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Murray River Bird Watching

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by Katharine (subscribe)
I heart South Australia - we have it all!
Published May 29th 2012

In today's fast paced world of social media and other technology it is easy to get caught up in things and forget to stop and smell the roses. We spend so much time 'liking' and 'tweeting'. This may mean that we are neglecting the idea that it is a very lovely thing to do to take time out and listen for some tweeting that is not of the social media kind – bird watching.

The pelican - one of the easiest to spot

We are so lucky in South Australia to have the spectacular Murray River. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds. As the river winds its way from South Australia to Victoria, the scenery changes, as does the variety of bird life.

Another friendly species

What a great thing to do – take a weekend out, leave the city and head to one of the many townships along the Murray River and set up camp. Or set out in a camper trailer or caravan. OR hire a houseboat.

Really the possibilities for a gloriously relaxing and peaceful weekend away on the Murray are endless. The Murray isn't just a hotspot in summer time, when it's a haven for jet skiers, wake-boarders and other water-based activities. No, in the autumn and winter, despite the cooler temperatures, it makes for a perfect secluded getaway.

Bird watching itself is a tremendously popular hobby throughout the world. It has made its way into popular culture even more over the last 12-18 months, since the release of the feature film A Big Year, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. The film follows the tale of three men, all from different backgrounds, who set out to compete against each other and spot the largest number of birds, based on an honesty system.

There are so many resources available to those who eagerly set out to do some of their own bird watching or spotting, whether it's a tattered copy of What Bird is That?, found for $2.00 at an op-shop or a more updated app on your smart-phone. Bird-watching is fascinating, relaxing and a distinctive way to appreciate nature, as I found out when I took time to observe and photograph a variety of birds along the beautiful stretch of river.

As far as locations go, Gluepot Reserve is both a popular and special place for bird watchers. It's approximately 60 kilometres north of Waikerie. There is a very detailed website, where more information can be found on its location, maps and accommodation here.

If you are keen to drive along the river and spot every once in a while along the banks, then there are some good spots for observing bird life between Blanchetown and Renmark.

Or you could go all out and hire a houseboat for the weekend and laze on a sun deck and spot eagles flying above. Information about houseboat hire can be found here.

Whether you're keen to spot a white-winged Triller, Whistling Kite or Tawny Frogmouth, the Murray River is simply a top destination for either the serious or those who just want to relax and dabble in a bit of watching. Some great resources with further information can be found here and here.
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Why? Get back to nature and appreciate our feathered friends
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere along the Murray River
Cost: Free. You may need to organise accommodation depending on how long your stay is
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