I have only recently visited St Kilda and Barker Inlet north of Adelaide for the first time, but already it is becoming a favourite birding spot of mine. Access to the area is very easy being just a few kilometers off the main highway heading north from Adelaide (the Port Wakefield road). There is a large car parking area, a large lawned picnic area, an interesting Adventure Playground (for the ankle biters – teens might even like it), a fast food outlet, boat ramp and a well kept clean public toilet block.
At low tide the tidal mudflats stretch for many kilometres along the coast. On top of the rock wall protecting the boat channel out to deeper water is an excellent walking path. This enables one to walk far out from the beach, perhaps nearly a kilometre. This allows one to get close to the birds feeding on the mudflats.
On my few visits I have observed many Black Winged Stilts (see photo above), Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers, Australian Pelicans, White Ibis, Great and Little Egrets, Black Swans and Royal Spoonbills. On my visits I have seen, far out from the shore, what looked like thousands of Grey Teal. I also recorded several Chestnut-Breasted Shelducks.
An added bonus for the birder at St Kilda is the Mangrove Boardwalk nearby. I have written about this here. Of course, my visits have been in early spring. I dare say, as the weeks progress, many migratory waders will arrive here for the summer months.
Updated Nov 2013.
Yesterday I wrote about the water birds of one of my favourite birding spots, Inchiquin Lake in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. This is but two minutes walk from my daughter’s home and five minutes walk from where we used to live in the early 1980s.
Today I want to write about the other birds I have seen in this wonderful spot. Along the path, in the trees and the nearby picnic area I have often seen the following species:
- Crested Pigeon (common)
- Bronzewing Pigeon (uncommon)
- Peaceful Dove (occasional)
- Rock Dove (common)
- Spotted Turtledove (common)
- Galah (very common)
- Rainbow Lorikeet (common)
- Musk Lorikeet (very common)
- Red Rumped Parrot (common)
- Adelaide Rosella (common)
- Tawny Frogmouth (recorded once)
- Southern Boobook Owl (often heard at night)
- Welcome Swallow (very common)
- Laughing Kookaburra (common)
- Yellow Rumped Thornbill (common)
- Red Wattlebird (common)
- Noisy Miner (common)
- White Plumed Honeyeater (common)
- New Holland Honeyeater (common)
- Willie Wagtail (common)
- Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike (occasional)
- Common Blackbird (common)
- Magpie Lark (common)
- Australian Magpie (common)
- Little Raven (common)
- Common Starling (common)
- House Sparrow (common)
I have only listed species that I have seen on a regular basis, or species of special note. In all I have seen nearly a hundred different species over the years. It is a delightful spot to visit with an easy walking path, seats overlooking the lake and picnic tables nearby.
Lake Inchiquin is an artificial lake in Clare in the mid-north district of South Australia. The lake borders the southern and western parts of the Clare Country Club and its golf club. The lake is essentially an artificial one, more of a large dam to give the country club a beautiful outlook. The southern edge of the lake incorporates a picnic area, complete with a model train track several kilometres in length. This track is used by enthusiasts two weekends a month.
I enjoy birding at Lake Inchiquin because it is so convenient. It is a two minute walk from my daughter’s home in Clare. Not only that, there is a good walking path along the water’s edge. The path has many trees and bushes planted on each side making the path an elongated natural bird hide. There are enough gaps in the vegetation to get good views of any birds on the lake or along the edges. Another reason for enjoying this spot is the variety of water birds present all year round. Some species I have trouble tracking down in other parts of the state.
Ducks are very well represented on the lake. I have recorded the following species:
- Pacific Black Duck (very common)
- Pink-Eared Duck (present in small numbers)
- Grey Teal (common)
- Blue-Billed Duck (common)
- Freckled Duck (rare)
- Australasian Shoveler (present in small numbers)
- Australian Wood Duck (very common)
- Hardhead (White-Eyed Duck) (present in small numbers)
- Mallard (introduced)
Other water birds include:
- Hoary Headed Grebe (common)
- Australasian Grebe (common)
- Eurasian Coot (very numerous)
- Black-tailed Native-hen (sometimes numerous)
- Dusky Moorhen (common)
- Black-fronted Dotterel (usually 2-4 present)
- Black Swan (occasional)
- Little Black Cormorant (common)
- Little Pied Cormorant (common)
- Masked Lapwing (common)
- White-faced Heron (several)
- Nankeen Night Heron (3 recorded on one occasion)
Along the path and in the nearby golf course and picnic grounds I have recorded many more species. I will write about that tomorrow.
Kinchina is a locality about 3km west of our home on the western edge of Murray Bridge, South Australia. It takes me just over a half hour to walk there. More often we drive to the start of a track leading through the area and then walk for about half an hour before returning to the car for the short drive home.
The area originally had a railway siding I think, and there remains the ruin of a house from the early days of settlement in the district. The main Adelaide to Melbourne train line runs through the middle of the area and this is flanked by mainly mallee scrub and open farming country. The scrub area also contains many acacia (wattle) plants, as well as melaleuca, callistomen and correa plants with an understory of quite a range of smaller bushes and ground covers. This makes the area quite rich in flora and one of the better examples of what was here before European settlement.With such a diverse range of flora the fauna is also very good. Of the mammals, Western Grey Kangaroos are present and I have seen Echidnas and Brush-tailed Possums here. The introduced Brown Hare, Rabbit, Red Fox and Feral Cat are also present, unfortunately.
Good birding site
Birding in this area rarely disappoints. I have recorded over 50 species in this locality over the many visits. I am disappointed if my list does not reach 30 after about 30 minutes of walking. Common Bronzewing and Crested Pigeons and Peaceful Doves are all common breeding species in this area. I have seen Brown Falcons, Black-shouldered Kites, Nankeen Kestrels and the beautiful Spotted Harrier. Of the parrots, the Galah is by far the most common, with Mallee Ringnecks, Red Rumped Parrots and Purple-crowned Lorikeets also present.
Small bush birds
Willie Wagtails are very common as are Grey Fantails. Of the robins, the Hooded is resident but I am surprised that I haven’t yet recorded the Red-capped and the Flame Robin which are present only a short distance away. I have seen both the Golden and Rufous Whistlers and if I don’t actually see a Grey Shrike Thrush I usually hear one or more calling.
White-browed Babblers and Variegated Fairy-wrens are usually encountered in their noisy family groups as they scurry from bush to bush. The babblers untidy nests are evident everywhere, seemingly in every bush. Both Spotted and Striated Pardalotes call incessantly from the taller tree canopy. In summer the stunning Rainbow Bee-eater is resident and often nests in the sand banks along the creek banks.
There is almost always something flowering in the Kinchina area. This means that honeyeaters are always present. The New Holland Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds and Singing Honeyeaters are the most common species I have recorded there. The Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and Brown-headed Honeyeaters are not as common but still present on many occasions.
Woodswallows come and go in this area. Only when they nest do they hang around for more than an hour or two. The three species I’ve recorded around here include the Dusky Woodswallow (shown above) and the Masked and White-browed Woodswallows are also occasional visitors.
I’ve only mentioned a few of the species recorded at Kinchina. There are always Australian Magpies and Little Ravens present. The White-winged Choughs have nested in the branches above the track we walk along. Common Starlings and House Sparrows can seen from time to time too. The most beautiful, however, is the Diamond Firetail finch. I haven’t yet managed to get a photo of this delightful species.