If you have never visited Lake Leschenaultia then I thoroughly recommend an afternoon barbecue at your first available opportunity! This freshwater lake was created in the early 1900’s as a reservoir for the needs of steam trains, which were one of the main forms of transport into the Perth Hills during that era. Nowadays the lake is a recreation reserve where you can enjoy a picnic, swim, canoe paddle or a quiet bushwalk in the serene setting of the Chidlow jarrah and wandoo forest.
I love visiting the lake for its birds. Since I was a young boy I’ve been exploring the different habitats for various species of waterbird living there. I still remember the thrill of finding my first clutch of Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) eggs in a nearly woven, floating nest, concealed deep in the reed beds, when I was about twelve.
This weekend I caught up with some good friends for a barbecue at the lake and had a relaxing explore to see what I could find and photograph. I saw a variety of waterbirds and managed to get some good shots of them by floating close to them in my canoe (click here for the full array). My favourite picture is the one at the top of this page, of two beautiful Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio) foraging on the shoreline, perfectly lit in the golden afternoon sun.
Unfortunately in most parts of Australia nowadays, wherever you find waterbirds, there are introduced Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes). The waterbirds must smell great and make your tummy rumble if you are a fox, which on the weekend I discovered is a regular visitor to Lake Leschenaultia’s waterside. I’d left a motion-sensing camera in the reed-beds at one side of the lake for a few weeks, and today I checked to see what I had captured. Early one morning, this curious devil had come RIGHT in to sniff the camera, probably suspicious of the tiny red light that turns on when the motion trigger is set off.
Then later that night, he came back for a second look. The scourge of the Australian bush.