Reprieve from the drought: Copley Retention Dam

After 3 years of drought, the thriving bird haven of the Copley Retention Dam had almost completely evaporated. Flooding summer rains in the Northern Flinders Ranges replenished the dam overnight.

Throughout the flood / drought cycle, Copley Retention Dam is supporting over 70 recorded bird species, many of which are profiled on the Flinders Ranges Field Naturalists site including birds classified as Rare by the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, such as

  • Musk Duck
  • Blue-billed Duck
  • Australasian Darter
  • Elegant Parrot
  • Great Crested Grebe.
Retention Dam in drought
Retention Dam in flood

Nankeen Night Heron

A rare glimpse of a Nankeen Night Heron in the Northern Flinders Ranges. Not usually seen in arid inland areas, these elusive nomads follow the rains. This adult flew into Copley from the south in the early evening for a brief transit stop. A distinct call signaled the arrival of a further three Nankeen Night Herons to the location around sunset. They were well hidden in the high foliage of a eucalyptus tree and are not generally sighted during the daylight hours. Arriving just days after a flood summer throughout the Flinders Ranges, Nankeen Night Herons feed on crustaceans, fish, amphibians, and insects in shallow waters such as the nearby Retention Dam.