Thompson Beach is the northern gateway of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, parts of which are also now incorporated in a National Park that goes by the indigenous name of Winaityinaityi Pangkara*.
The Sanctuary/Park have been created to preserve a safe haven for shorebirds that migrate each year between Australia and the northern hemisphere; as well as protecting native resident species.
Some of the many migratory bird species include:
- red-necked stints
- grey plover
- sharp-tailed sandpipers
- ruddy turnstone
- bar-tailed godwit
- pacific golden plovers
More than 50 species of migratory birds have been recorded in the Sanctuary/Park, in addition to ninety species of inland birds.
The Samphire Coast Shorebird Trails at Thompson Beach provide walks demonstrating the conservation significance of the area. The Northern walk goes all the way to Bakers Creek (near Webb Beach) and the Southern Walk extends though to Third Creek.
The North Trail is a 5km return walk and the South Trail, 3.6km – so it’s an easy walk for most folks and without any big hills to contend with.
The trails were established thanks to the efforts of residents, Thompson Beach Ratepayers Association, Mallala Foreshore Advisory Committee, Two Wells Lewiston & Districts Landcare Group, Mallala Greening Committee and the Playford Greening and Landcare Group.
A detailed, free colour brochure prepared by Anne Jensen of Wetland Care Australia detailing the highlights of the Shorebird Trails is sometimes available from the information board at the southern end of the Thompson Beach.
In total, the Bird Sanctuary encompasses over 60 km of coastline; running from St Kilda in the south to Port Parham in the north. The completion of the national park for the Bird Sanctuary is expected to occur by late 2017.
As well as protecting birds, the sanctuary will also improve the quality of the water entering the Gulf of St. Vincent, help protect the coastline from climate change impacts and create opportunities relating to local and international tourism.
You can learn more about the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary/National Park here.
As well as birds, the Thompson Beach area is also home to various other creatures; such as kangaroos, wallabies and various reptiles. There are some brown snakes in the area; so take special care during summer.
* Winaityinaityi Pangkara (pronounced Wee-nay-chi-nay-chi Pan-ker-a ) is a name provided by Kaurna People, the traditional owners of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. Winaityinaityi Pangkara means “a country for all birds and the country that surrounds these birds,” according to Kaurna elder, Jeffrey Newchurch.