The Hobart

Mortimer Bay Tangara Trails Coastal Reserve

by Liz Osborne
Mortimer Bay Tangara Trails Coastal Reserve

After too many wet days cooped up inside, a walk was needed to blow away the winter cobwebs.

We wanted to see beautiful birdlife, and there’s no better place than the Mortimer Bay Coastal Reserve, part of the South Arm Coastal Reserve. It’s just a half an hour drive from Hobart, off the South Arm Road at Sandford.

We started the Tangara Trail to Mortimer Bay from the end of Palana Court Road. We were delighted to see birds every­where. Pied oystercatchers flew overhead, swans glided past, a crane was stepping along the water’s edge. The last time we had walked this way, we had seen a sea eagle perched high in a peppermint gum. We kept our eyes peeled, but it was a no-show. Our leisurely walk also gave us time to appreciate the changing views across the water, from South Arm to kunanyi/Mount Wellington.

Tangara Trail from Palana Court

After walking about six kilometres, we reached Mortimer Bay. Native hens foraged around the mouth of a small creek. Hooded plovers watched us pass. The whimbrels, eastern curlews and red-necked stints that we had observed in summer had long since migrated, leaving the beach to their Tasmanian cousins. We identified more pied oystercatchers, hooded plovers, kelp gulls, pacific gulls and silver gulls.

Tasmania’s South Arm Coastal Reserve is the southernmost destination for migratory waders in the East Asian- Australian Flyway, identified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area. Migratory shorebirds gain weight here for the long flight across the globe to their nesting grounds in Siberia. Walking along a beach in Tasmania, the thought of tiny birds flying far from our shores, over oceans and continents, to reach Siberia, is mind-blowing.

Trail leads through peppermint gums

Tasmania is connected to the Arctic regions in the northern hemisphere by migrating shore birds. The South Arm Coastal Reserve is crucial in the web of life that sustains the bird population of the world. Whilst the world is losing valuable wetlands to land reclamation and development, South Arm Coastal Reserve remains a sanctuary for the shorebirds.

 Note: Always be respectful of the local wildlife. Do not approach or disturb animals or nests, should you find one.

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February 2024

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