A great weekend birding in Western Port Phillip Bay VIC August 2002 Pt 2

To: "Edwin Vella" <>, <>
Subject: A great weekend birding in Western Port Phillip Bay VIC August 2002 Pt 2
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:29:25 +1000

Follow on from Part 1


WERRIBEE WATER TREATMENT PLANT -18/8/02 (8:30 am to 5 pm)


This is my third visit to this awesome part of Victoria and I thank Paul Hackett and other friends Joy and Alex for allowing me to join them for a fantastic day here. As I was waiting at our meeting place near the Pt Wilson Rd turnoff from the Princess FWY, I managed a glimpse of 2 SWIFT PARROTS flying overhead and heard another and some Purple-crowned Lorikeets in the roadside trees beside the freeway.


Upon meeting Paul, Joy and Alex we made first of all a well worth trip towards the Avalon Airport to see 8 Banded Lapwings in the paddocks on the southern side of the road. 


While driving on the beach road, we encountered our first group of Blue-winged Parrots perched on roadside trees (we obtained great views through the scope of 12 of them) and saw also 9 Australian Shelducks flying overhead about half way along the road. After reaching the end of the beach road and turning south parallel to the Bay, we got great views of another 8 Blue-winged Parrots feeding in the salt marsh (atleast 2 very well marked adult males) and saw a Striated Fieldwren taking pride in its singing on top of a small bush.


In and around Lake Borrie, the regular spectacle of around 50,000 Pink-eared Ducks was on show and good numbers of the other ducks including about 30 Blue-billed Ducks, 400 plus Hardheads, no less than 700 Australasian Shoveler, 200 plus Musk Ducks, thousands of Grey Teal, and also well over 1000 Hoary-headed Grebes. In the small wetland beside Paradise Rd were 4 Glossy Ibis, 7 Australasian Shelducks (very well short of the numbers seen in previous occasions for this species), 80 Banded Stilts (many with beautiful chestnut bands and one orange flagged on its left leg facing front on), 140 plus Red-necked Avocet, some Pied Stilts, 20 plus Red-capped Plover and 20 Red-necked Stints. We also had excellent views of 2 Australian Crakes in small pond bordered by salt marsh beside Lake Borrie.


In and around the conservation ponds were another 5 Red-necked Stints, 60 Curlew Sandpipers (one banded with an orange flag on left leg faced front on and a few showing traces of breeding plumage), 20 Red-kneed Dotterel, about another 20 Red-necked Avocets and 6 Black-tailed Native Hens (another 2 were also present further back beside the road).


On the mouth of the Little River were an impressive 500 Red-necked Stints (one orange flagged in much the same way as the other 2 birds above), 200 Curlew Sandpipers, 5 Pied Oystercatchers, 100 Red-necked Avocets and 2 Banded Stilts, an Australian Crake, 150-200 Australasian Gannets fishing out in the bay, a Pacific Gull and a WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN (in non-breeding plumage).


Along the Pt Wilson spit area (where I would love to have caught up again with the Orange-bellied Parrots but to no avail) we found another 10 Blue-winged Parrots (including 2 juv. birds moving on the ground in front of the car). We also found another 3Australian Crakes, a Yellow-billed Spoonbill, another Pacific Gull, more Striated Fieldwrens, 2 Greenshanks and 3 small terns, either Fairy of Little Terns (too far out for me to identify).


Just outside the treatment plant an in the gounds of the Murtcaim Wildlife Area Sanctuary (Austin Roads Wetlands) we saw our final 4 out of about 40 Blue-winged Parrots for the day.


The total number of raptors (as often is the case) see in and around the Werribee Western Treatment Plant was impressive and we saw no less than 9 Whistling Kites, 12 Swamp Harriers, 13 Brown Falcon (a few banded), 6 Black-shouldered Kites, atleast one Kestrel and an Australian Hobby perched outside close to our initial meeting place near the freeway.


Overall, I had a wonderful weekend birding down in Melbourne and was great to meet in person more of our fellow birding-aus subscribers.


Looking forward to next time in the Melbourne area.


Edwin Vella



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