The coastal wetlands edging the Gulf of St Vincent just north of Adelaide is easy to look past. But the area is special – it’s being conserved and protected as the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary.
Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary
The bird sanctuary is one of South Australia's most important habitats for migratory shorebirds and is one of the longest continuous coastal reserves.
Every year during the warmer months, more than 27,000 shorebirds travel from as far away as Alaska and northern Asia to Adelaide’s northern coastline to bask in the heat, feed on the mudflats and saltmarshes, and roost in the sheltered seclusion and the vast open spaces of the bird sanctuary.
So flutter down to the bird sanctuary during the warmer months and see what the fuss is about. Here are four top ways to explore it:
1. Kayaking at St Kilda
Kayak around the mangroves and see if you can spot any birds, such as the royal spoonbill, hiding amongst the thick branches searching for snacks. Then paddle out near the St Kilda playground pirate ship to spot the sooty oystercatcher and black-winged stilt.
2. Snorkelling at Port Gawler
Grab your snorkelling gear and float around Port Gawler’s mangroves.
When you dip your head below the water’s surface you’ll uncover a whole new world and be greeted by colourful anemones, colonial seasquirts, crabs, prawns, fish and rays.
3. Birding at Thompson Beach
Pack some snacks and drinking water, then head to Thompson Beach for a morning of migratory bird watching.
Between October and April is the perfect time to spot thousands of migratory shorebirds enjoying SA life. You might even spot critically endangered species like the eastern curlew or the orange legged ruddy turnstone.
4. Wildlife photography along the coast
Get your inner wildlife photographer ready, as it’s not just the shorebirds that call the bird sanctuary home.
Check out our tips for wildlife photography to get some inspiration.
The Adelaide Shorebird and Dolphin Festival is on throughout November – a perfect opportunity to explore the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary and Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary as they come together for Park of the Month. Check the websiteto see what’s in store.
This story was originally posted in November 2017.