Key Species : Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater (chance), Australasian Gannet, Osprey (good chance), White-bellied Sea-Eagle (good chance), Buff-banded Rail (chance), Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel (chance), Eastern Curlew (good chance), Banded Stilt, Pacific Golden Plover (chance), Greater Sand Plover, Hooded Plover, Common Tern, Arctic Tern (chance), Fairy Tern, Regent Parrot (chance), Little Grassbird (good chance). Mammals : Bottlenose Dolphin.
Mandurah (Post Office S32° 32´ 04" E115° 43´ 16") is a rapidly growing city about one hour south of Perth on the coast at the mouth of the Harvey Peel Estuary. You can check a few of the sites as you are passing through, or visit Mandurah from Perth for a full day, or better still stay two or three days and see the area without any rush. Pinjarra also has excellent birding sites and is only half an hour away to the east. The best time of year to visit is from November to March.
Also see the Birds Australia WA series of bird guide brochures including Mandurah.
1. Mandurah Harbour (S32° 31´ 25" E115° 42´ 55" UBD Map 525 C10)
From Perth head south to Mandurah turning right onto Mandurah Terrace. Continue along Mandurah Terrace until the roundabout near the Atrium Hotel and turn right onto Peel Street, right again at the roundabout onto Ormsby Terrace, and first left onto Dolphin Drive which leads to the northern breakwater and the boat harbour. Dolphin Drive is mostly unsealed. There is often one or two Common Sandpipers along the shore. Continue straight ahead to the end at the boat yard. Walk around the fence to the right of the boat yard to the sandy point in the inner harbour where the terns usually roost. In summer there is usually a small group of Crested Terns and up to 40 Common Terns and on a couple of occasions (including early January 1996) there has been an Arctic Tern with them. The terns sometimes roost on the wooden poles and the buoys in the harbour. There used to be a small number but a good variety of waders along the shore but in recent years there has been too much disturbance from dogs and vehicles. Bottlenose Dolphins are often seen swimming in the boat harbour.
Return along Dolphin Drive and turn left at Whale Road and follow it around to the end of the breakwater and the mouth of the estuary. The area of salt marsh has grown in recent years. It used to be a good location for Greater Sand Plover and breeding Red-capped Plover but they now seem to have left this area. A few White-fronted Chats also used to be commonly seen. If you look along the breakwater you should see Darter and there is a chance of Nankeen Night Heron late in the day and Eastern Reef Egret. If you look out to sea you may see some Wedge-tailed Shearwaters but Halls Head is a more reliable location. The end of breakwater has been excavated in recent years. This used to be the site of a Fairy Tern breeding colony in summer but in 1997/1998 they did not attempt to breed. The Fairy Terns can easily be seen feeding in the boat harbour if they are present. A pair of Roseate Terns also used to be seen in summer but it has been several years since they have been sighted.
2. Halls Head (S32° 31´ 13" E115° 42´ 03" UBD Map 524 N8)
Make your way south around the confusion of one way streets to Pinjarra Road, travel west and cross the old Mandurah traffic bridge and continue along Mary Street to the roundabout at Leighton Road. Galah, Australian White Ibis and Straw-necked Ibis can often be seen on the lawns near the roundabout. Continue along Mary Street into Halls Head Parade which follows the coast and park in the car park near the point. Look along the beach for roosting terns which can include Crested, Caspian, Fairy and Common. There can be a few waders on the point including Greater Sand Plover and possibly Sanderling. Look west for Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (but also check for the pale bill of possible Flesh-footed Shearwater) either flying or on the surface and possible Australasian Gannet which sometimes feed along a channel within about 100 metres or so of the shore. The Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are only present in summer when they breed on Rottnest Island and Garden Island.
3. Mandurah Bypass (Western Side) (S32° 32´ 58" E115° 42´ 50" UBD Map 535 C5)
From the old traffic bridge turn south along the Old Coast Road and turn left at the Castle Fun Park along Leisure Way. Continue under the western side of the Mandurah Bypass bridge and either park in the woodland near the estuary or in the car park near the toilets. From the car park follow the sandy track parallel with the bypass to a small artificial wetland. Walk along the eastern side of the wetland and then turn east along a track back to the estuary. Walk south along the estuary to a small inlet and then return to the car park along the estuary. Allow one to two hours for the walk. Look for waterbirds (including some ducks and Little Egret), waders (including possible Whimbrel and Eastern Curlew), raptors (including Osprey which nests nearby and White-bellied Sea-Eagle) and possible Regent Parrot.
4. Soldiers Cove (S32° 32´ 21" E115° 43´ 20" UBD Map 535 F1)
From the bypass return along Waterside Drive and turn left along Leslie Street towards Mandurah. Turn left at William Place and park near the small jetty. There is some salt marsh and a small island in the channel. Look for waterbirds and waders (including possible Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew and Grey-tailed Tattler). This site is usually worth a quick check if you have the time.
