Western Australia

Lake Seppings in Albany, Western Australia

It was exciting to see two of Western Australia’s endemic birds at Lake Seppings, Albany; the Red-winged Fairy-wren and the Red-eared Firetail. Lake Seppings is in a 17 hectare nature reserve only three kilometres from the centre of Albany. The reserve is very accessible and supports a good list of water-birds in the lake and bulrushes, reeds and sedges that surround it. Blue-billed Ducks, Musk Ducks and Hoary-headed Grebes were among the mornings sightings. There is also well established bush (banksias and melaleuca) around the lake providing home for woodland and forest birds

After excellent views of an adult Red-eared Firetail I spotted a group of three finches feeding on the path. From the distance they looked like the Beautiful Firetail only seen in the eastern Australia. They really had to be juvenile Red-eared Firetails but I was unable to confirm this. Despite the unlikely prospect of them being anything different I put the photo below up on the “Australian Bird Identification, (ABID)” web-page on Facebook.

This site is a wonderful resource and usually the identity of birds is revealed within minutes of posting a photo. In a short space of time one of the knowledgeable contributors to this site commented “As estrildids [finches] have no immature stage, it is a Red-eared Firetail transitioning from juvenile (plumage) to adult (bill colour)”.

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Herdsman Lake in Perth, West Australia

Herdsman Lake is only a few minute’s drive from the centre of Perth and provides home to many water birds and small birds. It consists of dredged ponds that were once part of a chain of wetlands that extended from north of Joondalup to south of Cockburn. There are dense wetland rushes dominated by Bulrush, fragments of remnant paperbarks and Flooded Gum woodlands, and grass parklands.  

The Wildlife Centre at the southern end of the lake is managed by the WA Gould League and runs bird walks, information nights, night stalks and wildlife excursions. The Olive Seymour boardwalk there provides for excellent bird viewing.  

Sightings from a short visit to the park included Australasian and Great Crested Grebes, Australian Shelducks, Grey Teal, Cormorants, Pelicans, Laughing Turtle-Doves, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis, Black Swans, Western Gerygone and New Holland Honeyeaters. Another sighting on the boardwalk: a curled up Tiger Snake! And lots of entertainment from the Great Crested Grebes and their families, pictured below.

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