Saturday, 8 March 2014


Cape Barren Goose

We had a wonderful day at Werribee on Friday.  Raptors starred.  We saw lots of waders and ducks and several crakes, including one Spotted Crake standing on a rock!

Early in the day, we bumped into Martin doing a survey, so we found out all we could.  He told us about Broad-billed and Pectoral Sandpipers, Double-banded Plovers, Black Falcons, Freckled Ducks, Little and Fairy Terns and Blue-winged Parrots.  We searched in all his recommended spots, but we did not see any of these birds.

We saw many Whistling and Black Kites, a couple of Black-shouldered ones too.  Several Swamp Harriers, one Brown Falcon, and a Brown Goshawk and an Australian Hobby.

A crake ran across the road in front of the bird hide.  It was very dark, and might have been a Spotless Crake, but I was not sure.  We saw several Australian Spotted Crakes and one skulking Buff-banded Rail.  The light was not good.  It was on the other side of the river, and in the binoculars just looked like a dark rail, but in the scope there was no doubting his identity.  I had never seen a crake perched on a rock before.  The rock was in a lagoon, surrounded by water.  The bird flew, only to be attacked by (of all things) a Welcome Swallow.  The crake disappeared under the water, never to be seen again.  I assume it swam under water to the bank.

The Golden-headed Cisticolas were, as ever, very beautiful.  A Little Grassbird sat obligingly up on top of a bush, determined to get its name onto my list.  White-winged Black Terns swooped over the lagoons, and loafed on the beach, so we could admire their non-breeding plumage properly through the scope.  We saw a remarkable seven Great Crested Grebes, always one of my favourites.

A most enjoyable day.  Many beautiful birds.  As a Sydney friend of mine said recently:  'it's impossible to have a bad day at Werribee.'

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