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.

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.