Heirisson Island, Perth

Heirisson Island view of Perth City

Heirisson Island view of Perth City

Heirisson Island is an absolute gem in Perth and seems remarkably under-appreciated.  It’s right on the doorstep of the main part of the city, in the middle of the Swan River, at the end of Riverside Drive.  There’s a busy road (The Causeway),  which connects the North and South of the city, and it crosses the island.  If you head south on The Causeway, you can pull into a car park on the island.  Once there, it feels a million miles from city centre life.

Pelican

Pelican

 

I called in this week for an hour for a walk in the middle of an otherwise busy day and there was plenty to see.  This pelican was having a mid-day rest and didn’t seem interested in my presence.

 

 

Kangaroo

Kangaroo

 

The island has its own population of kangaroos. You have to go through a gate on the western side of the island, where there’s a fence to stop them wandering onto the road.  In the daytime in summer, they’re usually sleeping in the shade, but this week was cooler so they were out grazing.

 

Island on the island

Island on the island

This shows an island within a lake on the island in the river – strange.  Note how there’s nobody else in the picture at all!  Despite being in a city.  Why?

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Because it’s so close to the sea, the tide still effects this part of the river.  This means that the water is brackish and there are natural tubes for the river water to flow in and out of the lakes on the island.  So that explains how jellyfish have come to populate the water on the island.

White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron

This time there were lots of herons around.  I saw at  least 7 in the wetland area.  Much more shy than the pelican or the darter, but they still let me get close enough to get some photos.

There are usually darters somewhere to be seen on the island, and often they will be stretching their wings out to dry like the one below.

Australasian Darter

Australasian Darter

There are development plans around for the island. One plan is to make a sculpture park.  However, I quite like it as it is – quiet, peaceful and natural.

Seabirds

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Pacific Gull and Little Black Cormorant

Marina

Marina

 

Today the weather was perfect for an early start in the kayaks, so we had a trip around the marina and along the coast.  There were plenty of seabirds around.  Because we were on the water, I only had my little camera, so not very good for distance shots of birds.

Young Osprey

Young Osprey

 

 

The best thing this morning was seeing one of the young ospreys for the first time since they left hte nest a few weeks ago.

 

 

Osprey Mum

Osprey Mum

 

 

Mum kept a close eye from a nearby lookout – you can see her on the aerial on the roof.

 

 

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

 

 

 

Here’s a view of the nest from on the water.  You get a good view of the sculpture that it was built in.

 

Fishing Practice

Fishing Practice

 

 

 

 

And here the youngster is perched on a mast, looking closely for fish.

osprey call  Click on ‘osprey call’ and hopefully you’ll be able to see and hear it.  The young osprey was constantly calling to Mum during its training session.

Crested Terns

Crested Terns

 

 

There were several families of crested terns by the boats.

 

 

 

Female Darter

Female Darter

 

 

 

There was a family of Australasian Darters out.   This is the female.

 

 

Young Darter

Young Darter

 

 

 

 

Young darter.

 

Night Heron

Night Heron

 

 

 

I’ve also seen several night herons by the marina this week.  This is the best picture I’ve managed.  The problem is that I see them when it’s dark.  They are too far away to use a flash, so all the pictures were a bit dark and blurry.  Hopefully I’ll get a better one before they leave the area.

Pied cormorants

Pied cormorants

Australasian Darter

One of my mid-week outings took me to Heirisson Island, in the middle of the Swan River, in the middle of Perth. I was actually trying to see the resident kangaroos, but I found that it was much easier to see the birds there. In the river I could see a bird swimming with its body underwater and its long neck wriggling on the surface – I hadn’t seen that before. Then I saw this.

 Bird - Australasian Darter

Soaking Up The Rays


Bird - Australasian Darter

Snake Neck

It looked similar to a cormorant in some ways, especially when it opened its wings to dry, but it had a long pointy beak more like a heron. Its tail was longer than a cormorant’s too. When I looked it up it turned out to be an Australasian Darter. It’s also called a snake-bird because of the movement of its head and neck on the surface of the water when it swims. The darters who weren’t by or in the water were sitting in groups in trees, on an island in a lake on the island in the river.

Taking good pictures would have been much easier without the particularly loud tourists circling in a hire boat. The darters didn’t seem to mind my quiet approach but they definitely weren’t keen on the chugging engine. At least they gave me plenty of chances to watch the darters flying I suppose.

And yes, I did eventually find the kangaroos. They were hiding in a bog.