Thousands of birds are making a mammoth 25,000km flight to South Australia this spring to feast and nest in our pristine saltmarshes and wetlands – but for people looking to enjoy the mass migration, it’s just a short trip from Adelaide.
The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park - Winaityinaityi Pangkara is a 30-minute drive north of the city, spanning 60km of coastline from St Kilda to Thompson Beach.
In November, the National Parks and Wildlife Service is celebrating the bird sanctuary as its Park of the Month. There will be a series of special activities that are either free or subsidised, including:
- Guided bird watching walk at Thompson Beach.
- Kayaking and snorkelling in the mangrove forest.
- Family nature walk looking for coastal treasures with Nature Play SA.
- Introduction to shorebirds with Birdlife Australia.
- Working bee with the park ranger and Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary.
The sanctuary sits at the southern end of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
The migratory route, which stretches from Alaska and Siberia to Australia and New Zealand, is used by more than 5 million birds a year.
There are 263 unique fauna and flora species at the sanctuary, which is a key feeding and roosting site for resident and migratory birds that fly between the northern and southern hemispheres every year.
About 27,000 migratory birds arrive at the sanctuary in spring, before taking flight in autumn to head back to their arctic breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere summer.
District Ranger April McInerney said the sanctuary provided a home to more than 50 resident and migratory shorebird species, including threatened species such as the curlew sandpiper, ruddy turnstone, red knot and eastern curlew.
“November is a great time to visit the sanctuary with binoculars to see these amazing little birds in the shallows for yourself,” Ms McInerney said.
“It’s also the perfect opportunity to chat to experts and learn more about shorebirds or try new experiences, such as kayaking and snorkelling in the mangroves.”
For more information and to book these and other events, visit www.parks.sa.gov.au/park-of-the-month