4 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

4 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

Spring has sprung, so migra­to­ry birds are now flock­ing to the bird sanc­tu­ary. Explore it best with these ideas.

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

Bring your own kayak or hire one and spend the day explor­ing St Kil­da on the water. One loca­tion to launch your kayak from is the bank of St Kil­da Bay, close to the St Kil­da Beach Hotel.

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.

4 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

2. Snorkelling at Port Gawler

Grab your snorkelling gear and float around Port Gawler’s mangroves.

Above water, you’ll spot herons, blue wrens, pacif­ic gulls, oys­ter­catch­ers, the ubiq­ui­tous ibis, and black swans.

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.

4 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

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 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

Remem­ber to have the binoc­u­lars handy, or even a spot­ting scope so you can look the birds in the eye, and down­load the Birds SA Thomp­son Beach check­list before you go.

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.

Bush birds, hawks, rap­tors and the bit­ter­bush blue but­ter­fly can be seen flap­ping through the sky. You also might spot a stumpy lizard or anoth­er scaly species pit­ter-pat­ter­ing along the coast.

4 fun things to do at Adelaide’s bird sanctuary

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.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living