Key Species : Blue-billed Duck, Musk Duck, Freckled Duck (chance), Black Swan, Australasian Shoveller, Pink-eared Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Nankeen Night Heron, Little Bittern (chance at dusk), Glossy Ibis (good chance), Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Swamp Harrier, Australian Spotted Crake (summer chance), Spotless Crake (good summer chance), Wood Sandpiper (summer chance), Franklin's Gull (long shot), Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, Little Corella, Long-billed Corella (introduced), White-cheeked Honeyeater, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (introduced), Clamorous Reed-warbler, Little Grassbird. Amphibians : Oblong Turtle (Long-necked Tortoise). Reptiles : Black Tiger Snake (Notechis ater).
These are three lakes close to the city which are very good sites for waterbirds. I recommend to all birders visiting Perth that they visit Herdsman Lake and Lake Monger. These sites are also very well described in the book by van Delft, Ron & Birds Australia WA Group (1997), Birding Sites Around Perth, University of Western Australia Press, Second (Revised) Edition which is available at the Birds Australia WA office for $20.
1. Herdsman Lake (UBD Map 247 & 267)
Herdsman Lake is one of the best lakes to visit in Perth as it has a good diversity of birds. You can spend as little as half an hour at the south end or up to a full day visiting all the sites. It is a large lake about 2.5km north / south by 2km east / west with some deep areas of water and large areas of typha reeds. Beware of Black Tiger Snakes which are fairly common even on the lawns in late spring and summer.
Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre (S31° 55´ 44" E115° 48´ 19" UBD Map 267 D2) - The access is off Flynn Road opposite Selby Street at the south end of the lake. The wildlife centre was established in 1984 with the assistance of the World Wildlife Fund. It is the headquarters of the WA Gould League. There is a small entry fee. There is a viewing area upstairs, and there are a very good selection of pamphlets available that detail the history and various aspects of the wildlife of the lake. I saw a Little Bittern on the typha reeds to the right from the front of the wildlife centre at dusk in early December 2000.
Gould League Walk - This is about a 1km return walk through typha reeds and melaleucas. Most of the walk is along a boardwalk. It starts just to the right (east) of the wildlife centre. The best time of the year should be mid to late summer when there should be some exposed mud for crakes and Little Bittern is a chance at dusk. Walk slowly and quietly and allow 15 to 30 minutes.
Floreat Walk - This walk is nearly 2km one way. The walk starts at the drain near the wildlife centre and goes clockwise along the shore of the lake past Maurice Hamer Park until you reach an area of flooded trees where there is a path to the right (east) that is initially along a boardwalk and then along a path cut through the typha until you reach a drain. The boardwalk is in disrepair but hopefully it will soon be restored. I haven't done the full walk. Instead I usually visit the following two sites individually.
Maurice Hamer Park South (car park S31° 55´ 44" E115° 48´ 02" UBD Map 267 C2) - This is the main site that I visit at Herdsman Lake. I park in the small car park about 300 metres west of the wildlife centre. From Selby Street, turn left into Flynn Street / Pearson Street turn right at Falcon Avenue, and at the end turn right into Lakeside Drive. Follow this to the end and park in the car park on the left close to the lake. I look out across the lake, then walk to the drain near the wildlife centre, then back past the car park to the small platform near the small island, and then continue about 200 metres further to where there is a tree out in the water. Look for most of the ducks that occur in the south west (including a chance of Freckled Duck), Great Crested Grebe, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Clamorous Reed-warbler, Little Grassbird and Swamp Harrier. Freckled Duck has been seen several times in recent years on the small island or roosting in the tree out in the water. In summer as the lake dries out and some mud is exposed you see Wood Sandpiper, Red-kneed Dotterel and you have good chances of seeing Spotless Crake, Australian Spotted Crake and Baillon's Crake on the edge of the typha on the far side. I have seen several Black Tiger Snakes on the lawn in this area.
Maurice Hamer Park West (playground car park S31° 55´ 18" E115° 47´ 51" UBD Map 247 A15) - This can be a good site to visit in summer when the water level is lower. Follow Lakeside Drive north and park in the small car park near the playground at the north end of Maurice Hamer Park. The deeper water ducks such as Blue-billed Duck and Musk Duck tend to be more common in this area. I have twice seen a Black-tailed Native-hen on the shore. The flooded trees can be a good site for Sacred Kingfisher. This is a very good site at dusk to Nankeen Night Herons as they leave their roosts in the trees. Swamp Harrier can often be seen over the typha reeds. There is a circular walk that you can take in summer when the water has receded. It starts near the playground and goes along the short boardwalk and then along a path cut through the typha until you reach a drain. The walk then follows west along the drain until you reach the houses. You return to the car park by following around the edge of the swamp. I have seen Spotless Crake and Australian Spotted Crake and historically Little Bittern and Australasian Bittern have been recorded. There is a small escaped flock of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. Allow one to two hours to complete the full walk.
