The abundance of wildlife at Fogg Dam is extraordinary
A birdwatchers paradise Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve is a wildlife and bird habitat just a short drive from Darwin city. Teaming with wildlife, this conservation park is home to birds, turtles, frogs, water pythons and crocodiles making it a nature lovers paradise.
As the wetlands across the Top End recede, Fogg Dam becomes a birdwatchers delight.
Fogg Dam is part of the Adelaide River catchment area and one of several connected catchments that make up the Top End wetlands.
When flowing you will find many species of birds at the causeway edge including Australia’s only Stork, the Jabiru, Royal Spoonbills, Pied Heron, Great Egrets, Ibis, Kites and Magpie Geese fishing in the waterways. The ability to get close to the birds and other wildlife amazes me every time we visit.
The dam was built in the 1956 to irrigate the Humpty Doo Rice Project. When the agricultural project failed the dam had already become a haven for wildlife, especially waterbirds. In 1959, Fogg Dam was declared a Bird Protection area.
These wetlands have international significance because of their diversity of wildlife habitats, natural water systems and importance to Aboriginal people.
The Limilngan-Wulna people of the Top End play an important role in the Dams management and have identified a number of sacred sites across these floodplains.Are you a bird lover? Get up close and personal with the Jabiru (Black Headed Stork), Royal Spoonbills and the White Bellied Sea-Eagle. Click To Tweet
A natural habitat for wildlife, reptiles, birds and plants
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, there is an abundance of birds to be seen around the causeway during the wet season, however it’s the diversity of wildlife within easy walking distance makes this habitat so interesting and valuable.
Over 230 species of birds have been noted in the ‘The Australian Bird Atlas’.
What to see and do
Birdwatching – Over 230 different bird species have been found in the Fogg Dam area, many of these, rare. It’s important not to startle the birds. Keep your distance from them and their nests while moving slowly and quietly along the trails.
Watch out for – Butterflies, dragonflies, rare frogs, reptiles and amphibians, saltwater & freshwater crocodiles, turtles, frilled lizards, skinks, dragons, geckos and monitors.
Experience the natural habitats – Eucalypt forest, Paperbark swamp lands, open scrublands, melaleuca woodland, floodplain and open waters.
Home to birds, reptiles, mammals and marsupials as well as a number of rare grasses, pandanus. Lotus waterlilies which can be seen seasonally on the floodplain and are in bloom between December and July.
Take a Walk amongst the habitats
Woodlands to Waterlily Walk – Leads you through forest habitats that fringe the floodplains onto a Boardwalk taking you onto the Dam. Length: 2.2 km return. Approximately 45 minutes. Grade: Easy
Monsoon Forest Walk – Passes through a variety of habitats, including monsoon and paperbark forests, and then onto the floodplains. Length: 2.7 km return. Time: 1.5 hours. Grade: Easy.
Dam Wall Access – The causeway is closed to pedestrians at all times. Shaded viewing platforms are located on the dam wall. You will need to park your vehicle closeby on the dam wall to access these. Access with care.
Pandanus Lookout – Provides wonderful views overlooking the floodplains. Great for sunset or sunrise picnics. Parking available.
How the seasons affect the birds
Many birds migrate from the northern hemisphere in the build-up of the wet season and when the rains start waterbirds often leave, heading to other wetlands to breed.
During the dry season birds arrive from other parts of Australia to escape the winter and waterbirds return when the other wetlands start to dry out.
Best time to visit
The season and time of day will impact on the number and range of birds that you will see at Fogg Dam.
It’s likely you will see more birds early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. Waterbirds can be seen at any time of the day.
Dawn and sunset can show magnificent colours and sunrise at Fogg Dam can be an extraordinary experience. About a half hour before sunrise with early light, the dawn chorus of birds begins. Unforgettable!
In the wet season, sensational electric storms can often be seen from the causeway.
The dam wall or causeway
The causeway is essentially one lane wide with designated pull-over areas for vehicles to pass. Please observe this courtesy.
A number of platforms are located across the dam wall for safe viewing.
Be Aware: The dam wall is closed for walking due to a potential risk of crocodile activity. Do NOT walk on the Dam wall.
At the western side of the causeway there is a multi-level viewing platform for visitors to access for sweeping views across the floodplain.
What to take
- Camera with a good lens
- A bird field guide.
Wear dull coloured clothing and ensure you wear insect repellant.
How to get there
Located on the Adelaide River floodplain between Darwin and Kakadu, Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve is a 45 minute drive from Darwin city and one of the most accessible places in the Northern Territory to experience the wetlands and wildlife year round.
Drive 60 klms south along the Stuart and Arnhem Highways from Darwin. Turn left into Anzac Parade and travel a further 10 klms to the reserve.
Caution, Safety & Comfort
Crocodiles – Crocodiles are often seen in Fogg Dam. They move silently and can travel great distances and remain submerged and undetected for some time. Please heed the safety advice and be aware that crocodiles frequent the Dam.
Biting Insects – beware, biting insects are part of the wetland web of life. Mosquitoes can be a problem in the Park around sunrise and sunset. Wear protective clothing and apply insect repellent.
- Observe all Crocodile warning signs
- Carry and drink plenty of water
- Wear a shady hat, sunscreen and take insect repellent
- Wear suitable clothing and footwear
- Carry a first aid kit
- No fishing
- Nets, traps or firearms are NOT permitted.
- No pets are permitted in the Conservation Reserve.
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Have you visited Fogg Dam? Did you see any of these amazing birds or maybe you spotted a crocodile as we did? Share your story with us in the comments below.