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Investigator Group

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Investigator Group


The Investigator Group is an archipelago comprising three scattered island groups off the western coast of the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. It is named after HMS Investigator, which was captained by Matthew Flinders when he explored the area in 1802. It lies at the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight in the Southern Ocean. All the islands except Flinders Island, and a part of Pearson Island, are within the Investigator Group Conservation Park.

Description

The northernmost group lies 3 km offshore near the small town of Elliston. It consists of Waldegrave (292 ha) and Little Waldegrave (32 ha) Islands. They have calcarenite soils and were grazed by sheep until 1967. The vegetation is mainly regenerating pasture, with patches of native shrubland dominated by Native Juniper and Coast Daisy-bush.[1]

The second group lies 28 km offshore. It consists of Flinders Island, which at 36 km2 is the largest island in the Investigator Group, with Ward Island and Topgallant Island. Flinders is leasehold land used for grazing. It has sandy, calcarenite soils, is mainly vegetated with pasture grasses, and has some remnant patches of heathland and Melaleuca woodland. Ward Island, 16 km to the west of Flinders, is covered with shrubland and heathland. Topgallant Island, 6 km to the east of Flinders, is a small island with steep cliffs and some stunted shrubland.[1]

The third and southernmost group consists of Pearson Island (213 ha), the Veteran Isles (14 ha) and Dorothee Island (56 ha). Pearson Island, the second largest of the whole Investigator Group, and containing its highest point at 231 m above sea level, is vegetated with shrub and heathland with patches of Casuarina and Melaleuca woodland. The Veteran Isles support low shrubland dominated by Twiggy Daisy-bush and Marsh Saltbush. Lying 3 km south-south-west of the Veteran Isles is Dorothee Island, the most southerly of the Investigator Group.[1][2]

Birds

The islands have been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because they support over 1% of the world population of Cape Barren Geese and a population of the vulnerable Fairy Tern. The IBA probably also supports over 1% of the world populations of Black-faced Cormorants and Pacific Gulls.[3]

Other birds for which the IBA is significant include large numbers of breeding Short-tailed Shearwaters and White-faced Storm-Petrels. Little Penguins breed on Waldegrave, Little Waldegrave, Pearson and Dorothee Islands. The biome-restricted Rock Parrot has been recorded from most islands in the group.[1]

References

Coordinates: 33°45′S 134°30′E / 33.750°S 134.500°E / -33.750; 134.500

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