The Northcliffe and Windy Harbour area offers wonderful wildlife experiences. Home to more than 100 bird species (see ‘Birding’), our region is inhabited by several nocturnal mammal species, eleven frog species, plenty of reptiles in the warmer months and a wonderful array of invertebrates, including many still unidentified species.
Our most common species are Western Grey Kangaroos and Quendas (Western Brown Bandicoot). Other species that can be found in our forests include Mardo (Yellow-footed Antechinus), Wambenger (Brush-tailed Phascogale), Quokka, Koomal (Brush-tailed Possum), Western Brush Wallaby, Chuditch (Western Quoll) and 9 species of micro bats. Drive our roads and trails slowly at night to see what you can discover. Tammar Wallabies have been spotted along the Shannon NP’s Great Forest Trees Drive at night, and it is a common location to spot Quokkas.
Many of our frogs can be found hunting for food at night in our forests or moving to breeding sites in season. Three of our local frog species breed in the forests, not in our waterways, and don’t have a swimming tadpole stage – Ticking Frogs, Roseate Frogs and Nicholls Toadlets.
Around our waterways look for Rakali (Water Rats) and 3 species of freshwater crayfish – Marron, Coonacs and Gilgies. Long-necked Turtles often inhabit our waterways and in nesting season can be found crossing roads to lay their eggs. A few native freshwater fish species inhabit our rivers and lakes, including the iconic Salamanderfish, Galaxias, Western Pygmy Perch and Balston’s Pygmy Perch and Nightfish. In winter and spring, look for adult Pouched Lamprey heading upstream for spawning and juveniles swimming downstream to the ocean in winter.
Several of our frogs can be seen and heard around waterways in their breeding season – Ticking Frogs in autumn; Quacking Frogs, Clicking Froglets and Bleating Frogs in winter into spring; Slender Tree Frogs, Motorbike Frogs and Banjo Frogs in spring; and Slender Tree Frogs and Motorbike Frogs into early summer. In autumn, listen for Moaning and Sand Frogs calling from their breeding burrows, usually in areas that will become an ephemeral pond or lake over winter.
When our wattles start to flower in late July or August we know it’s warm enough for our Tiger Snakes to start moving around. Other reptiles found over the warmer months include Dugites, Bardick, Southern Heath Monitor, Western Bobtails, Marbled Geckos, King Skinks, Southwest Crevice Skink, Red-legged Ctenotus and other small skinks.
Along our coastline watch for Bottlenose Dolphins and New Zealand Fur Seals, these can sometimes be seen feeding and playing in the waves. In season, watch for Humpback and Southern Right Whales moving along the coast. Other whale and dolphin species can be spotted occasionally. In late summer and autumn, large schools of the Western Australian Salmon migrate along our coast and can be a spectacular sight to watch. Dolphins, seals and sharks often follow the schools. The cliffs at Pt D’Entrecasteaux, Fish Creek and Black Pt offer great vantage points for spotting marine wildlife.