Edwards Point Faunal Reserve (Vic)

Edwards Point Fauna Reserve

Tim Dolby

This article originally appeared in VicBabbler, a journal of Birdlife Australia.

Edwards Point Faunal Reserve, an area of coastal heath, salt marshes and beaches, is a long sand spit that separates Swan Bay Coastal Reserve from Port Phillip Bay. First declared a reserve in 1971, Edwards Point contains one of the few remaining stands of native coastal vegetation on the Bellarine Peninsula. The remnant woodlands, shallow waters and surrounding salt marshes provide an ideal habitat for birds.

As you enter through the main entrance you are greeted by gnarled Coastal Tea-tree (Leptospemium laevigatum) intermixed with Small-leafed Clematis (Clematis microphylla). In this habitat the birds you are likely to encounter here are Silvereye, Brown Thornbill, Superb Fairy-wren, Eastern Yellow Robin, New Holland Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Rufous Whistler and in summer Shinning Bronze-cuckoo and Fan-tailed Cuckoo.

Aerial shot of Edwards Point.
On the Swan Bay side of the spit there is a diversity of waders and waterfowl. These include Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Little Pied Cormorant, Hoary-headed Grebe, Pied Oystercatcher, Great Egret, Royal Spoonbill and Yellow and Royal Spoonbill, Marsh Sandpiper, Greenshank, Eastern Curlew, and Swamp Harrier. In the lower, wetter areas Orange-bellied Parrot may sometimes been seen feeding on the Bearded Glasswort (Sarcocomia quinqueflora). White-fronted Chat, Little Grassbird, Striated Calamanthus, Australasian Pipit, Singing and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater can be seen in the coastal grassland, Wirilda (Acacia retinodes) and Coast Beard-heath (Leucopogan pariflorus).

As you walk along the beach you are likely to come across a range of waders. In the summer months the most common waders are Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Pacific Golden Plover, Greenshank and Eastern Curlew which feed on the waters edge, and in winter Double-banded Plover arrive from New Zealand. Seabirds include Sooty and Pied Oystercatcher, Silver and Pacific Gull, Australasian Gannet, Shy and, sometimes, Black-browed Albatross, Crested Tern and occasionally Caspian, Little and Fairy Tern – and in summer the piratical Artic Jaeger. In the last few years Fairy Tern have started nesting at the tip of Edwards Point.

Spotted Crake (centre image)

W. Roy Wheeler once described the Bellarine Peninsula as the best bird spot in Victoria. Aside from Orange-bellied Parrot, some of the rarer birds that can be seen at Edwards Point include Sanderling, Red Knot, Great Knot, Terek and Wood Sandpiper, Hooded and Grey Plover, Lesser and Greater Sand Plover, Great Skua, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and Chestnut-rumped Hylacola.

Finally, for me, one of the best things about Edwards Point is that is a great place to view large flocks of Australian Pelican, Scared and Straw-necked Ibis, with a constant stream of these majestic birds flying overhead. It also provides you with a sense of coastal wilderness - unusual for a site on Port Phillip Bay.

How to get there
Edwards Point Faunal Reserve is located in St Leonards, east of Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula (Melway ref: 241 H12; Key map: 16). Take the Portarlington Road from Geelong and turn off at Murradoc Road. Turn then to Bluff Road and turn right at Cliff Street and then follow Cliff Street as it winds around and then turn left onto Beach Road and follow it to the beach. A well-defined walk follows the management track (to the right of the large Faunal Reserve sign) down the centre of the spit then returns along the along the sandy eastern beach. A round trip takes about one to two hours but it is well worth the effort.

Shy Albatross
Tim Dolby





Reporting rate for a single observation is 2%.

