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Black swans on Swan River, bees’ knees…

All photos taken early afternoon of May 31,  on the “airport/Ascot Racecourse” side of the estuary around which Perth is wrapped.  One 21st century good news story: black swans have returned to the Swan River!

In 1697 the Swan River was so named, originally as Swarte Swaene Revier, by Dutch explorer Willem De Vlamingh

It then had many members of what  – to him – was an astonishing species.

Humans were already there for many thousands of years before any European eyes saw southwestern Australia’s big estuary.

The Noongar/Nyoongar – aka  Nyoongah/Noongah – know it as Derbal Yerrigan – a name which refers to the turtle dreaming.

When I arrived in Perth in 1983, Lake Monger was home to many of Perth’s black swans, but there were no longer any on the Swan.

For much of the 20th century Cygnus stratusWestern Australia’s emblematic bird – was almost entirely absent from “its own” river.

Over the last several years, however, it is once again perfectly normal to see swans on the Swan.



Catch a 36 bus in Perth’s CBD and within half an hour you could start the walk that my beloved and I enjoyed today.

It’s not remotely a “wilderness” experience – this is suburbia, only a very few kilometres from downtown, much less than that from the airport.

Sometimes one is walking directly in front of houses, or along the edge of a racecourse.

It is, however, a good experience, and anyone could reasonably expect to see every one of the species I photographed today – none of them are rare…or shy…and no apiarist was involved in housing the first one.

More landings here than at the nearby Perth airport
More landings here than at the nearby Perth airport


Homo sapiens is not the only species to walk on footbridges.



Meanwhile, on the water, a Darter is never far away.



Further along, one has a major racecourse immediately to the left, whilst the southern bank of the Swan is immediately to the right.



Here, “dead wood” is never really dead.



A few minutes later – shortly before walk’s end, near Garratt Road Bridge – we came across a very relaxed heron.


Published in nature and travel photographs Western Australia


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