Having shown you all the beautiful ducks at Herdsman Lake in Perth, Western Australia, last week I thought I should show you some more of the birds that we saw on June 25th. Although we were only in Perth for a few days we were not going to miss an opportunity to see some birds that we never get here at home in Broome and others we do get, but in a totally different environment. The very first bird that we heard and then saw was a beautifully coloured male Splendid Fairy-wren. It wasn’t going to stay still for long as it hopped around the trees and it’s duller female friends hopped around behind him, but the “blue” is rather obvious!
As we wandered around the path that follows the edge of the lake we came across a family of Australian Magpies. They make an amazing warbling sound and are very protective of their nesting territories. You often hear of people having to take drastic action to prevent themselves being swooped on. Cyclists in Perth attach electrical cable ties to their helmets, so a piece of plastic sticks up to try and scare them off!
The reed beds cover a huge area of the lake and perfect habitat for so many species of birds. As we went along a short boardwalk we came across a Purple Swamphen. Now you are confused…..it is not purple….well it is usually more blue than anything, but I didn’t choose it’s name!
The Western Australian bird emblem is the Black Swan and there were several pairs at Herdsman Lake. Tourists go to Lake Monger by the bus load to see the Black Swans there and they are plentiful. They are large birds and you wouldn’t want to get too close.
We have never seen as many Eurasian Coot as we did on the grass-they were everywhere! They waddled towards the water as I moved in to photograph the ducks. They must have had a good breeding season.
We had hoped to see a Great Crested Grebe, as we heard there had been a pair there a week or so earlier. We didn’t have any luck with them, but we did see plenty of other grebes and this Australasian Grebe was cruising along the edge of the reed-beds.
Our favourite honeyeater for the day was the White-cheeked Honeyeater. There are plenty of New-Holland Honeyeaters around and they are extremely similar, so you need to check them all. The main difference is the size of the white patch behind their eye as it is much bigger in the White-cheeked Honeyeater. The size and colouring is very similar on both species and no doubt they are often over-looked. It was not very co-operative as far as getting a photo goes, but you can clearly see the white cheeks.
We strongly recommend a trip to Herdsman Lake in Perth if you ever get a chance.
Yup, I too thought Herdsman Lake was fab. But to this day I’m still not sure about the “little eagle” I saw. Got any ideas?
This looks like a place I would love to visit. Great birds and pics, Clare!
@ Andy-pleased you had a good time there as well! I think you will find you had a Whistling Kite rather than a Little Eagle. The Stilt you have on your blog on the left is a Black-winged Stilt (called Pied or White-headed in the past) and they are actually not present there at the moment after such a wet summer inland in Australia. They are just starting to return to Roebuck Bay and 4 Red-necked Avocet arrived last week. The bird on the right looks like a juvenile Banded Stilt, as there is no colour on the head and the legs are pink. A juvenile Black-winged Stilt has still got some grey on it’s head and dull legs. It is always challenging in a new area! 🙂
This website may help you a bit, as it covers a lot of Australian birds from different angles-and mammals, etc if you are interested!
@ Mike-yes it is great to have somewhere like this so close to a city!
It seems Brown Snakes aren’t needed where Australian Magpies roam?! 🙂
Seriously: we have no (really) venomous snake in Germany, and our birds are very peaceful. Can you spell B-O-R-I-N-G ? Take care, and thanks for the post. 🙂
@ Jochen-I think the reason we didn’t see a snake (usually Tiger Snake there) was it was TOO COLD!!! Anyway, I saw a sea snake washed up yesterday whilst checking the Pied Oystercatchers (egg sitting continues)…so had a snake fix for the week! 🙂
I must apologise for the somewhat cryptic pictures of the stilts. I pulled them from Wikipedia and if you float over them, you’ll see what they are.
Re the eagle/kite: my initial impression was something harrier-like (and kite would fit that bill) but the eagle finally seemed to fit better. It’s interesting that on Birdstack there are no records for whistling kite in Western Australia and one other (apart from mine) for little eagle. It’s not massively representative but Morcombe too suggests that the eagle would be marginally more likely round Perth.
@ Andy-you know the saying that “often your first impression is correct”-well, we see a Swamp/Marsh Harrier every visit to Herdsman. If it flies low you will see the pale patch across it’s tail ie:-from above. Whistling Kites are common here-seen every week over our garden all year round and I presume Birdstack (which we hadn’t heard of) only has in it the data that is put in-looks like no-one in WA contributes! Little Eagle are also around here. Birds Australia also has data, but once again only what people choose to contribute into the database. Happy Birding! 🙂