See shorebirds flocking to Adelaide

See shorebirds flocking to Adelaide

Keep your eyes peeled for the thou­sands of migra­to­ry shore­birds flock­ing to Adelaide’s Gulf St Vin­cent this spring.

If you’re around Ade­laide at this time of year, make sure you look up to the sky. It def­i­nite­ly won’t be Super­man, but chances are it will be a shorebird.

Thou­sands of migra­to­ry shore­birds flock to Gulf St Vin­cent in the north-west of Ade­laide in spring as part of their annu­al south­ern migration.

The migra­to­ry shore­bird lifestyle is one of exten­sive trav­el and rest, between food rich habi­tats for shel­ter and breeding.

Migra­to­ry shore­birds – also known as waders – can trav­el more than 25,000 kilo­me­tres year­ly, dur­ing a lifes­pan that can exceed 20 years.

Our local migra­to­ry shore­birds trav­el to oppo­site ends of the plan­et – from the north­ern Arc­tic breed­ing grounds, along the East Asian-Aus­tralasian Fly­way, to our south­ern Aus­tralian shores, and then back again. But why?

SA’s rich coastline

Gulf St Vin­cent is an impor­tant sum­mer des­ti­na­tion for many migra­to­ry shore­birds. The 60 km stretch of coast north-west of Ade­laide, from the Bark­er Inlet to the town­ship of Port Parham, con­tains impor­tant habi­tat for shore­birds to feed and roost.

This stretch of coast sits par­al­lel to Port Wake­field Road, and is being cre­at­ed as the Ade­laide Inter­na­tion­al Bird Sanc­tu­ary.

See shorebirds flocking to Adelaide

Many of the migra­to­ry shore­birds depend on Adelaide’s north-west coast­line to fat­ten up for the long jour­ney back to their arc­tic breed­ing grounds. What makes this coast so attrac­tive is its rich mud­flats and salt­marsh­es, open space, shel­ter and safety.

Bird is the word this spring

Gulf St Vin­cent hosts around 27,000 shore­birds, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing the warmer months, includ­ing up to 42 migrant species.

The area sup­ports inter­na­tion­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of red knots, red-necked stints and sharp-tailed sand­pipers, and nation­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of the Crit­i­cal­ly Endan­gered east­ern curlews and great knots as well as bar-tailed god­wits and curlew sand­piper.

See shorebirds flocking to Adelaide

As well as migra­to­ry shore­birds the area is also impor­tant for res­i­dent shore­birds that breed on local beach­es, such as the red-capped plover,sooty oys­ter­catch­er and pied oys­ter­catch­er.

Ade­laide Shore­bird Festival

Help cel­e­brate the arrival of these migra­to­ry shore­birds at the Ade­laide Shore­bird Fes­ti­val on Sun­day 30 October.

The Fes­ti­val is a free fam­i­ly event being held next to the St Kil­da Play­ground between 10 am and 4 pm with bird­watch­ing tours, tram rides and Kau­r­na activities.

While the shore­birds gorge on mud­flats and salt­marsh, you can enjoy the local food at the Fes­ti­val with celebri­ty MC for the day Cosi’ from Chan­nel 9’s South Aussie with Cosi.

Check out the web­site for more details.

Main image – Curlew sand­pipers (image cour­tesy of M Stokes) 

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living