5. Coodanup (S32° 33´ 50" E115° 44´ 21" UBD Map 535 P11)
From the intersection with Fremantle Road travel east along Pinjarra Road towards Pinjarra and turn right at Wanjeep Street. Continue to the end into Peel Parade and almost immediately turn right down a track to a car park on the shore of the Peel Inlet. The small swamp near the car sometimes has Yellow-billed Spoonbill and other waterbirds and possible Buff-banded Rail. Look along the shores and the shallows of the estuary for waders (including Banded Stilt and Bar-tailed Godwit) and waterbirds such as Australian Shelduck and Australian Pelican which are abundant. You will need a spotting scope. Then walk around the shore to the left towards the Creery Wetlands. The samphire often has Little Grassbird and sometimes White-fronted Chat. Look for waders in the shallows. If you are keen, you can wade across the shallows (usually about 0.5 metres deep) to Creery Island which is a nature reserve. Walk around the northern shore and also check the lagoon on the island.
6. Creery Wetlands (S32° 33.5´ E115° 43.3´ UBD Map 535 F10)
7. Mouth of Serpentine River (S32° 34´ 10" E115° 45´ 37" UBD Map 536 F14)
From Coodanup continue parallel to the inlet along Peel Parade into John Street and park at the end near the wildlife sanctuary. If you follow the track for a short distance there is an area of samphire on the right and a small wetland on the left. Look for possible Banded Stilt, Buff-banded Rail and Little Grassbird. From where you park, walk around the shore of the inlet towards the mouth of the Serpentine River where there is a sand bank. Look for waders such as Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Great Knot, Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet and possible Eastern Curlew and Hooded Plover.
8. Harvey Peel Estuary (Boat Cruise)
The best way to get to see most of the estuary is by boat. Avocet Wildlife Cruises has recently commenced wildlife cruises on the Peel Estuary from Thursday to Sunday. Contact them on 0412 159 397.
9. Goegrup Lake (South west corner) (S32° 31´ 33" E115° 46´ 29" UBD Map 526 L11)
Heading south on Mandurah Road, turn left at the lights at Gordon Road. Continue past the waste treatment facility (the tip!) and turn right at Lakes Road, and second on the left at Bedingfeld Road. Park at the end at the corner of Koolyanga Road. Walk around the white gate and along the rough track around the samphire salt marsh to the edge of the lake. The corner of the lake on the right is good for some waterbirds including Little Egret and possibly Buff-banded Rail or Spotless Crake.
10. Goegrup Lake (South east corner) (S32° 31´ 33" E115° 47´ 47" UBD Map 527 C10)
Heading south on Mandurah Road, turn left at the lights at Gordon Road and continue until it becomes Lakes Road. Cross the Serpentine River and take the first right at Lakelands Road, and then the first right at Dunkerton Road. Park at the end. Walk down the track. This salt lake depends on the water level which is usually fairly high until after Christmas. Look for waterbirds (including Black Swan and Little Egret) and waders (including Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet and some migratory waders).
11. Black Lake (North) (S32° 31´ 25" E115° 47´ 37" UBD Map 527 C10)
From Dunkerton Road turn first left onto Shenton Road and first right onto Meares Road. There is a short track at the end to the edge of the lake. This lake is very similar to Goegrup Lake except that the water level is higher than Goegrup Lake, and so the birding is usually best later in the summer.
12. Black Lake (South) (S32° 33´ 01" E115° 47´ 45" UBD Map 537 E6)
From Mandurah head east along Pinjarra Road and turn left onto Davis Road. Park at the end of Davis Road. Rogers Road which is shown on the map is only a sandy track. Walk along this track to the edge of the lake. I haven't birded here at the best time of the year, but I assume that you would find similar species to the north end of the lake.
13. Dawesville Cut (S32° 36.2´ E115° 37.8´ UBD Map 543 B13)
Head south along the Old Coast Road towards Bunbury. After you cross the Port Bouvard Bridge turn right and follow the rough track towards the mouth of the Dawesville Channel and park in the car park. Walk out to the end of the breakwater. Shearwaters (Wedge-tailed or Flesh-footed) often feed very close to the breakwater and sometimes they fly along the channel. Bottlenose Dolphin are seen fairly often.
14. Island Point Reserve (S32° 45.3´ E115° 41.8´)
Continue south along the Old Coast Road and turn left at Southern Estuary Drive and then left at the sign for the 10th Light Horse Bridle Trail and continue along the unsealed track to the picnic area at the end. This is an excellent place for a lunch stop plus there are usually a few waterbirds to be seen. Osprey and Whistling Kite breed nearby.
15. Lake Preston (S32° 52.8´ E115° 39.9´)
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2004||Visits||Last Modified 31st January 2002|