A most invigorating cold wind kept us all alert
today during the Orange Bellied Parrot survey at Werribee Treatment Plant (1/2
hr west of Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay) today.
However, although we weren't successful in finding
OBP's we were highly surprised to open the hide door and be confronted by an
equally surprised Barn Owl, hovering in the centre and then promptly
exiting through the only open scope hole, leaving only its whitewash on the
bench as a reminder of its presence. Certainly a close encounter.
Unfortunately just down the track we also found a reasonably fresh dead Barn Owl
which had been ripped open from its back, presumably for its organs. Can anyone
suggest what may have attacked it, as a Barking Owl is the only other large owl
and it's not that much bigger?
Another highlight for us today was to
be confronted by a very long-necked Stubble Quail on a grass track near the T
section, staring at us for a prolonged time before hurriedly disappearing into a
grass clump. With the sun out at this time we could clearly see the orange on
it's face/neck area and its striking striped all-over patterning. We
almost wondered if it could be a Plain's Wanderer, but after perusing Pizzey,
Simpson and Day, we then found Slater showed one in a pose with the stalky neck
effect. Of course the orange was in the wrong place for a PW, but it certainly
looked closely related, and size is the same!
Jacqui & Rob Sheppard, Paul Hackett, Joy Knight
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