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Location Australia, Western Australia
Central coordinates 121o 30.62' East  33o 47.16' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 1,683 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA supports more than 1% of the population of the near threatened Hooded Plover and has also supported more than 1% of the global populations of the congregatory Australian Shelduck and Banded Stilt. However, recent counts suggest that all species are declining and the system may not continue to meet IBA thresholds.

Site description This IBA is located 35 km west-north-west of Esperance in south-western Western Australia. The IBA consists of Lake Gore (740 ha), four named satellite lakes (Lake Gidong, Lake Kubitch and Lake Carbul, each 25 to 30 ha, and Quallilup Lake, 200 ha) and about ten unnamed satellite lakes around Lake Gore, and a large (400 ha) swamp, unofficially termed Overflow Swamp, which connects Lake Gore and Quallilup Lake. Mean annual rainfall at Esperance is 568 mm with most falls from May to August. Wetlands in the Lake Gore system are saline to varying degrees. Lake Gore, Lake Gidong and Quallilup Lake are permanent or near-permanent. The remaining wetlands are generally seasonal although after heavy rainfall they may retain water for two or three consecutive dry seasons. Lake Gore receives water from the Dalyup River system and, when full, overflows to Quallilup Lake via Overflow Swamp. Lake Gidong, Lake Kubitch and Lake Carbul receive water from the Coobidge Creek system. In years of exceptional rainfall (e.g. 1986, 1989), overflows from both systems may merge and flow from Overflow Swamp westward via an ill-defined watercourse to Barker Inlet and the ocean. The larger wetlands in the system are fringed by narrow bands, often only one tree in breadth, of Saltwater Paperbark above understorey plants such as Gahnia trifida and Schoenus brevifolius. The saltmarsh areas support samphires (e.g. Suaeda australis, Sarcocornia quinqueflora), grasses (e.g. Sporobolus virginicus) and herbs (e.g. Samolus repens) (DEWHA 2008).

Key Biodiversity Fairy Tern appears to be an irregular non-breeding visitor: maximum was a colony of 25 which bred at Lake Kubitch in 1984-85 (DEWHA 2008) and 12 counted in 2001 and 2002 at Lake Gore (Atlas of Australian Birds database), but none observed during surveys of Lake Carbul, Lake Kubitch, Lake Gore and Lake Quallilup in November 2002 (Buchanan 2003), and no subsequent published records. At least 55 species of waterbird have been recorded in the Lake Gore system. This figure includes 18 species listed under international conservation agreements, 14 migratory species and 12 species which breed in the system (DEWHA 2008). Lake Gore alone supports more than 10,000 (and probably more than 20,000) waterbirds in most years with a maximum count of 29,273 waterbirds in 1988. Other large wetlands in the system can each support up to 5000 waterbirds. At Lake Gore, there have been notable sub-threshold counts of 3500 Grey Teal, 1000 Hoary-headed Grebe and 625 Red-necked Stint (DEWHA 2008); 4000 Black Swan in 2001 and four counts of 2000-2500 in 2002-2004 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: The beaches of Lake Gore contain shell deposits from a species of ostracod that is abundant at the lake (DEWHA 2008).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides unknown  1981-2002  12,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus non-breeding  1981-1998  20-20,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Hooded Plover Thinornis cucullatus unknown  1995-2002  1,570 individuals  medium  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2008 high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Un-named (No. 26885) Nature Reserve 5,200 protected area overlaps with site 366  
Un-named (No. 32419) Nature Reserve 792 protected area overlaps with site 704  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Saline lakes  major

Land ownership Western Australian State government with management the responsibility of DEC and some private ownership (freehold).

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland minor

Protection status Two Unnamed Nature Reserves - see separate section.

Acknowledgements Stuart Halse kindly commented on the nomination and provided data.

References Buchanan, B. (2003) Waterbirding at Esperance. Western Australian Bird Notes 105: 18-20.

Clarke, A.G. and Lane, J.A.K. (2003) A waterbird census of selected wetlands along the coastal margins of Esperance District, Feb-Mar 2003. Unpublished report: WA Dept of CALM.

DEWHA (2008) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Information sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS): Lake Gore, Western Australia - 55 and Lake Gore System - WA026. accessed October 2007.

Halse, S.A., Jaensch, R.P., Munro, D.R. and Pearson, G.B. (1990) Annual waterfowl counts in south-western Australia - 1988-89. Technical report 25. Perth: Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Newbey, B.J. (1996) Report on Hooded Plover project June 1994 to March 1996 RAOU (WA group). Supplement to Western Australian Bird Notes 79.

Singor, M. (1999) Hooded Plover report no. 2 1996-1999. Supplement to Western Australian Bird Notes 99.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Gore System. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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