Perth Birds Walkabout Part One

This is a guest post by Keith Lightbody.

Perth has many interesting native birds right on the doorstep. You can walk to some of the locations mentioned below or catch a free Central Area Transit (CAT) bus*.

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Black Swans
Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

John Oldham Park

A series of lakes near the Narrows Bridge interchange. Hundreds of birds breed or visit here including cormorants, ducks, darters, coots, grebes, swamp hens, egrets, herons and black swans. A pair of black swans regularly breed here when conditions are favourable. Amazingly they often take the growing cygnets safely across 4 lanes of traffic to feed in the Swan River. Directions: get off the free Blue CAT bus at stop #19: Mount Hospital.

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

Kings Park

An internationally renowned bush treasure with a huge range of flora and birds - magic in spring but worth a visit all year round. Just some of the birds here include parrots, cockatoos, pardalotes, wattlebirds, honey eaters, wagtails, bronzewings, swallows, kingfishers and kookaburras. Birds Australia has a complete list of birds in their online guides** - including for Kings Park. On hot summer days it is best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it is cooler. Directions: get off the free Red CAT bus at stop #26: Havelock Street, walk south on Havelock and then east on Kings Park Road to the main entrance on tree lined Fraser Avenue. Alternatively there is a free Transperth bus service (routes 37 and 39 - Sunday and public holidays) to Kings Park from the city.

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Oyster Catcher
Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

South Perth foreshore

There are many waders and other seabirds to be seen going south along the western side of the Kwinana Freeway in the shallow waters of the Swan River. Directions: get off the Blue CAT bus at stop #19: Mount Hospital and after crossing over the Narrows Bridge walk south along the shore.

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

Point Fraser and Lake Vasto

This is a relatively new area at the eastern end of Perth near the Causeway  where the created wetlands also help treat stormwater runoff. A variety of ducks are already breeding in the area. Directions: get off the Red CAT bus at stop #5: Queens Gardens

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

Queens Gardens

Here you can find a Peter Pan statue, lovely gardens and another regular city breeding place for black swans. The swans build a huge nest - often 2 metres across - which they defend vigorously from any encroaching ducks, coots or moorhens. Directions: get off the Red CAT bus at stop #5: Queens Gardens

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Duckling, Lake Claisebrook
Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

Lake Claisebrook

A small lake formed during the redevelopment of East Perth. It is home to a pair of Australasian grebes and a pair of coots - both of these pairs breed regularly*** and provide great interest for the local residents and hundreds of other people who pass by the lake each day. The grebes have just hatched at least 3 tiny babies over the 2012 Australia Day 'long' weekend - despite sitting out on their floating nest for many days of 40 degree heat! Some drama happens each spring when ducks nest in trees up near the Health Department building - the ducklings jump out of the tree hollow on to the concrete footpath, then make their way across the street and down a stream to the lake. Directions: get off the Yellow CAT bus at stop #4 Royal Square or #33: Regal Place.

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Photo Credit: Keith Lightbody

Hyde Park - some of the birds here include ibis, black cockatoos (in the pine trees), spoonbills, egrets, coots, grebes, ducks and  black swans but there are many others. Directions: get off the Blue CAT bus at stop #10: Aberdeen Street and walk north 1 km on Lake St.

*Red, yellow or blue CAT buses travel at regular intervals along the main roads of central Perth.

** Online WA Bird Guides

*** A pictorial history of nesting birds at a lake in East Perth, Western Australia

**** Photo of Keith taken by his mate and fellow keen photographer Kee Seng Foo

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Keith Lightbody and Swans
Photo Credit: Kee Seng Foo

Keith Lightbody is a local photographer who has had a keen interest in nature since growing up in the country. He works in East Perth but travels a lot and is always on the lookout for interesting wildlife. Some of his photos are online at


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