Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:00

Gluepot Reserve

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Visited 10-11 May 2010 & Sept. 2011

Gluepot Reserve which was bought by Birding Australia in 1997 has been near the top of my must visit photographic locations for as long as I have been into bird photography. A lot of birders and photographers visit Gluepot, so a search of the web will reveal a fair bit of information.

All the above photos were taken from the hide situated near the old Gluepot homestead site. In fact almost 80% of the images taken from gluepot were taken from this hide.


Gluepot is located 64 km north of Waikerie in the Riverland district. The access track is signposted, however I was still happy to have the GPS as a backup.

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Facilities and Resources

The modern and well appointed information centre was a pleasant surprise on arrival. It was easy to locate property maps and brochures and with the help of a friendly and knowledgeable volunteer we were soon on our way to our chosen camping ground.

There are three excellent camping grounds (Sitella, Bellbird and Babbler) with drop toilets located on the property. There  are no showers or drinking water provided so bring your own. You will also need to take your rubbish with you when leaving. The extensive track system on the property was well maintained, however though it is not common rain will quickly make these tracks impassable. Both the acess and internal tracks are negotiable by two wheel drive vehicles.

This is a remote area so it was not surprising that we did not have internet or mobile phone coverage. 

As expected there was a network of walks that covered the various habitats. There is an informative brochure for each walk available from the information centre. These brochures contain information on habitats and  bird species that may be encountered.      

 Walk 1          Malleefowl 5.5 km return
 Walk 2  Grasswren 6 km circuit
 Walk 3  Bluebush 10.3 km circuit
 Walk 4  Oil Line Various options  
 Walk 5  Babbler Camp Nth          2.4 km  circuit
 Walk 5  Babbler Camp Sth 2.9 km circuit
 Walk 6  Big Sand Dune 10.6 km out and back 
 Walk 7  Black Oak Swamp 6.6 km & 4.5 km options          
 Walk 8  Gypsum Lunette 5.5 km
 Walk 9  Broggy's Hole 5.5 km circuit
 Walk 10  Airstrip 1.2 km
 Walk 11  Botanic 850 m
 Walk 12  Whistler 6 km circuit
 Walk 13  Old Gluepot Heritage           1.5 km


There are five well constructed bird Hides located on the property. To attract the birds they are provided with elevated water troughs that put the birds roughly at eye level. Unfortunately from a photographer's point of view there appears to have been little or no consideration of the setting. This results often in shaded perches and busy backgrounds.The photographer has the ability to install perches directly into and around the troughs. Given the distance to the troughs I tended to use a 500mm lens on my D300 for the largers birds and a 500mm + 1.7 TC for the smaller species. Of course apart from the use of the hides it is still possible to target particular species by taking a walk in their preferred habitat.


The 54,000ha property is part of the largest block of Mallee left in Australia. Close examination soon revealed many varied habitats and niches. These included ; Old and regrowth Mallee, Spinifex, Black Oak woodland, Callitris Woodland and Bluebush. The age of some of the tree species meant there were plenty of nesting hollows evident.

The last image in this series shows the water trough at the Gluepot Hide.

The Birds

According to the Birds Australia website the Black-eared Miner, Malleefowl, Red-lored Whistler, Regent Parrot, Scarlet-chested Parrot and Striated Grasswren are included in the 18 nationally threatened species found on Gluepot Reserve. A further 17 species of regionally threatened birds live there (e.g. Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Hooded Robin and Redthroat). In all, 197 species of bird have been recorded on Gluepot Reserve (Ref. Birding Australia website).

Below is a list of the birds that I managed to photograph. Not a bad tally given the time of year and the duration of the stay.The birds list is over 190 species.

Mulga Parrot Australian Ringneck Grey Currawong
Red-capped Robin Hooded Robin Red Wattlebird
Yellow-plumedHoneyeater            Australian Magpie Striated Pardalote
Grey-shrike Thrush Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike           Black-faced Woodswallow               
Grey Butcherbird Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Red-lored Whistler
Chestnut Quail-thrush Jacky Winter Brown Goshawk

There is a bird list available from the information centre.

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