Western Treatment Plant – 21 July 2018

By Phil Marley

Never underestimate the value of forward planning.

Musk Duck – Vinay Mote

A recce was undertaken to the Western Treatment Plant in the first week in March, to scope what we might expect for the mid-March photo-group outing. What we didn’t expect was the outing being cancelled due to a total fire ban. A more recent recce – to Warrandyte, where we had planned to go for our July outing– found so few birds that the outing was relocated to the WTP. So the March recce came into its own after all – forward planning at its best.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill – Peter Bennet

Predictably, the WTP – Victoria’s hottest hotspot – put on a magnificent display for our cameras. With 264 species recorded from almost 4500 checklists on eBird, we were treated to a wonderful range of avian inhabitants in superb photographic conditions.

Nankeen Kestrel – Alan Fieldus

Our group of 30 or so assembled at the Beach Road car park, repackaged itself into a few cars to keep convoy sizes down and then scattered to the four points of the compass throughout the plant.

Blue-winged Parrot – Stephen Garth

Some first went to the crake pond in the T-section lagoon, others headed to the nearby Kirk’s Point on the coast, some went to the Little River Bird Hide, still others went to the far end to the Borrow Pit. It was a good plan, since each group saw different things.

At the Borrow Pits – Anthea Fleming

Reconvening at the car park for lunch, each reported back on their best sightings, whetting the appetite for others to go and find in the afternoon.

Brown Falcon – Michiko Iida

Not everything could be a highlight – that would be an oxymoron – but highlights were numerous. Near the top of the list must be the raptors. They were everywhere. In large numbers. Whistling, Black-shouldered and Black Kites vied for aerial supremacy with Swamp Harriers, Nankeen Kestrels, Brown Falcons, a Peregrine Falcon, a Brown Goshawk, a Wedge-tailed Eagle and a White-bellied Sea Eagle. The mice didn’t stand a chance.

Black-shouldered Kite – Gaynor Robson

On the seashore, dozens of Red-capped Plovers foraged amicably amongst dozens of Red-necked Stints. Four Pied Oystercatchers avoided the scrum, foraging in water too deep for the smaller waders. A flock of Pied Cormorants had commandeered the pier, but the inland ponds offered plenty of space for large numbers of Musk Ducks, Australasian Shovelers, Red-necked Avocets, Hoary-headed Grebes, a pair of Cape Barren Geese and half a dozen Yellow-billed Spoonbills.

Cape Barren Goose – Kathy Zonnevylle

In the T-section, two Brolgas were spotted grazing in the far-off grasslands, almost overlooked as Australian Spotted Crakes, Red-kneed Dotterels, White-fronted Chats and Little Grassbirds demanded closer attention.

Brolga – Kathy Zonnevylle

A Glossy Ibis photographed near the Little River mouth was an exceptional get.

Glossy Ibis – Mick Connolly

For mid-winter, the 88 species recorded were an excellent haul and, with many migratory waders enjoying balmy (barmy?) times in Siberia, the thousands of birds still present were pleasing. The group was excited by the great photo opportunities and disappointed that we called it a day after only seven hours in the field: with only 33% of reported WTP species being sighted on the day, there was clearly unfinished business here.

Striated Fieldwren – Linda Waters

As one wag said, if we decided to move all our outings to WTP there wouldn’t be any complaints (thanks John). A special tip for next time for two of our eager participants – do fill your petrol tank before going – it’s a very big place.

Skylark – Catherine Noone

Once again, our thanks to Peter and Phil for the early March recce, and to Peter and John for separate (ie, uncoordinated) recent recces, and for chaperoning events on the day.

WTP birdlist 20180721

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One thought on “Western Treatment Plant – 21 July 2018

  1. Jeanette Taylor e

    Thank you:)

    HA! It was Rob without the fuel, not me! Love it!

    Warm Regards,  Jeanette Taylor (Proprietor)the organic food & wine deli  CITY: 28 Degraves st. Melbourne 3000 PRAHRAN: Orrong Park Tennis Centre, Sydney St. Prahran 3181 

    email: jeanette@tofwd.com.au website: http://www.tofwd.com.au fb: the organic food and wine delitwitter: TOFWDinstagram: theorganicfoodandwine deli

    Reply

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