Northern Side (car park S31° 54´ 34" E115° 48´ 08" UBD Map 247 C9) -
Northern Side (equestrian centre S31° 54´ 37" E115° 48´ 15" UBD Map 247 C9) -
Eastern Side (tennis court car park S31° 55´ 27" E115° 48´ 59" UBD Map 247 H16) -
2. Lake Monger (UBD Map 247 & 267)
Lake Monger is an excellent site to visit for about 30 minutes in the south west corner. Alternatively, you can walk the 4km or so right around the lake, or drive to the northern end.
South West Corner (S31° 56´ 00" E115° 49´ 32" UBD Map 267 M4) - From the Mitchell Freeway, take the Vincent Street exit, turn west and continue on to Lake Monger Drive. Park in the western most parking area on Lake Monger Drive. There can be the very impressive sight of thousands of waterbirds on the lake. They are very popular with tourists as they come up to be fed. This is a very good site to see Black Swan, Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Blue-billed Duck, Musk Duck and Great Crested Grebe. There is a flock of Little Corellas mixed with some introduced Long-billed Corellas. In summer the island in the south west corner is a good site to see Clamorous Reed-warbler, Little Grassbird and Spotless Crake plus White-cheeked Honeyeaters are sometimes seen. Freckled Duck is recorded occasionally such as in April 1999 and April 2000.
Northern Side (S31° 55´ 27" E115° 49´ 33" UBD Map 247 M16) - Head west along Lake Monger Drive, turn first right at Gregory Street and then right at the end at Dodd Street and park at the end. Look for waterbirds, and walk a little distance along the eastern side of the lake.
3. Perry Lakes (S3x° xx´ xx" E11x° xx´ xx" UBD Map 266)
Perry Lakes are located between Underwood Avenue and Oceanic Drive. There are two lakes.
South East Lake (S3x° xx´ xx" E11x° xx´ xx" UBD Map 266 M9) - Park on the south east side off Meagher Drive opposite the Perry Lakes Statdium, or on the west side. This lake usually has water all year. The best time to visit is usually late in summer when the mud flats in front of the typha reeds are exposed. Look for waterbirds and Spotless Crake. Little Corellas mixed with a few Long-billed Corellas often roost in the eucalypts around the lake on the west side or feed on the lawns. This is probably the same flock as Lake Monger.
North West Lake (S3x° xx´ xx" E11x° xx´ xx" UBD Map 266 K8) - Park on the south west side off Perry Lakes Drive or on the northern side. This lake usually fills during winter and dries out by mid summer. However it has been dry for a few years now. When the water level is right it is a very good site for Spotless Crake and Buff-banded Rail.
4. Birds Australia WA Office (S3x° xx´ xx" E11x° xx´ xx" UBD Map 266 L6)
The Birds Australia WA office (08 9383 7749) is located at Perry House on Oceanic Drive near the corner of Perry Lakes Drive. The office is manned by volunteers from 09:30 to 12:30 Monday to Friday. Every birder visiting Perth should try to find time to visit the office. There is an extensive range of WA country bird guide brochures complete with bird lists that are available for the cost of a small donation to cover the costs of reprinting. There is a $3 booklet and the book Birding Sites Around Perth for $20 that cover the best sites in the vicinity of Perth. Birds Australia WA has monthly meetings at the WA Tennis Centre at 8pm usually on the 4th Monday of each month, and they organise many bird walks and campouts. The pine trees outside the office is often a good site for Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, Grey Butcherbird, etc.
5. Bold Park (S3x° xx´ xx" E11x° xx´ xx" UBD Map 266)
Bold Park is 150ha of bushland next to Perry Lakes. The park is surrounded by Perry Lakes Drive (east), Oceanic Drive (north), West Coast Highway (west) and Rochdale Road and Stephenson Avenue (south). There are many parking areas situated around the park. Most parking areas have signs showing the many trails. The recommended areas include Reabold Hill, the pine plantation, Camel Lake Trail, Banksia Walk, Possum Walk, Blackboy Walk and Sheoak Walk. You can spend half an hour to an hour in one area or you can spend half a day exploring many of the trails.
There are areas of tuart banksia woodland, dryandra thickets and other scrub. The highlight of Bold Park are the honeyeaters which include Little Wattlebird, Western Spinebill, White-cheeked Honeyeater and a chance of Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. Other highlights can be Brown Goshawk, Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, Painted Button-quail, Variegated Fairy-wren, possible Red-capped Parrot and Shining Bronze-Cuckoo.
Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre, Flynn Street, Wembley 6014 (08 9387 6079)
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002||Visits||Last Modified 31st January 2002|