I finished work on Friday night and drove the caravan down to Goolwa. Apart from Frances and myself, there were Steve and Judy Wallace, Gordon and Bev Lindqvist, both in caravans and Di Gage in her tent.
Early Saturday morning, was it 7, or 8, perhaps 9 we wandered 100m down Kessel road to the Kessel Road ponds. Several interconnected ponds are bordered by acacias and the embankments are linked by walking paths. There were a lot of birds, but none seemed interested in hanging around the bird hide. Perhaps the star of the show was a little pink ear duck.
Later that morning we met Helen Whitford and 7 of us climbed into 3 cars to do the walk from Port Elliot to Bashams beach. This is the famous whale watchers walk. There were no whales, however we were able to spot a baby fur seal on an orange rock. Lunch was at the the “Retro Vibe” a nostalgia cafe on the Strand in Port Elliot.
In the afternoon the football dictated proceedings. Unfortunately the whoops of joy were coming from the Richmond fans, so Helen and I wandered back to the ponds for more birds. Helen had a greater cormorant fixed in the viewfinder waiting for it to leap from it’s perch. It wasn’t going to oblige, until I walked into the scene and Helen got the shot that I wished I had taken.
Early Sunday, Steve took us on a tour to winery road to walk to the Tookayerta bridge to photograph the Steam ranger as it passed at 11.00am. We were joined by Judy Sara, and Bruce Nankivell. Steve’s planning was impeccable. The train arrived on time. Not only did we see the train, but also a plantation of banksia coccinea a buzz with bees and honeyeaters. I believe everyone in the group photographed the female mistletoe bird in its purse like nest. Back at the cars I commented that my phone could dial up birds. Sure enough we played the song of the blue wren and then the fan tailed cuckoo, to be accosted within seconds by the respective birds. Lunch was at the general store in the little town of Finnis.
At around sunset those who were still standing (and had the enthusiasm to take photos) met at Sugars Beach on Hindmarsh Island to photograph (more birds) and the sunset on the beach. Di’s assessment was along the lines of “this is just wonderful”
The last morning, after packing up the van, we headed down to the Goolwa Barrages. This is another good spot for fur seals (and water birds). At the lock a sailing boat passed through heading towards the Murray mouth. In the background the Paddle-steamer Oscar was sounding it’s whistle as it took visitors for a trip around the bay.
In the carpark it was time for farewells. “Steve, Judy, Di, Frances, Bev and Gordon, this has been a wonderful occasion. Thanks for making it an enjoyable weekend.