Swans, Geese and Waterfowl
Black Swan56%Pacific Black Duck11%Chestnut Teal31%
Australian Shelduck18%Grey Teal2%Musk Duck2%
Australasian Grebe2%Hoary-headed Grebe18%Great Crested Grebe7%
Little Penguin2%

Shearwaters and Petrels
Short-tailed Shearwater4%

Boobies and Gannets
Australasian Gannet33%

Australian Pelican69%

Cormorants and Shags
Little Black Cormorant42%Pied Cormorant56%Little Pied Cormorant71%
Great Cormorant40%Black-faced Cormorant2%
Herons, Egrets and Bitterns
Great Egret13%White-faced Heron64%Little Egret22%
Ibises and Spoonbills
Australian White Ibis64%Straw-necked Ibis29%Royal Spoonbill18%
Hawks, Eagles and Kites
Black-shouldered Kite13%White-bellied Sea-Eagle4%Brown Goshawk7%
Whistling Kite13%Swamp Harrier29%
Falcons and Caracaras
Nankeen Kestrel9%Brown Falcon4%
Rails, Gallinules and Coots
Lewin's Rail2%Spotless Crake2%Purple Swamphen2%
Plovers and Lapwings
Masked Lapwing53%Lesser Sand Plover7%Red-capped Plover62%
Grey Plover13%Greater Sand Plover2%Black-fronted Dotterel2%
Pacific Golden Plover4%Double-banded Plover11%
Australian Pied Oystercatcher58%Sooty Oystercatcher9%
Stilts and Avocets
Black-winged Stilt11%

Sandpipers and Allies
Grey-tailed Tattler4%Ruddy Turnstone42%Red-necked Stint73%
Common Greenshank38%Great Knot2%Sharp-tailed Sandpiper33%
Eastern Curlew11%Red Knot9%Curlew Sandpiper24%
Bar-tailed Godwit18%Sanderling2%Ruff2%
Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
Silver Gull82%Fairy Tern36%Crested Tern60%
Pacific Gull62%Caspian Tern16%
Little Tern13%Whiskered Tern2%
Pigeons and Doves
Rock Dove2%Spotted Dove44%Brush Bronzewing4%
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo4%Galah9%Sulphur-crested Cockatoo2%
Crimson Rosella7%Blue-winged Parrot2%
Eastern Rosella4%Orange-bellied Parrot2%
Pallid Cuckoo2%Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo18%
Fan-tailed Cuckoo11%Shining Bronze-Cuckoo4%
Sacred Kingfisher2%

Superb Fairy-wren69%

Yellow-faced Honeyeater9%White-fronted Chat49%Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater51%
Singing Honeyeater31%New Holland Honeyeater58%Red Wattlebird53%
White-plumed Honeyeater7%Eastern Spinebill2%Little Wattlebird9%
Spotted Pardalote2%

Thornbills and Allies
White-browed Scrubwren69%Chestnut-rumped Heathwren2%Yellow-rumped Thornbill7%
Striated Fieldwren51%Brown Thornbill64%Striated Thornbill2%
Bellmagpies and Allies
Grey Butcherbird9%Australian Magpie44%
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike7%White-winged Triller2%
Whistlers and Allies
Gilbert's Whistler2%Rufous Whistler31%
Golden Whistler20%Grey Shrike-thrush4%
Willie Wagtail40%Grey Fantail62%Rufous Fantail2%
Monarch Flycatchers
Magpie-lark33%Satin Flycatcher2%
Crows, Jays and Magpies
Little Raven47%

Australasian Robins
Eastern Yellow Robin13%

Eurasian Skylark24%

Welcome Swallow58%Fairy Martin4%Tree Martin4%
Grassbirds and Allies
Little Grassbird20%

Cisticolas and Allies
Golden-headed Cisticola7%

Thrushes and Allies
Common Blackbird56%


Common Myna7%Common Starling49%

Wagtails and Pipits
Australasian Pipit16%

Siskins, Crossbills and Allies
Common Greenfinch29%European Goldfinch24%
Old World Sparrows
House Sparrow24%

Waxbills and Allies
Red-browed Finch20%