Coorong National Park
On our recent boat trip we passed through the Goolwa barrages and headed south along the Coorong towards the mouth of the River Murray. It is here that Australia’s largest river empties into the Southern Ocean. As we travelled along we followed the line of sand hills which separate the Coorong from the ocean. It places these sand hills are spectacular – more of that for another post.
all along this stretch of the Coorong it is hard keeping up with all the birds one sees, especially seeing we were travelling most of the time at 25mph. On several occasions we had to slow down to slow walking pace and keep a sharp eye out for sand bars; more than once we almost became grounded.
In the photo above you can see a Little Egret, some Grey Teal and a Eurasian Coot just to the right of the sign.
Below the photo shows several Australian pelicans and a Masked Lapwing on the right. Almost impossible to see (except under extreme enlargement) are what look like Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and maybe a stilt.
A little further on we reached the mouth of the Murray. Our captain was unwilling to venture too close for fear of bottoming out on a sand bar. I was surprised by the number of vehicles on the beach and the number of people fishing along the shore of the river. I shouldn’t have been – it was a holiday long weekend and the weather was perfect.
The last photo below shows one of the tourist boats operating in this part of the river, The Spirit of the Coorong. It takes tourists from Goolwa down through the Coorong on a regular schedule.
Australian Sea Lions, Goolwa
Warning: This is a non-birding post.
To get from the River Murray into the Coorong we had to take our boat through the lock in the Goolwa barrage. This allows the boat to move from the higher river water level to the lower sea levels in the Coorong. The whole process takes about 15 minutes and the lock can hold several boats at a time, depending on their length. The lock is manned from 8am – 12:30pm and 1:30 – 4:30pm every day except Christmas Day.
As we went through the lock I wasn’t very interested in the bird life around the barrages because my attention was drawn to the dozen or so Australian Sea Lions (seals) either lolling about in the water or sleeping on the barrage – as shown in today’s photos.
How some of them reached the very top of the installation puzzles me. It’s not that they have the ability to fly!
Birds on the Barrages at Goolwa
On our boat trip on the River Murray a few weeks ago we went through the lock in the barrages at Goolwa. This allowed us to pass through from the River Murray into the Coorong and travel by boat towards the mouth of the river. Today’s photos show many birds lined up along the top of the barrages.
In the photo above you can see a number of Australian Pelicans, while below is a large gathering of cormorants. Although I’m not absolutely certain, I think that they are probably Little Black Cormorants. They don’t seem to be big enough for the larger Great Cormorant.
Purple Swamphen up close
On our recent boat trip on Lake Alexandrina and the River Murray we took a little detour into a new housing estate with water frontage. We had to slow right down from the 25mph we had been travelling at to a very modest 4 knots (7.4mph). We also had to navigate a narrow canal less than 10m wide so this gave me an ideal opportunity to do some close up birding.
Unfortunately there was very little to see, with the exception of the Purple Swamphen shown in today’s photos below. It seemed quite unconcerned by our presence as our captain manoeuvred our boat through a tricky passage before turning around and leaving the channel and back out to the river.
Let’s take a bath Willie Wagtail
We get a great deal of pleasure from watching the constant parade of birds coming to our birdbath. This Willie Wagtail was really getting into the art of having a really good soaking. It is also situated strategically for great photo opportunities too.