Swan Lake, Phillip Island. 21-4-24.

Swan Lake is a freshwater lake, located in the south west corner of Phillip Island, close to the Penguin Parade and The Nobbies. The surrounding area was used for stock grazing over many years following European settlement, but overuse and erosion became an issue. In the 1960s, moves were made to protect the area and re-establish indigenous vegetation, particularly because Short-tailed Shearwaters nest there.

A haven for many bird species and other wildlife, a leisurely stroll along the gravel pathway and boardwalk to the bird hides, is well worthwhile. A memorial plaque to Roy Wheeler and an information board are found in the welcoming grassy picnic areas by the carpark. Roy was a keen ornithologist and was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion in 1965. Banksias, hakeas, eucalypts, she oaks, tea-trees, Tetragonia impexicoma (bower spinach) climbing over the Lepidosperma (coast sword sedge), native grasses, Kangaroo Apple and lomandras line different sections of the track.

Little and Red Wattlebirds were noisily feeding on the flowering banksias. Common Brown Butterflies were plentiful, crickets were chirping and numerous fungi and wallabies were observed along the way. Two bird hides are located beside the lake where we observed a range of waterbirds.

Highlights of the walk were a male Flame Robin, a Shearwater chick in a burrow, Black-fronted Dotterels, White-fronted Chats, Australasian Shovellers and Musk Ducks. Almost the same species were seen on both walks.

Total species seen: Sunday morning 35. Sunday afternoon 38.

Sally Bewsher.