Celebrating 2020 World Migratory Bird Day in Adelaide, South Australia

Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (FAIBS) in South Australia celebrated the 2020 World Migratory Bird Day on October 10th with a viewing session located between the foreshore and clay pans at Thompson Beach, some 70 kms north of the capital city, Adelaide.

Ruddy Turnstone ©Mary-Ann van Trigt

With the gift of a perfect spring morning, around 30 birders attended, keen to find out which migratory birds had arrived back ‘home’ after their incredible annual return journey to breed in the northern hemisphere. Viewers were not to be disappointed, finding multiple early season arrivals in Red-necked Stints, Common Greenshanks, Ruddy Turnstones, Grey-tailed Tattlers, Curlew Sandpipers and Grey Plovers.

FAIBS Birders at Thompson Beach looking to clay pans ©Kirsty Darlaston

This Sanctuary, stretching over 60 kilometres of coastline along Gulf St Vincent, is a key summer terminal feeding and recuperating haven on the southern end of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Within the bird sanctuary sits the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park. Its Aboriginal name is Winaityinaityi Pangkara which, in the language of the Kaurna people, means ‘a country for all birds and the country that surrounds these birds’.

Each year between September and April tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds return to the Sanctuary to rest, fatten up and build up their energy reserves before setting off again on their journey of more than 20,000 kms to breed. With the combination of extensive tidal flats along the beach front and clay pans behind the dune foreshore, conditions are highly suited to the roosting needs and mudflat foods that the migratory birds are so dependent on.

AIBS clay pans and birds ©Mary-Ann van Trigt

Volunteer members of Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary hold regular events along this coast to contribute to habitat restoration and maintenance. Bird monitoring and identification sessions with scopes are also run to build up local knowledge of how vitally important this area is to the amazing migratory birds’ survival, while reinforcing ways to reduce threats to them. Several species are endangered, some, like the Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot and Curlew Sandpiper, critically so.

The area also has abundant resident birdlife that includes Great Egrets, Australian Pelicans, Pied Oystercatchers, Red-capped Plovers, Pacific Gulls and various terns, with Whiskered, Fairy, Crested and Caspians, all present on this viewing day. Also wheeling above were two Black Kites and a Whistling Kite.

AIBS foreshore ©Mary-Ann van Trigt

The morning’s very enjoyable viewings once again provided powerful reminders of why this area has been declared a Sanctuary within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, and so worthy of our respect and protection.

Further information about the Sanctuary, its birds and the activities of FAIBS can be found on Facebook at Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary or by contacting the organisation at [email protected]

FAIBS birders at Thompson Beach ©Anna Woods

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