Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Yesterday, I visited the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee for the first time this year.  It was wonderful, as usual.  The sun shone, the birds foraged and the company was great.  I didn't see any rarities, but I certainly saw lots of birds.  There were still plenty of waders, mainly stints, but Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers too.  I saw about twenty Great Crested Grebes (aren't they funny?) and more Cape Barren Geese than I've ever seen at Werribee.  Shelduck were in their thousands, still moulting I presume, and Pink-eared Ducks that disappeared a few months ago were present again, in a safe haven away from shooters.  I hope they stay there.

There were more people present than I'd expected on a weekday in March and for the first time this century, I was questioned by a Melbourne Water employee.  Charming he was too, and I didn't have my permit with me!

Friends from Canberra came down and gave us the excuse to spend a day at the sewage farm.  Roger Williams is a superb photographer (he has photos in Best 100 Birdwatching Sites in Australia) and Jane Wright, his delightful wife, is an entomologist. 

Jane watches birds, while the two Rogers chat.
We saw one Little Egret, and Roger and Jane saw one Blue-billed Duck.  They also saw a couple of Little Grassbirds that I wasn't quick enough to pick up.  We saw two Brolgas and just two Fairy Martins remained amongst the thousands of Welcome Swallows.  Like the swallows, most birds came in big numbers.  There were multitudinous Musk Ducks, innumerable raptors and one absolutely enormous flock of Little Black Cormorants.  We saw several Yellow-billed Spoonbills, and many more Royals than usual.  Cisticolas sat up and sang for us, and Banded Stilts entertained us as we lunched at the Borrow Pits.

As for the best bird of the day, it's always hard to go past a Red-necked Avocet.  But the cisticola was cute.  And the Great Crested Grebes were amusing.  And. . .

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