Australia / Bird Photography

Tolderol Bird Photography – South Australia

11 Jul ’18

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The video above is a bird photography vlog from a trip with my good friend Craig Greer. We set off to try and find as well as photograph the oriental pratincole that had been recently spotted. We found many species along the way. make sure to watch in HD. Tolderol Game Reserve is a protected area of south-east of Adelaide and on the north-western side of Lake Alexandrina.

Tolderol is a well-regarded bird watching location where a large variety of waterfowl and migratory wader bird species can be seen. There have been 182 bird species recorded at Tolderol, more info on the BIRDS SA website:

Red-kneed dotterels (Erythrogonys cinctus) are plentiful in this location.

Australian Spotted Crake Porzana fluminea - Nicolas Rakotopare

Australian Spotted Crake – Although a quite shy and secretive species this individual was more focused on food and I watched his movement patterns for a while before laying down. Wearing the ghillie suit and standing still made him not pay too much attention to me anymore and he ventured outside the bush it was hiding in and feeding around. Looking rather dull from the distance when you get up close you can see the diversity of tones and patterns in their plumage. This species inhabits the margins of well-vegetated saline, brackish freshwater or wetlands here they usually remain hidden among dense shrubs, grass or thickets.

pectoral sandpiper calidris melanotos at tolderol - Nicolas Rakotopare

A Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) foraging in the shallow water. I feel like wader birds can be a little underrated, I love their plumage patterns and their migration distances are incredible. Here is a short clip of this individual foraging:

A young Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) flying in the light rain at Tolderol – There were many of them hovering around this spot, beautiful little birds and I like the colors created by the vegetation in the background.

If you are visiting Adelaide and surrounds I recommend a  visit to Tolderol Game Reserve. You should always check the weather and the tracks state before heading out as rain might have made some areas impassable. During our trips, a generic SUV would be fine for most areas. The birdlife is really interesting and varied, how many species can you count in the image below? mixed flock tolderol game reserve - Nicolas Rakotopare

My photography tip for this article? Get low. This does not apply to birds only but wildlife in general. By getting close to the ground you have better chances of blurring the background behind your subject (unless it is right behind him) and this helps remove the distraction and increases focus on the main subject. The shot of the Australian Spotted Crake would have been way less interesting if I had been taking it from a higher point of view instead of laying down and getting all the background blurred. There are exceptions to every rule but this is one of the main steps to get better wildlife images.

wildlife photography tolderol adelaideCraig Greer (right) and myself with our ghillie suit.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the video, the images and the tip! Subscribe to my youtube channel for more:

To see more of Craig’s work head over to and follow him on instagram:

Tolderol Game Reserve – Google Maps

I you feel like discovering an incredible area of the world for wildlife photography, i’ve created a free ebook on wildlife photography in the Kinabatangan River in Borneo (Sabah): Download for computers, smartphones and tables here:



Nicolas Rakotopare

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