Creery Wetlands Walk

Kwinana Rockingham Mandurah Branch, 24 March 2024

The March field excursion was to Creery Wetlands at the northern edge of the Peel-Harvey Estuary in Mandurah. Our group met at the car park near the main entrance on a fine morning. We were unsure what we might see in the reserve as the dry spring/summer had resulted in many reserves having only low numbers of shorebirds and other wetland species.

Entering the reserve, we headed for the boardwalk installed over the wide area of samphire to allow access to a viewing area overlooking the Creery lagoon. It was noted that some of the samphire were starting to flower. Though mainly very dry, there were small pools of water off to the side of the boardwalk, and in these, we spotted Pied Stilts foraging. While watching the Stilts, we saw that the pools had attracted other shorebirds, including Common Greenshanks, Red-necked Stints and Red-capped Plovers. A Nankeen Kestrel glided in and hovered above the pool, resulting in a large flock of small waders taking to the air. There had been many more small waders present than initially thought.

A bird flying in the sky

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Pied Stilt in flight

Very few aquatic insects were seen just a few dragonflies. However, many Welcome Swallows and Tree Martins were busy flying over the samphire, and Willie-wagtails were alongside the boardwalk, so there must have been some midges present for them to feed on.

We spotted Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers, White-Faced Herons, a Grey-morph Reef Egret, Great Egrets, and Australian Shelducks at the viewing platform. In the distance to the west, we saw an adult White-bellied Sea Eagle accompanied by a juvenile, Whistling Kites, and Yellow-billed Spoonbills.

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To the east, we spotted a Whimbrel in the shallows of the lagoon.

As we made our way back along the boardwalk, we spotted two Pacific Golden Plovers on the pool that held the waders we spotted on the way out. It was a nice sighting. We took the track from the boardwalk through the Casuarina woodland area towards the bird hide.

Even in the wooded area, Daniel was not finding much in the way of invertebrates, possibly due to the dry conditions. He did find some Case Moth caterpillars on the trunks of casuarinas. There were also some nice lichens on the casuarinas. Some woodland birds were also seen along the track, including Australian Ringnecks, Red-capped Parrots, and Splendid Fairy Wrens. A Collared Sparrowhawk was spotted flying past while we were on the track. At the bird hide, we saw Black Swans flying towards the lagoon’s far side and Pelicans flying overhead. We then spotted six Bar-tailed Godwits moving towards the shallows with the Whimbrel we had seen earlier. The Whimbrel separated from the Godwits and slowly made its way past the front of the bird hide, enabling a few good photographs to be taken.

As we prepared to leave the bird hide, a pair of Ospreys were spotted at the western end of the lagoon. We then returned to the car park, spotting a group of Grey Kangaroos along the way. We then found a spot in the shade to have morning tea and reflect on another enjoyable morning’s walk. We had spotted 34 bird species, and the list was submitted to the Birdata database.

All Images by Colin Prickett

Colin Prickett