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Len Howard Nature Trail

Nature Trail

Len Howard Conservation Park

DirectionsLocated south of Mandurah, cross over the Mandurah Estuary Bridge on Old Coast Road heading west. Keeping following this until you reach the Oakleigh Road traffic lights, turn left and then right at the roundabout to continue along Wattleglen Avenue. Turn left onto Silverton Crescent and then right onto Glendart Court. The parking area can be reached via a one lane slip road off Glendart Court and the trail head is located on the eastern side of the car park. 

The Walk - The Len Howard Conservation Park is a small nature strip sandwiched between suburbia and the Mandurah Estuary that is an important refuge for the flora and fauna that call this area home. It's an area I've wanted to visit for a few years now but given it's only a short trail, the two hour return trip wasn't a feasible option if I just wanted to do this one walk. With the double whammy of Mothers Day and my sisters birthday falling on consecutive weekends, plans were made to meet halfway between Funbury and Fremantle for lunch as a fam bam to celebrate.

Looking at the map, the chosen lunch spot at Restaurant Café Coast was close to the Len Howard Conservation Park, so I suggested the walk to Caris as an after lunch activity and she didn't put up any resistance. After a lovely meal with my parents, sister and nieces + nephew, we went for a family walk around the little marina where we were treated to a pod of dolphins splashing around as they fished in the estuary. Parting ways, we headed off to find the start of the Nature Walk at Len Howard, which wasn't easy thanks to me taking a wrong turn down Silverton Crescent. We eventually arrived and I was keen to get going as the afternoon was getting late and we still had to drive home. The car park is located right next to the water and the lack of wind combined with the light cloud cover made for some fantastic scenes. Heading to the beach first before we started the trail, it felt like the morning leaving Denmark on my final day on the Munda Biddi. At the time I remarked it looked like the long white clouds of New Zealand and this looked very similar. Eventually heading towards the trail head, there is a nice information board providing information about all the bird life you can find in the area. 


Starting the loop, the sandy track heads into the low scrub as you make your way towards Nature's Eye Shelter, a large gazebo type structure that is a good spot to look for bird life. Immediately we spotted a White-faced Heron poking around on the beach below and then a couple of Pelicans flew by in the distance. So far, so good as we moved on and headed back to the Paperbark lined trail, on the lookout for some early season wildflowers. Luck would be on our side with a couple of finds including a small tree with yellow pea flowers. Along with some wildflowers, there were some plump little wrens flitting about ahead but they were constantly on the move so getting a photo was near impossible, even with my 140mm lens. I was fortunate enough that at one point they migrated up to the top of some bushes and I was able to get a blocked photo of one. Reaching a gap in the bushes, there was a small beach down below and walking along was a Pied Oystercatcher, one of my favourite birds thanks to their contrasting colours of white, black and orange. The open stretch continued and the reflections on the glassy water were super enjoyable to photograph. 

Making the most of the views running parallel to the estuary while they lasted, we continued along until we reached a section of boardwalk leading out towards the water. It doesn't go all the way out but provides a great spot to sit and take it all in, made easier by a couple of benches. Caris obliged by taking a seat while I snapped away at the nearby Paperbarks and scenes overlooking the water. Calming my farm a little, the search was then on for bird life and in the distance I spotted three Shags in a dead tree with one extending its wings in order to dry them off. Out over the water were various birds travelling from place to place but most of them were too far away to get a decent shot. Moving on, this marks where the trails starts to loop back on itself as you reach another section of boardwalk that takes you through the inland swampy section. I love a good section of boardwalk as it allows you to experience areas that may be prone to flooding or are sensitive to being trampled. This area was due to the former and the eerie white trunks of the Paperbarks combined with the reflective water provided a spooky atmosphere.


Through here you can see the red and purple Samphire growing on the edge of the boardwalk and really immerse yourself in the swampy goodness. Spotting a couple of purple wildflowers between the first section of boardwalk and where you intersect the Erskine Trail, you head along another short section of boardwalk complete with more seats before heading back to the main trail. Utilising a section of the 6km long Erskine Trail to take you back to the start, this allows a different perspective of the wetlands scenery as you are right in the middle of it. I kept an eye out for more wildflowers, maybe some fungi, more bird life or a kangaroo (we saw a couple driving in and out but nothing on the trail). There was enough on the run home to keep me happy and soon enough we were back at the car. Not wanting to leave just yet, we wandered down to the beach that is accessible from the car park and were lucky enough to have an Eastern Great Egret wading around in the shallows. It didn't seemed bothered by our presence so I inched closer to get some better shots of it searching for food. As we were leaving a Pelican did a fly-by, trying to get as close to the water as possible it seemed.