Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Coorong at Goolwa

The Coorong is one my favourite places in South Australia but I'd never visited the Goolwa end until today. So, part tourist and part birder, I drove to Goolwa following a great morning at the mouth of the Onkaparinga River (see previous posts: Reflections on the Onkaparinga River and Hanging at the Beach).

Goolwa is located at the 'armpit' of the Fleurieu Peninsula (see map) and is home to the Barrage and last lock on the Murray River (there is a bird in this shot!)

Murray River Barrage, Goolwa SA

The Coorong is the system of estuarine lakes, islands and the sand dune spits that hold back the Southern Ocean for more than 100 km between Kingston and Goolwa.

Coorong National Park starts downstream of the Murray River Barrage

As I was still an 8 hour drive from home, I didn't have time to search for many birds but did manage to find an interesting collection making the most of the old fence posts at Beacon 19 Boat Ramp. As I drove into the car park at the ramp, a pelican and this Silver Gull were jostling for the roost on the last fence post. I'm not sure how the gull managed to displace the pelican and I wasn't quick enough to get a photograph of the battle but I did capture the smug victor (OK so just a little anthropomorphising...sorry).

Silver Gull, Coorong National Park, Goolwa, SA

This Crested Tern remained, unperturbed, only a few metres away on the next post.

Crested Tern, Coorong NP, Goolwa, SA

The Welcome Swallows were particularly tame, allowing me to get very close. As the light was getting quite dull, I tried fill flash for a few shots.

Welcome Swallow, Coorong National Park, Goolwa, SA

The 'technical' mouth of the Murray River is a break through the dune barrier approximately 10 km east of Goolwa and can only be reached by driving along the beach. As I was by myself and hadn't brought any sand recovery gear, I was reluctant to do the drive this time so opted to take the view of the mouth from Hindmarsh Island.

Mouth of the Murray River, Coorong National Park, Goolwa, SA

By now the weather was turning for the worse with a strong westerly wind and an approaching storm. The birdlife on the beach in front of the lookout was sparse (I suspect the avian locals were more sensible than the tourists) but there were a few Australian Pied Oystercatchers getting buffeted by the wind blowing down the sand banks.

Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Coorong NP, Hindmarsh Island, SA

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