Key Species : Stubble Quail (summer chance), Little Penguin, Southern Giant-Petrel (winter chance), Wedge-tailed Shearwater (summer), Yellow-nosed Albatross (chance), Buff-banded Rail, Baillon's Crake (summer chance), Spotless Crake (summer), Little Stint (long shot), Inland Dotterel (long shot), Oriental Pratincole (long shot), waders (summer), Great Skua (winter), Pomarine Jaeger (summer), Arctic Jaeger (summer), Roseate Tern (summer/autumn chance), Fairy Tern (summer), Bridled Tern (summer), Regent Parrot (chance), Barn Owl (small chance), White-fronted Chat (good chance), Little Grassbird (summer), Brown Songlark (summer). Mammals : Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii), Australian Sea-lion (Neophoca cinerea). Reptiles : Western Limestone Ctenotus (Ctenotus australis), King's Skink (Egernia kingii), Black Tiger Snake (Notechis ater), Carpet Python (Morelia spilota imbricata) (chance).
1. Penguin Island (S32° 18“ 21" E115° 41“ 36" UBD Map 464 J9)
Penguin Island is a place that I often visit when showing visitors around. The island is about 1km offshore and is part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park that is managed by CALM. The ferry leaves from the Mersey Point jetty (S32° 18“ 16" E115° 42“ 02" UBD Map 464 M9) on the hour from 9am to 3pm (September to May) returning every hour from 10am to 4pm. Park in the car park along Arcadia Drive. Contact Penguin and Seal Island Cruises (formerly Rockingham Sea Tours) (08 9528 2004 Fax : 08 9592 2826) to confirm the times. They also operate tours to some of the other islands where you can see Australian Sea-lions and Bottlenose Dolphins.
I usually catch the 9am ferry across to the island, walk around the island clockwise and then catch the 10am return ferry. Look for jaegers harassing the terns in summer during the short crossing. Look for skinks on the path between the kiosk and jetty.
A few Little Penguins can be seen all year around. From the ferry walk along the beach on the left to the steps and boardwalk that crosses to the far side of the island. There are usually one or two penguins under the start of the boardwalk or in the rocks nearby to the left. Otherwise you need to look in the caves that are around the island. From the top of the boardwalk look for seabirds out to sea. On the far beach check along the beach to the left, and then walk to the northern end of the beach. Then use the other boardwalk to cross back over the island. A colony of Australian Pelicans has nested on the north end of the island since late 1998. If you have time, then check along the beach to the north where there are a number of caves. As you return to the information centre walk slowly and look for Buff-banded Rail and King's Skink.
The best time of the year to visit is from November to March. This is when large numbers of Bridled Terns nest, and there is a better chance of seeing Buff-banded Rail. The Buff-banded Rail can be seen on the beach if there is a lot of beach cast seaweed, or else they are near the boardwalk between the jetty and the information centre either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
In September and May you should take a spotting scope as there is a good chance of seeing a few seabirds offshore such as Great Skua, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Flesh-footed Shearwater, etc.
If you have some time before or after the ferry then continue around Arcadia Drive to the sand island opposite Waimea Road (S32° 18“ 19" E115° 42“ 49" UBD Map 465 A9). There can be terns and waders on the island.
Heading back towards Point Peron, you can stop along Arcadia Drive near Churchill Avenue (UBD Map 464 M3) opposite Seal Island. With a spotting scope you can see Australian Sea-lions on the beach of Seal Island.
2. Point Peron (S32° 16“ 18" E115° 41“ 14" UBD Map 444 F10)
Follow Point Peron Road to the junction where you follow the road to the left to the car park and then follow the dirt road on the right to the cliff. Look for seabirds, terns, etc. In winter I have seen Southern Giant-Petrel, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Little Penguin, etc. In summer look for Wedge-tailed Shearwater. In late May 1997 there was a pair of Roseate Terns breeding on Bird Island.
If you have time, then check the beach to the right of Point Peron and to the left of the car park for possible waders including Pied Oystercatcher.
At the right of the junction at the end of Point Peron Road you can park in the car park near the gate (S32° 16“ 38" E115° 47“ 12" UBD Map 476 H9) and walk to the beach. In summer there are sometimes a few waders on the beach.
3. Garden Island (S32° xx“ xx" E115° xx“ xx" UBD Map 443)
Garden Island is a naval base and access is severely restricted. There is a day recreation area which the public can access via boats. Birds Australia WA usually organises one outing there each summer. The vegetation is like Rottnest Island used to be before most of the trees were removed. I have been to Garden island once and the best species seen were White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Banded Lapwing, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Golden Whistler, Tammar Wallabies and a Carpet Python.
