There is a cruise ship docked at the Outer Harbour and some fishers watching it as they cast for Salmon Trout and set crab nets for Blue Swimmer Crabs. These large crabs migrate to our inshore waters in large numbers between September and April. This morning the water is quite clear and I watch as a large blue crab, attracted by the fish head in the net, makes a fatal attempt at the bait. One more for the pot.
I am taking a coastal drive between the Outer Harbour and Semaphore Park, stopping at significant landmarks along the way and photographing some of the wildlife inhabiting these areas. A kind of beach-side safari. In another article, I will explore the next section of our urban coastline.
My next stop is The Marina at North Haven. I have often eaten at the cafes and restaurants overlooking the marina and walked along the promenade. Today, I notice a group of Pied Cormorants perching on a mooring platform drying their wings and resting between fishing expeditions. On other occasions, I have observed dolphins and Rakalis (Australian Water Rats) and on one occasion a seal, hunting in the marina.
Largs Bay; with its iconic bluestone and stucco arched Largs Pier Hotel, wooden jetty and even a mosaic adorned toilet block, is just a couple of kilometres further along Lady Gowrie Drive. A boardwalk extends from Largs Bay back to North Haven winding through re-vegetated coastal scrub. It is a wonderful place to spot coastal birds. However, I shoot my Largs Bay image of a Pacific Gull from the jetty where I watch it hunting for worms and shellfish in the shallow water.
Semaphore is my next destination as I travel south towards Glenelg and Brighton. Apart from the jetty, Semaphore has several historical features including: the Palais, clocktower, soldiers' memorial and an old anchor which honours bygone sea captains.
Palais and coastal scrub seen from the Semaphore jetty
The low coastal dunes and dense scrub around Semaphore are home to a variety of birds including: Singing Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds and Nankeen Kestrels. Reptiles are not uncommon and I have often photographed Blue Tongue Lizards, Shinglebacks and Bearded Dragons. Long-nosed Fur Seals and Bottlenose Dolphins are commonly spotted around the jetty.
My final destination, on this first drive along the coast, is Semaphore Park's Point Malcolm. Situated at the end of the children's railway adjacent Fort Glanville, it is an ideal place to encounter one of the coast's most attractive little animals; the Painted Dragon. On this visit, I manage to find a brightly coloured male and a duller but far better camouflaged female.