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  • Dolphins in the Patawalonga

    Billie and tail walking

    One of the first dolphins recorded in the Patawalonga was Billie. In January 1988, she became trapped in the Pat. She was removed and placed in captivity for a short time. Fortunately, Billie was released back into the sea at West Beach. Billie spent most of her life in the Port River. She became one of South Australia’s most famous dolphins due to her unique behaviour of swimming with racehorses and her amazing tail-walking antics. Tail walking is when a dolphin leaps out of the water vertically and moves backwards on its tail.   

    Other dolphins in the Patawalonga

    Dolphins are regularly seen travelling along the metropolitan coastline. Most of the dolphins that have been observed in the Pat were first identified in the Port River, which is part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. Tiffany was one of the dolphins that travelled between the Port River and the Pat. Over the years, she was regularly seen in both areas with two of her calves, Summer and Galaxy. Lartelare was another dolphin observed travelling between the Port River and the Pat. In June 2015, she was seen with her new calf June in the Port River. Volunteers were excited to see them spending time in the Pat a few months later. Interestingly, June has often displayed behaviour similar to the tail walking observed from Billie and her friends in the Port River. Dolphins can be identified by their dorsal fins. Through identification, we know which dolphins are entering the Pat and how often they visit the area.

Dolphins in the Patawalonga

Billie and tail walking

One of the first dolphins recorded in the Patawalonga was Billie. In January 1988, she became trapped in the Pat. She was removed and placed in captivity for a short time. Fortunately, Billie was released back into the sea at West Beach. Billie spent most of her life in the Port River. She became one of South Australia’s most famous dolphins due to her unique behaviour of swimming with racehorses and her amazing tail-walking antics. Tail walking is when a dolphin leaps out of the water vertically and moves backwards on its tail.   

Other dolphins in the Patawalonga

Dolphins are regularly seen travelling along the metropolitan coastline. Most of the dolphins that have been observed in the Pat were first identified in the Port River, which is part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. Tiffany was one of the dolphins that travelled between the Port River and the Pat. Over the years, she was regularly seen in both areas with two of her calves, Summer and Galaxy. Lartelare was another dolphin observed travelling between the Port River and the Pat. In June 2015, she was seen with her new calf June in the Port River. Volunteers were excited to see them spending time in the Pat a few months later. Interestingly, June has often displayed behaviour similar to the tail walking observed from Billie and her friends in the Port River. Dolphins can be identified by their dorsal fins. Through identification, we know which dolphins are entering the Pat and how often they visit the area.

Wigley Reserve

picnic shelter

Nearest picnic shelter

Please call the Marine Mammal Emergency number (0427 556 676)
if you see:

    - ​people feeding or harassing dolphins 

    - a sick, injured or deceased dolphin

Educational resources

Activity: Marine Food Chains

Useful links

Dolphins do not belong in captivity

Billie - The dolphin that made history

Trail stations

at the South Gates

1

Station 1

at the South Gates

opposite the Patawilya Reserve

3

Station 3

opposite the Patawilya Reserve

at the Patawalonga boat ramp

4

Station 4

at the Patawalonga boat ramp

at the Diversion Basin

5

Station 5

at the Diversion Basin

at the West Beach entry

6

Station 6

at the West Beach entry

at the Stanley St beach

7

Station 7

at the Stanley St beach

Keep in mind when watching dolphins

Dolphin identification

The easiest way to identify dolphins is to look a their dorsal fins. They are often slightly different triangular shapes and many have notches, nicks and cuts. JuneJune is the dolphin we see most often in the Pat. He can be recognised by his tall dorsal fin which had a crescent shaped notch out of the top of the trailing edge. SummerSummer occasionally visits the Pat. She has a wider dorsal fin and can be recognised by the multiple notches in the trailing edge of her fin.

Station 2

along the South-East Bank

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