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Port Adelaide's Barker Inlet

Home > Adelaide > Animals and Wildlife | Outdoor | Photography | Walks
by Barry Silkstone (subscribe)
I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet. Visit my blog naturallysouthaustralia.com
Published January 13th 2016
Mangroves and Dolphins
The white faced heron flies low across the water, its wing tips almost catching the tops of the small waves. Untucking its long legs, the bird makes a graceful landing on the edge of the mangrove forest and starts to hunt amongst the peculiar aerial roots that protrude from the muddy substrate. These elegant herons are just one of the many birds that call this dense, wetland forest home.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography
Cleared for landing


I am exploring the mangrove stands of the Barker Inlet at the end of Garden Island Road near the Torrens Island Power Station; a 5 minute drive from the city of Port Adelaide. The area has an excellent boat ramp as well as a long jetty that runs parallel to the shore about, 20 metres from the mangroves. Both facilities provide great access for fishers, photographers or those simply wanting to enjoy this unique and valuable ecosystem.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, grey mangroves
Mangrove fruit, flowers and leaves


As I walk along the jetty I can see several smaller birds feeding in some different kinds of shrubs that are growing near the shoreline. The most common are singing honeyeaters, a species that is common around the coastal areas of Adelaide.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, singing honeyeater
Singing honeyeater in coastal scrub


Mangrove fruit, flowers and leaves


I chat to a couple of fishermen at the end of the jetty then return to the car, pull on my old gum boots and make my way into the mangroves. The tide is out and I can easily walk on the edge of the channel that runs between the trees and the jetty. There are both flowers and fruits on the trees and a proliferation of insects and small birds amongst the tangle of branches and leaves.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, grey mangroves, monarch butterfly
A monarch butterfly rests in the mangrove foliage


South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, mangrove crab
Thousands of these little crabs live in the intertidal zone


The floor of the mangrove forest is honeycombed with small holes and with a little prodding and poking I uncover a mangrove crab. These small crustaceans are one of the main food sources for the schools of juvenile fish that use the mangroves as a nursery area.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, Lipson Tea House, Sea Witch Gallery
The old section of Port Adelaide has many historic buildings


The tide is coming in and it's time to leave and catch up with some friends in the Port for lunch at the Lipson Tea Rooms in the historic precinct of the city. However, the Barker Inlet has one last surprise. A small pod of dolphins is following a small boat out from the ramp allowing me a split second chance to capture an image of one exuberant animal leaping clear of the water.

South Australian wildlife, South Australian tourism, Wildlife photography, dolphin
One of the famous Port River dolphins following a pleasure craft

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