This walk is not a ‘serious’ bushwalk but more an easy stroll around Thomsons Lake (also known as Jilbup Lake), with short diversions into the surrounding woodlands, and perhaps a chance to test your GPS navigation skills if you are new to GPS.
The Lake is just one of several in the two chains of lakes and swamps along the Swan Coastal Plain which together form the Beeliar Wetlands. More than 75% of these wetlands have now been filled or drained for urban development. The small Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve covers an area of only 551ha but is one of the few remaining good wetland environments. It is a Class ‘A’ reserve and is listed as an internationally important conservation reserve for migratory birds. Early summer mornings are a good time for the walk (especially for keen birdspotters) as the Lake attracts more than 10,000 waterbirds in early to mid-summer before it almost dries out each year.
Although the Lake is surrounded by a narrow belt of rushes and grasses, there are also areas of various different vegetation types, including jarrah-banksia woodlands on the surrounding higher ground and a zone of Flooded Gums and Swamp Paperbarks on the lower ground. About 3km of the walk passes through the higher, shaded woodland areas and the remainder is close to the lake and exposed.
Aside from the birdlife, there is also a range of other wildlife including the Western Grey kangaroo (which became over-abundant in the past but more recently has been controlled through DPaW’s reserve management program), plus echidnas, and several reptile species including tiger snakes which you are unlikely to see, but take care!