Was in Melbourne for work last week and was able to swing a day's birding. Joy
Tansey was kind enough to offer to take me
out for the day. And what a day!!
First to Point Addis (near Anglesea) to find a lifer - the Rufous Bristlebird.
This took precisely 42 seconds as they were
running around in the carpark. But we did look around in more bushy areas and
were awarded superb views, including 2 birds
coming directly towards us, first getting too close for the binoculars and then
one coming up to within 60cm and happily
foraging on the ground or pecking off leaves. My heart stopped. It was
fantastic. We were able to note the plumage: 1
bird more rufous on head, pinkish legs, full grey ring around eye, while other
bird had lighter head, darker grey legs and
less grey around eye. Birds were equal size, yet the more rufous one fed the
other. Noted black whiskers around bill.
Those birds have great personality.
Next, some time in the Anglesea Heath Reserve getting such goodies as
Blue-winged Parrot and no less than 10 Gang-gang
Cockatoos. The noisy begging of the young Gang-gangs attracted our attention.
We were able to watch male and female adults
feeding immatures of the opposite gender. As were were up on a hill, the
White-throated Needletails literally whooshed past
And then finally, to the BIG destination for me: Werribee, Western Treatment
Plant and supposedly a sewage works. I had
heard so much about this place over birding-aus and any concept I had of the
place was totally wrong. This is not a sewage
works!!! This is one of the most fabulous bird meccas I've ever seen. Any
sewage works I'd been to before comprised
concrete ponds with mown grass between. McGraths Hills at Windsor in Sydney is
more natural but still small. Werribee is
monstrous - many lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, grassed areas, saltmarsh and the
ocean of Port Phillip Bay, all spread over
many kilometres makes this such a special place.
And hence thousands of birds. And I mean thousands. I was amazed at the sheer
numbers, some examples being 2,800 Red-necked
Stints, 100 Banded Stilt, 230 Little Black Cormorant, Pink-eared Duck a
fabulous 4000, 440 Red-necked Avocet. And these are
single sightings which are repeated over and over the numerous wetlands.
By pre-arrangement, Joy and I met with Denise Moore who was accompanied by Fred
Smith and David, plus Ed from the USA. I
spent happy hours being confronted time and again by exciting birding such as
Striated Fieldwrens, groups of up to 16
White-fronted Chat, and the strange sight of Musk Ducks on the salt water of
Port Phillip Bay.
And - yes, yes, yes - Freckled Duck. Finally got that lifer.
Werribee is unbelievable. A huge place where you can spend many hours (whole
days) looking at these amazing sights. The
sheer numbers were stunning.
It was very nice to meet up with Denise Moore who I only knew otherwise through
birding-aus emails. And thanks too to Joy
Tansey who has very sharp eyes for birds, and did a lot of driving to give me
one of my best birding days.
Concord West, 12 km from Sydney city, NSW Australia
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