrance to a conservation park and even a pop-up coffee van.

 

Murray Mouth with dredge in background

Surprise…time for a break

Despite the blustery weather a tourist boat is taking groups from Goolwa along the sheltered reaches of the Coorong to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. As I lift the camera to photograph the boat I notice a Pacific Gull tracing its path in the foreground, a nice image !

 

Tourist boat and gull in synch

There is a sign near the mouth for the Lawari Conservation Park which covers 106 hectares at the eastern end of Hindmarsh Island incorporating natural coastal scrub and former grazing land. Lawari means Cape Barren Goose in the local Ngarrindjeri language. Over a hundred different species of birds have been recorded in this park and there are significant reptile species as well as Western Grey Kangaroos.

 

Cape Barren Geese

Entrance to park near the river mouth

The wind and cloud have made the Murray Mouth too difficult to photograph as the wildlife is taking shelter in the grass and shrubs. I turn for home and retrace my path down the middle of the island stopping at the memorial to Captain Charles Sturt who was the first European explorer to view the Mouth of the Murray.

 

Sturt memorial

Layby near the bridge

 

Just before I cross the bridge back to the mainland there is a shelter with parking, a barbecue area and detailed graphics about Hindmarsh Island’s history. I take a path through the scrub leading a to a lookout where I can Goolwa and catch a glimpse of an old paddle steamer at the docks. This visit and reading the historical information enthuse me to return on a sunnier day and explore more of this special place where history, culture and wildlife are so closely interwoven.   

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy drive and walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors. Hindmarsh Island is dog friendly except for the Conservation Park.

Some useful links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindmarsh_Island#Lonely_Island

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Hindmarsh Island ……Part 1

29 Mar

 

Hindmarsh Island ……Part 1

Dear Reader:

The bridge over the Murray River to the island is sleek and modern. Where it terminates there is a small layby and a short track going back under the concrete stanchions. A line of posts edges into the river. Probably part of the old ferry structures. Every few minutes, Australian Pelicans land on the old wooden posts and rails resting or watching for prey in the water.

 

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

After a while, the pelicans move off and land in the water near a reed patch. Another bird joins them and they start to swim in a roughly circular formation. They seem to be hunting; possibly herding small fish. My thoughts are confirmed when the birds tighten the circle and simultaneously dip their heads and long beaks into the water. The manoeuvre is repeated several times. Their movements are very graceful, almost like watching synchronised swimming or ballerinas with fluffed up tutus.

 

Pelicans up

Pelicans down

I am on Hindmarsh Island; Kumerangk in the language of the First Nations People who live in this area, the Ngarrindjeri. The island is an hour and a half drive SE of Adelaide near the town of Goolwa. It is flat and low with extensive areas of pasture, some scrub and a modern housing development with associated marina. There are numerous roads both paved and dirt criss-crossing the island. Hindmarsh Island is significant both in South Australia’s settler history and Ngarrindjeri history and culture and the creation of the bridge was the subject of friction between First Nations People and the SA government.

 

Fishing the channel

I continue driving for another ten minutes, past the marina turnoff on my right then the take one of several unsealed roads to my left which brings me to a shoreline where there is a small group of houses. Two fishermen are working the channel and I stop and chat with them for a few minutes about the marine and terrestrial wildlife in the area.

 

Orb weaver at work

Lovely, golden grass and patches of coastal scrub carpet this area and offer shelter to a range of animals. I spot some wrens and other small birds and catch a fleeting glimpse of a reptile near the muddy shore. Lizard or snake? Not sure. However, it is an Orb Weaver spider constructing its complex web that intrigues me. I watch the industrious little animal for some time and capture some reasonable close-up images.

 

Lapwing, Ibis, swans

My next stop is a couple of kilometres down the sealed road at a small group of shacks. There are short jetties poking out into the channel and most of them seem to be favourite roosting areas for both Black and Pied cormorants. Where the muddy shoreline and Samphire swamp meet, I can see numerous wading birds including: Spoonbills, Pied Stilts, Sandpipers and Masked Lapwings. In the slightly deeper water, a large flock of Black Swans are feeding.

 

Fascinating ecosytem

 

The morning’s drive and my initial exploration of the island have been quite productive and after I find a place to sit and have a bite to eat, provisioned from one of Goolwa’s many fine bakeries, I will head over to the Murray Mouth and Mundoo Channel to continue my day at Hindmarsh Island…………to be continued.

Cheers

Baz

 

Additional notes

This is an easy drive and walk which is quite suitable for families and seniors. Hindmarsh Island is dog friendly except for the Conservation Parks.

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.

Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

Torrens Island

1 Oct

Torrens Island and its causeway entrance are situated over the Torrens Island Bridge at the end of The Grand Trunkway in Port Adelaide; about a 30 minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD. The island is closed to the public but the small breakwater and causeway are open. Most of the island is a conservation park with the remaining area housing the power stations and some historic sites.

Road across breakwater looking back at hills

The island if flat and covered with mangroves, samphire and saltbush. The causeway has no vegetation. The mangroves that are accessible from the causeway and road are actually situated on Garden Island. The causeway forms a barrier between the Angas inlet on the left and the warm water outlet from the power station on the right as you face the power station.

Black-shouldered Kite perched on light pole

Numerous fish species including bream, mullet, whiting and Mulloway are attracted to the warm water. In turn, predatory birds such as: herons, pelicans, terns, gulls, cormorants and egrets are found in this area. Small mangrove crabs are found under the rocks in the intertidal region. Dolphins are not uncommon and best spotted from the bridge.  A population of common rats live among the rocks feeding on discarded bait but they are rarely seen during daylight hours.

Little Egret hunting near mangroves

The dominant vegetation seen from the causeway is the Grey Mangrove with small amounts of samphire. At low tide there are seagrass meadows visible through the fencing on the mudflats to the left facing the power station.

Mangrove leaves and fruit….note the waxy top and rough, paler underside where salt crystals accumulate.

Prior to European settlement the mangrove and samphire swamp areas were a rich hunting and gathering region for the local Kaurna people. They would have caught crabs and speared or netted fish as well as collecting shellfish.

Torrens Island power station

Torrens Island was named after Robert Torrens senior who was chairman of the SA Colonisation Commission. Between 1870 and 1980 it was a quarantine station for both animals and people entering the state. During World War 1 the island was used as an internment camp for citizens of German and Austrian backgrounds. Since 1963 much of the island and surrounding water have been protected areas and part of different marine reserves. Three power stations are operating on the island: Torrens Island PS since 1963, Quarrantine PS since 2002 and finally Barker Inlet PS since 2009. All are gas powered.

Fishing as the sun goes down

Fishing from the rocky causeway in the warm water outlet is popular. There are fine views of the ships’ graveyard and its wrecks from the bridge. Tours of the old quarantine facilities can be arranged through the maritime museum in Port Adelaide. In short, quite an interesting place to visit and combine with a day at Port Adelaide.

Cheers

Baz

Additional notes

This is an easy destination to visit and is quite suitable for families and seniors.

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.

 Click on this link and see more South Australian stories and pictures in my Weekend Notes articles

https://www.weekendnotes.com/profile/651267/

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