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Water for the lakes comes from the roof and street run-off in the adjacent housing and its quality is improved before it enters the lakes by passage through a swale situated at the foot of Rifle Range Drive. Extensive planting on the islands and the southern shore of the lake provides cover for native birds and the lake is stocked with two types of native fish.
Water passes to the lower or western lake through drains and a causeway. The lakes form a buffer between the housing and the sensitive coastal foreshore area. This coastal foreshore section contains remnant vegetation that is sensitive to disturbances so access is not permitted.
The Jawbone area consists of a sandy beach flanked by basalt rock outcrops which represent the seaward end of the flows of basalt lava that characterise Melbourne's western plains.
Altogether 120 species of birds have been identified at the reserve with a number of them breeding and nesting at the site as well. From the bird hide on the northern shore of the eastern (upper) lake, birds that may be spotted include:
- several species of cormorant and grebe
Wader Beach is the eastern limit of a chain of habitats along the western shores of Port Phillip Bay for migratory birds that arrive each spring from the Northern Hemisphere. Large flocks of waders, including the Red-neck Stint may be seen in summer, while swans, cormorants, ibis and oyster catchers feed there all year round.