Martin Washpool Walk 24 November 2013
The Friends of the Coorong Walks Group completed their program for 2013 with a bird-watching walk in Martin Washpool Conservation Park. The Conservation Park together with the Morella basin and the Coorong National Park form a vital element in the overall district conservation scheme. Controlled release of water from the Tilley Swamp drain into the South Lagoon is another element of local environmental planning.
The group was fortunate to have the expertise of Jonathan Starks in locating and identifying a total of 41 species, ranging from emus to swans to migratory shorebirds and including a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike with a newly fledged baby. Jonathan has recently joined the Coorong Tatiara LAP team. The walk got off to a good start when the group was joined by German tourists Bernd and Heidrun Keppel who happened to be in Salt Creek as the group was getting together. Also joining in Salt Creek were locals Harrison Tiver and Sarah Pearson. Harrison knows the park well from numerous explorations and helped us in navigating our way around this surprisingly large area.
After spending some time around the shore of the pool we treated ourselves to an early Christmas drink and a picnic lunch. After lunch the tourists continued on in their motorhome while the rest of us headed by 4WD to the eastern boundary of the park. A hand-drawn map provided by Adam Stewart of the Salt Creek Roadhouse was put to good use on this section of the walk. Highlights of this portion of the walk included the discovery of a Malleefowl nest, already well known to Parks staff and protected by bollards from stray vehicles, and the sight of a family of Wedgetail eagles soaring above.
The walk was once again a good opportunity to get together in a rewarding environment, enjoy common interests and learn a little more about our unique district.
Stony Well Walk 22 September 2013
This informative walk was hosted by Josie and Brian Lord at their Stony Well property. The walk was fortunate in having fine weather and began with Josie providing a brief history of the area followed by a visit to Stony Well itself, a companion to the much better known and more easily accessible Chinaman’s Well. We saw the remnants of the road-makers’ campsite from the 60’s while Josie talked about the botany of the area and the connection between various types of plants and natural water sources. Peter and Meryl Mansfield expanded on the botanical information and provided aboriginal names of plants and their use as bush tucker as well as information which greatly contributed to the group’s understanding of aboriginal culture in early times. Following a picnic lunch the group crossed the highway for an insight into some local Coorong features. We were shown fresh water soaks along the shoreline, the remnants of the Old Melbourne Road and the easy to miss carved stone indicating to early travellers the presence of “Very Good Water”. To complete the walk we again crossed the highway and re-entered Stony Well. On this section of the walk we saw how early fishermen had cleared areas of scrub to hang and dry their nets and heard snippets of early folklore. The scrub itself was full of wild flowers with many orchids in bloom. In crossing through working paddocks to the homestead it was evident that patches of native trees had been retained to provide shelter for cattle and that by doing so the property as a whole retained a high level of natural beauty unusual in a working property. The walk concluded with afternoon tea at the homestead and thanks to Josie’s knowledge and passion for the region everyone, including the visitors from Adelaide and overseas, went home with a better knowledge of the Coorong.
Boothby Rocks Walk 23 June 2013
Commencing at the entrance to Boothby Rocks the Friends group walked along a 4WD track to the escarpent. This was one of our shorter walks and likely just as well as sightings of orchids and other native flowers brought the group to a standstill on many occasions. A scramble over moss covered rocks at either end gave the walkers an oportunity to take in the magnificent views of the surrounding park and farmland.
A picnic lunch and lively discussion followed. After lunch the group drove on to explore Tolmer Rocks before the drive home. A paricularly enjoyable day with great company.