4. Lake Richmond (S32° 17“ 00" E115° 42“ 40" UBD Map 445 A16)
You can access the west side of Lake Richmond from Safety Bay Road or the north side from Lake Street opposite Vickery Street (S32° 16“ 52" E115° 47“ 12" UBD Map 445 A15). This is a freshwater lake which is usually of most interest in summer time when it can have a few waterbirds, some waders including Banded Stilt and the chance of Buff-banded Rail.
5. Lake Cooloongup (S32° xx“ xx" E115° xx“ xx" UBD Map 446 P13)
The access to Lake Cooloongup is off the eastern end of Dixon Road near Mandurah Road. Park at the car park (S32° 16“ 37" E115° 47“ 09" UBD Map 446 P13) and walk about 500 metres along the track until you get to an open area (S32° 16“ 51" E115° 47“ 13"). The track continues on the other side slightly to the left and leads for about 500 metres past a picnic area to the edge of the lake (S32° 17“ 05" E115° 47“ 18"). The woodland is good for a variety of bush birds including a chance of Red-capped Parrot and possibly Regent Parrot. The lake can be very good as the level drops in summer. The best area is the north east corner. I have seen Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Little Grassbird, Spotless Crake and in February 1994 there was a Little Stint in breeding plumage and possibly a Baird's Sandpiper.
6. Lake Walyungup (S32° 19“ 30" E115° 46“ 46" UBD Map 476 L2)
Northern Side - Park on the southern side of Safety Bay Road 1km west of Mandurah Road. There is a gate with easy access to the northern shore of the lake.
Eastern Side (S32° 21“ 17" E115° 47“ 09" UBD Map 476 P15) - Park on the western side of Mandurah Road opposite Outridge Road.
7. Amarillo Pool (S32° xx“ xx" E115° xx“ xx" UBD Map 497 K14)
Amarillo Pool is on private land. The Birds Australia WA Group usually has one or two visits each summer to look for the waterbirds and waders. Travel south on Mandurah Road, turn left into Paganoni Road for several kilometres, and turn right into Grove Road.
8. Alcoa Wellard Wetlands (S32° 18“ 18" E115° 50“ 18" UBD Map 468 C8)
The Alcoa Wellard Wetlands is located on Zig Zag Road. They are old clay pits that have been rehabilitated by ALCOA. From Perth drive south on the Kwinana Freeway, turn left (east) at Mundijong Road, right (south) at St Albans Road, and right (west) at Zig Zig Road. Park in the small limestone car park on the right at the gate. From the car park walk through the gate to the information sign. I usually start at the Warbler Hide to look over Black Swan Lake for a few waterbirds and the arboretum for some bush birds including a chance of Red-capped Parrot. Then walk down to Cormorant Lake checking the meadow on the right for possible crakes. Turn left and walk 150 metres to Spinebill Hide (S32° 18“ 05" E115° 50“ 18"). Look for waterbirds including Great Crested Grebe from the hide. To the left of the hide there are some typha reeds. This is a good site for Clamorous Reed-warbler and in summer it is a fairly reliable site for Spotless Crake and a chance of Baillon's Crake. Continue past Cormorant Lake to Peregrine Hide (500 metres from the information sign) and Egret Lake. This is an excellent site for Great Crested Grebe and other waterbirds. You should always keep an eye out for raptors such as Swamp Harrier and Whistling Kite. You can walk back around Black Swan Lake although you are unlikely to see very much different.
9. WA Water Ski Park (S32° 17“ 05" E115° 50“ 55" UBD Map 448 G15)
WA Water Ski Park is located in St Albans Road north of Mundijong Road. This is private land, but permission is usually granted if you ask at the kiosk. From the kiosk, head along the east side of the lakes to the south eastern corner. Park and cross the fence to the old clay pits. Walk along the fence beside the drain. Stubble Quail and White-fronted Chat are possible here. Check the clay pits for waterbirds and waders. This area has had more than its fair share of south west rarities such as Inland Dotterel, Oriental Pratincole, etc. Red-capped Plover breed beside the pits.
WA Water Ski Park, 101 St Albans Road, Baldivis (Phone : 08 9524 1401 Fax : 08 9524 1055)
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002||Visits||Last Modified 3rd February 2003|