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.
I was recently sorting through some photos taken at Victor Harbor nearly three years ago and came across these lovely shots of the White-faced Heron.
This species of heron is common in our region, and is also found in many parts of Australia. It is instantly recognisable and cannot easily be confused with any other species of heron or egret.
I like birds like that. Makes their ID easy.
Despite being a popular beach with both locals and tourists, the shoreline at Victor Harbor is remarkably rich in birdlife, particularly shorebirds. On most occasions the observant visitor will be able to see several Pacific Gulls, either on the beach or resting on the rocks near the rocky outcrop known as The Bluff.
A short distance from where I took these photos there is a popular fishing spot. This spot always seems to have a few hardy anglers present, regardless of the weather conditions.
Last month we went on a day trip with friends of ours to Victor Harbor. We primarily went to see the whales but in that quest we were unsuccessful. Best thing we saw was several seals. It was a wild stormy day and I guess the whales used their common sense and stayed under water as much as possible.
During the afternoon we drove to the base of The Bluff, a prominent hill on the south western edge of town. On the short drive to the fishing jetty there are many rocky outcrops close into shore. I’ve always found this spot to be good for birding. I was not disappointed on this occasion either.
This solitary Eastern Reef Egret (also called Eastern Reef Heron) was busy feeding around the rocks, the photo above showing he has a “crest” – it’s actually the blustery wind giving the bird a “bad feather day”.
This species in interesting in that it can be found in both the dark morph, shown in these photos, and a white version. As far as I know this species is not very commonly seen in South Australia, so I have reported this sighting to Birds SA. In fact, I’ve never seen it in South Australia myself. I’ve only seen it twice before – both times in Western Australia many years ago.
This species is not to be confused with the White-faced Heron, shown in the last photo below.
I know that Silver gulls are very common throughout Australia, but I must admit that I always enjoy taking photos of them. Generally, they are not at all afraid of humans (except for those over-active little versions who insist on chasing them), so they are usually very easy photographic subjects to practice on. On my recent visit to the local Sturt Reserve I managed several acceptable shots of some of the gulls, as shown here on this post today.
Silver Gulls, despite often acting as garbage disposal units on beaches, river banks and picnic areas, are quite beautiful birds in my view. They have such clean lines and pure colours. I usually forget their scavenging habits and concentrate on the positive aspects of their appearance.