Wader beaches North of Adelaide

Key species: Greater and Lesser Sand-plover, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Blue-winged Parrot, Elegant Parrot, Rock Parrot, Slender-billed Thornbill, Fairy Tern, Blue Bonnet, White-winged Fairy-wren.   All three areas are coastal reserves where waders roost at high tide, and low tide reveals vast mudflats. All three are bound by dunes with low shrubby vegetation, well-protected at Thompson Beach, but fairly degraded due to rubbish dumping and off-road trail bike and 4WD driving at the other two sites. All areas are relatively small and worth checking. Port Gawler also contains mangroves and samphire flats where Slender-billed Thornbill occurs. Elegant, Blue-winged and Rock Parrots are frequently seen at Port Gawler and Port Prime (although less so in recent years; check the dunes). Blue Bonnet occurs in the dunes of Thompson Beach. Take care to properly identify the Neophema parrots - there are often Elegant Parrots around while Rock & Blue-winged Parrots are a lot rarer. Slender-billed Thornbills are found at Port Gawler in the samphire on both sides of the track to the mangroves past the dunes. Thompson Beach often has good wader roosts in summer with both Sand-plovers and Fairy Tern. White-winged Fairy-wren can be found perched atop low bushes mainly in samphire-type habitat.  

Getting There

  Head North from Adelaide on Pt Wakefield Rd towards Port Wakefield. Pt Gawler is a left turn 5 km N of Virginia. Drive down the road and explore the samphire flats before reaching the mangroves. Of particular interest. Of particular interest is the area in between the two tracks at the Y-junction (where right goes to a dedicated off-road trailbike track, and ahead ends up in the mangroves) and the embankments and water bodies on the left. Port Prime is a bit further north; turn left between Lower Light and Dublin. Drive right down to the coast and explore the samphire flats and dunes. Look for Stubble Quail and Blue Bonnet on the approach road and you may encounter Fairy Tern. Thompson's Beach: Further north still, take South Terrace out of Dublin and follow it to the coast. Shorebird viewing is best on an early morning high tide at various locations along the beach. Suitable spots include the area opposite each car park at either end of Ruskin Rd, and for those with a 4WD vehicle, the narrow track through the dunes heading north.

GPS Coordinates 34°36.84′S, 138°24.348′E


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