Birds of the Mannum district, South Australia
Over recent days I have written about several species of birds that I saw in Mannum. Mannum is a medium sized town on the River Murray about a half hour’s drive from my home in Murray Bridge, South Australia. It is a popular tourist destination. Many houseboats moored at Mannum are available for hire. The Murray Princess (see photo above) takes tourists on river cruises lasting three, four or seven days.
The birding in the Mannum district is interesting and quite diverse. There are the normal river birds such as Australian Pelicans, Silver Gulls, Australian Wood Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks. Sometimes there are large numbers of Grey Teal and Chestnut Teal. On this occasion I also recorded a large number of Chestnut-breasted Shelducks a little further upstream, but they were too far away to photograph.
Just north of the well patronised and well appointed caravan park there are extensive wetlands. At present this area has large areas of mud flats due to the low level of the river. Due to the drought the river is at least a metre lower than normal. On these mudflats I saw Straw-necked, White and Glossy Ibis, Red-kneed Dotterel, Eurasian Coots, Purple Swamphens and Dusky Moorhens. Several Yellow-billed Spoonbills were also seen feeding in the shallows.
The reeds lining these wetlands are suffering badly at present because of a lack of water. That didn’t prevent me recording the Little Grassbird and the Australian Reedwarbler. In the trees lining the wetlands I saw Red-rumped Parrots, Crested Pigeons, Galahs, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Willie Wagtail and Grey Fantail. Also seen or heard were White-plumed Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds and a Peaceful Dove.
Sitting on the bank of the river here can be rewarding. This is one good way of observing a number of species flying past. In this way, together with a cup of tea at hand and lunch from the local bakery in my hand, I added Caspian Tern, Crested Tern, Whiskered Tern, Whistling Kite, Welcome Swallow, Little Black Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Egret, Little Corella and Little Raven.
We drove along the river towards the small town of Bow Hill. Stopping at various points along the way I added Masked Lapwing, Black Swan, Blue Bonnet Parrot and White-faced Heron. In the trees lining the river I observed Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters and Singing Honeyeaters. A Grey Shrike Thrush added its beautiful song to the lovely morning. At one stage I heard a Sacred Kingfisher but I didn’t see it. I did manage to catch sight of a solitary Laughing Kookaburra flying near the river bank.
I also heard a small flock of Rainbow Bee-eaters and saw a family of White-browed Babblers near the side of the road as we drove along.