Herdsman Lake is a wildlife oasis situated in the middle of busy suburbia. Home to over 100 species of birds, a great activity to do here is bird watching.
Perth has some beautiful wetlands inside some of its busiest metropolitan suburbs. Herdsman Lake is one of the larger lakes that flows on the Swan Coastal Plain that is ironically, surrounded by residential suburbs and commercial development. That’s right – there’s a wildlife lake sanctuary in the middle of the busy suburbs of Woodlands, Churchlands, Glendalough and Osborne Park – easy enough for everyone in surrounding suburbs to visit on their lunch breaks and perhaps to do a bit of spontaneous bird watching, among other relaxing activities such as cycling, picnicking, wildflower spotting (for enthusiastic botanists) or walking.
Birdwatching at Herdsman Lake
Herdsman Lake is an important bird breeding habitat that provides a summer refuge for water birds. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded at Herdsman Lake, some of which have flown all the way from across the world. Rich birdlife found in an urban setting (with commercial development and suburbia surrounding it) is uncommon, and so Herdsman Lake is rather special for bird watching.
Today I went bird watching at lunch time and really enjoyed basking in the scenery. It really does reset you and make you feel good. Something about being out in the open, amongst nature, you instantly feel good with fresh, positive thinking.
First of all, what’s a bird hide some of you may ask? A bird hide is not where birds hide, I’ll just state the obvious there. It’s more where human beings go to hide and watch birds without scaring them off. There are two bird hides on the northern edge of Herdsman Lake approximately 7km northwest of Perth City, reachable by a track off Jon Sanders Drive. They are the Baumea Bird Hide and the Balgay Bird Hide. I went to the Baumea Bird Hide!
Here is Baumea Bird Hide, overlooking the lake. I have quite the vivid imagination and so to me, it looks like something out of a horror movie. Don’t worry, you’re only 150m away from civilization. Despite the main road being closeby, the surrounding bush really does a good job of blocking out all the noise. You can still hear the sounds of wildlife here, making you feel like you’re alot further away from the buzzing surrounding suburbs.
Birds you can see at these bird hides include sea eagles, pelicans, black swans, varieties of ducks and other types of waterfowl. The only bird I saw was a duck diving for food (I think it was an Australian Shelduck), which is cool, better than nothing. I stared at it for like 10 seconds before I started taking selfies for this blog.
Bird watching does require focus and patience – both of which I suppose I should work more on. But first, let me take a selfie.
Other Attractions at Herdsman Lake
Other attractions in Herdsman Lake Park include the Olive Seymour Boardwalk, Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre and Settler’s Cottage. There’s also a statue created by Pietro Porcelli (which formally sat atop the now demolished AMP Chambers Building, but was rescued and now placed on one of the islands).
For the kids, there is a playground at the carpark off Herdsman Parade near the intersection at Jon Sanders Drive. There is also an education centre that hosts guided walks and other events that allow school children (and the general public) to reconnect with nature.
Here are some informative signs I took pictures of, for those who actually take the time to read signs.
Take your own drinking water and know that there is no toilet facilities here. Walkers and cyclists have plenty of pathways to pick for a short or long walk or cycle so you can still view plenty of wildlife wherever you choose to venture. If you’re looking to chill out on your lunch break in the area, here’s a free, relaxing activity you can do (if you have the patience of course).
With Herdsman Lake hosting hundreds of species of birds, you bet there are just as many snakes loitering around in the wildlife sanctuary. Tiger snakes are especially said to be in strong supply around the lake as they love the swampy environment.
Please take precaution and be alert at all times. Stick to the paths, follow the signs and respect the environment. For more information on dealing with snakes , visit the Parks and Wildlife page here.
More people in the surrounding suburbs of Herdsman Lake should visit this gorgeous wildlife sanctuary oasis on their lunch breaks. Not only will it benefit their mental health and fitness taking a break from the daily grind for just a bit, but it also helps you reconnect with nature and learn from it all the more. Countless benefits, I could go on. Try bird watching at Herdsman Lake next time you’re in the area and let me know what birds you found in the comments below.