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South Australia Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: February 2007

On Feb 20 we were off at 7am for a drive around Lake Albert on Narrung Rd (35.661S 139.201E). First we had to cross the narrow neck of water that separates Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina by ferry.

Along the lake were pockets of wetlands. We stopped to look at some ducks and managed to spook a couple thousand Australian Shelducks into the air. They circled around and flew off. We caught up with them later in the morning on the opposite side of the lake.

The road was lined with White, Purple and Yellow Pincushion Flowers. We wanted to go to Pelican Point (35.689S 139.168E), but the road got too rutted for us to continue. We turned back and saw a Red Fox running across the field.

We had lunch at the Cheese Factory. My wife had marshmallow Prawns. I had a steak. You can't beak fresh Prawns. Beautiful.

On Feb 21 we were off early to drive around the west side of Lake Alexandrina. We crossed the Murray River by Ferry (35.330S 139.386E) near the location were the SA PM wants to construct an emergency weir (dam) to back up the river to provide drinking water for Adelaide. Some people are opposed to the weir because of the anticipated environmental impact on the Lakes and NP. Our cottage uses lake water for the kitchen and bathroom. I don't see how anyone could drink it -- it smells and tastes really bad. We turned off the main road to look for birds (35.319S 139.162E). We spotted 6 Elegant Parrots across the road from acres of grape vines.

As we drove around looking for wetlands we found John and Terry at their sheep station. They invited us to watch as they separated the pregnant sheep from the lot. Later all the sheep got their monthly spraying for pests. It was amazing how responsive their 2 sheep dogs were to commands.

After the muster John showed us their sheep-shearing shed. They shear the sheep three times a year. The farm has 3000 sheep and 150 acres of grape vines. John said they make more money from the grapes than the sheep. Larry said it hasn't rained here since May 2006.

There are massive concentrations of water birds in the wetlands around the lake; like Pacific Black Ducks, Australian Pelicans, Australian Shelducks, Black Swans, Cape Barren Geese, and Magpie Geese.

On Feb 23 we left at 7am for the section of Coorong NP East of Meningie (35.889S 139.403E. This area consists of a narrow strip of water between the coastal sand dunes and the main land. Access was via a dirt road. This turned out to be wild Emu country. We ended up seeing and photographing 5 pairs of Emu. We saw several distant flocks of waders, but could only identify some Red-capped Plovers.

We stopped at the Cheese Factory of dinner. My wife had Santa's Sandwich -- ham and cambert cheese on a fresh baked roll with cranberry sauce. I had a hamburger with half the Lot (no eggs or beet root). We split a bowl of seasoned chips with sweet chili and sour cream.

On Feb 25 we were off at 7am driving toward Adelaide. The expressway turned into city streets in Adelaide and we missed a turn. I stopped at a gas station and a customer drew us a "mud map" that got us back on track. The area north of Adelaide was parched and desolate. We arrived at Port Augusta at 1pm.

We had lunch at the Pub next to the hotel. We started with a potato and leak soup. They put some kind of spice in the soup that turned it a dark mustard color. It tasted good anyway. My wife had crumbed Prawns with chips, salad and cold slaw. I had a steak.

In the afternoon we locked the car keys in the boot (trunk). We called the Royal Automobile Association to send someone out. The technician got the door open in a few minutes. Surprisingly, we didn't have to pay anything -- it was covered by our Ohio AAA card!!!

On Feb 26 we were off before sunrise. As soon as it got light, we started seeing parrots. First we saw a flock of 9 Blue Bonnet Parrots. Then we saw a pair of Mulga Parrots.

We stopped at the Arno Mangrove Boardwalk (33.922S 136.568E). In the trees Wilma teased out a Shy Heathwren and a pair of Blue-breasted Fairywrens.

We ate lunch in Port Lincoln. My wife had a chicken breast stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, onions and olives served over baked potato wedges in a pasta sauce. I had local shrimp in fettuccine sauce.

On the way out of town we spotted a Port Lincoln Ringneck Parrot eating Pine Nuts out of a pinecone. We arrived at Coffin Bay at 4pm.

The sun was brutally bright till 7pm. Before sunset we went for a short walk along the bay. It was so cool we needed a jumper (jacket). Immediately, we were bombarded with hundreds of Galahs and Rainbow Lorikeets - they seemed to be living in the trees around our apartment. We saw thousands of ducks or sea birds in the distance, but couldn't ID them.

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