Pelican Point

A-Class Reserve Number 40891 – Pelican Point – is situated on a small peninsula at the southern end of Matilda Bay in Crawley and forms part of the Swan Estuary Marine Park as well as Bush Forever Site 402 and the Matilda Bay Reserve.

The Noongar name for Pelican Point is Bootanup or Booriarup, meaning place of the Xanthorrhoea, balga or grass tree leaves; and the place was favoured for crabbing and prawning by the Mooro people. The remains of a fish trap can still be seen at Pelican Point.

Pelican Point is a sandy peninsula containing an exposed stretch of beach, low sand dunes and a lagoon. The lagoon is an enclosed one - the last of its kind in the Estuary.

  A Spoonbill in the lagoon (Photograph courtesy T Graham-Taylor)

The vegetation both in and surrounding Pelican Point is the Vasse Vegetation Complex. There remains only a few pockets of this vegetation type remaining in the Region.

The terrestrial section of the Marine Park is vegetated with small shrubs and trees and sedges, and is separated from the rest of the river foreshore by a fence. Its temperate coastal saltmarsh is federally listed as a 'Threatened Ecological Community', with strong recommendations and guidlines for its protection.

 Looking out over the Point (Photograph courtesy S Graham-Taylor)

Elsewhere, a large percentage of the existing vegetation has been introduced, with running grasses, Victorian tea-tree and Casuarina glauca causing significant problems, along with other annual and perennial weed species. It is highly exposed to erosion from boat wash, wind and storm surges.

Pelican Point records show the site supports 132 species of birds. In addition to its importance as a staging point for trans-equatorial migratory birds and as habitat for a number of Priority species, Pelican Point is used as a breeding, feeding and resting area by the endangered Fairy tern.

Bird-counts have been conducted at Pelican Point on a weekly basis since 1971 and show a concerning decline in some species, particularly of trans-equatorial wading birds, which used to visit in their thousands.

In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the disturbance of birdlife dependent on the Reserve, particularly from water-based recreational activities including fishing and kite-surfing, and by walkers (often with their dogs) regularly using the beach.

Concerned has also been raised that stormwater from the nearby Scouts car park is being directed into the enclosed lagoon - impacting on the threatened ecological community of coastal saltmarsh. 

See photo here.