Forrestdale Lake & Nearby Birding Sites

Key Species : Chestnut Teal (chance), Freckled Duck (small chance), White-necked Heron (early summer), Little Bittern (chance), Australasian Bittern (long shot), Baillon's Crake (early summer chance), Australian Spotted Crake (early summer chance), Spotless Crake (early summer), Wood Sandpiper (summer), Little Stint (long shot), Long-toed Stint (summer chance), Pectoral Sandpiper (summer chance), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (summer), Ruff (small summer chance), Banded Stilt (summer chance), Little Ringed Plover (summer long shot), Common Bronzewing, Sacred Kingfisher (summer), Little Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Miner, Western Spinebill, Grey Butcherbird, Little Grassbird (summer). Reptiles : Black Tiger Snake (Notechis ater).

The following information describes the birding sites at Forrestdale Lake, and the other wetlands that are close to Armadale (formerly Forrest) Road.  The easiest way to get to Armadale Road is to head south from Perth along the Kwinana Freeway and turn left (east) at Armadale Road.  If you visit this area, then you may also want to visit some of the Beeliar Wetlands.

A spotting scope is a big advantage for the wetlands.  You should wear waders or an old pair of joggers at Forrestdale Lake as the peat mud is usually soft.  Beware of the chance of Tiger Snakes at all of the locations!


1. Forrest Road / Armadale Road

Tapper Road (S32 07 45" E115 52 16" UBD Map 368 Q10) - There is a swamp with typha reeds in the middle on the south east corner of Armadale and Tapper Roads.  There usually isn't much there, but it is worth a quick stop just in case.  Rarities such as Little Ringed Plover have been recorded there in the past.  This dries very early in the summer.

Liddelow Road (S32 08 05" E115 53 15" UBD Map 369 F13) - There is an area of flooded grass on the south east corner of Armadale and Liddelow Roads.  There is usually a good variety of waterbirds and often a few raptorsFreckled Duck has been recorded there in the past in late spring.  This dries very early in the summer.

300 Metres East of Taylor / Wright / Armadale Road Junction (S32 08.5 E115 54.6 UBD Map 369 P16) - There are a few wet areas just east of the road junction.  The main area is on the south side of Armadale Road which maintains some water for most of the year.  There hasn't been anything rare recorded, but it is sometimes worth a short stop to add ibis or a waterbird to the daily sightings.

East of Nicholson / Armadale Road Junction (S32 xx.x E115 xx.x UBD Map 390 F2) - There is a wet area and paddock on the north side of Armadale Road just east of the road junction.  This is often a good place to find Straw-necked Ibis.  The fences and power lines east of Nicholson Road are often the place to find something different for the day such as Black-faced Woodswallow, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Crested Pigeon or Brown Falcon.


2. Forrestdale Lake (UBD Map 390)

The Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve is one of Western Australia's most important conservation reserves.  It regularly supports more than 10,000 waterbirds and 1% of the Australian population of Long-toed Stint.  For these reasons it has been included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Forrestdale Lake at its best is one one of the best three wetlands near Perth (with Thomson's Lake and Lake McLarty) and should be very high on the list of places to visit.  The best time to visit is from early December until it dries out usually in late December to early January.  It is shallow and semi permanent with a narrow belt of fringing vegetation.

A highlight of Forrestdale Lake is the large number and variety of waterbirds.  The lake is very large so you definitely need a spotting scope.  The most common species are Grey Teal, Eurasian Coot, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Shelduck, Australasian Shoveller and Hardhead but there are usually good numbers of Black Swan, Pink-eared Duck and Hoary-headed Grebe.  Less common and rare sightings have included Blue-billed Duck, Chestnut Teal, Freckled Duck and Black-tailed Native-hen.

Another highlight is the extensive beds of typha reeds.  As the lake starts to dry out this is a good site to see Spotless, Australian Spotted and Baillon's Crakes plus Buff-banded Rail is also possible.  Little Bittern has been recorded breeding and Australasian Bittern could be a chance.

A major highlight as the lake dries out are the large number of wadersBlack-winged Stilt, Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper are the most common species.  There can sometimes be good numbers of Red-necked Avocet and Banded StiltLong-toed Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Red-kneed Dotterel are regular sightings.  The rarities that have been recorded are Pectoral Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, Ruff, Hooded Plover and Broad-billed Sandpiper.

There are two major access points to the lake.

South Western Side (S32 09 46" E115 55 49" UBD Map 390 H9) - Turn south off Armadale Road at Nicholson Road and then first left at Swamp Road.  Check the paddock near the drain (S32 09 19" E115 55 28" UBD Map 390 E6) for Common Bronzewing and Crested Pigeon, and the fence and power lines for Sacred Kingfisher and Grey Butcherbird.  At the T junction with Commercial Road, turn right along the gravel road and continue for 800 metres to where the track is blocked.  Walk through the gate for 50 metres to the edge of the lake.  You should avoid the early morning when the sun reflects off the water.

This side of the lake is the better place to look for crakes and bitterns along the edge of the typha reeds particularly on the right.

North Eastern Side (S32 09 xx" E115 56 xx" UBD Map 390 L4) - Return along Commercial Road into Weld Street, turn right into Lofties Street and then right into Moore Street.  Park at the end of Moore Street at the Skeet Memorial Park.  If you are coming from Armadale Road then turn south into Weld Street.  Walk to the end of the boardwalk.  You should avoid the late afternoon when the sun reflects off the water.

This side of the lake is generally better for the waders, especially around the corner to the left, and well around to the right.  The boardwalk on this side is the better site to look at the waterbirds.

Bushland on Eastern Side (S32 09 10" E115 56 34" UBD Map 390 M5) - Return along Moore Street, turn right at Leakie Street and right at Dew Street.  Along Broome Street (Commercial Road) there are some tracks leading into some banksia woodland.  There is nothing outstanding here but there is a good selection of bush birds including Western Spinebill, Little Wattlebird and Inland Thornbill.


3. Other Nearby Sites

Stirling Road (S32 09 42" E115 57 26" UBD Map 390 C8) - From Broome Street turn right into Forrest Road, continue to the golf course and turn right into Stirling Road.  Yellow-throated Miner is sometimes found near the corner.  Continue along Stirling Road to just past the first bend.  The paddock on the left is flooded during winter and usually dries before the end of the year.  This is another area where unusual species might be seen.  There are usually some ibis and waterbirds, including Black Swan which breeds in spring.  I have seen up to 70 White-necked Herons here.

Banjup Wetlands (UBD Map 389) - Apart from the wetlands listed in the first section, there are a lot of others scattered in the suburb of Banjup between Armadale Road, Rowley Road and the Kwinana Freeway.  The main reason for visiting them would be to hope to see Freckled Duck as a long shot. Possible wetlands are along Taylor Road, Bartram Road and Gibbs Road.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002