David Koffel and I had
a fantastic few days in the Werribee area in Victoria
on the 19th to 22nd January 2006 with the aim of seeing the
Red-necked Phalarope and Long-toed Stint as well as any other rarities which
happened to be present. As with previous visits, we were again thrilled to see
the sheer number of birds present at the Werribee Treatment Plant (WTP) with tens
of thousands of various ducks (including probably at least 15,000 Australian
Shelduck alone) and tens of thousands of shorebirds.
After a long drive from Sydney
on Thursday (departing Sydney approx.
on 19/1/06) we arrived later that afternoon in
Werribee at approx. . We then
met up with Shirley Cameron and her partner Doug who both kindly showed us for
an introductory hour or so around the WTP. On visiting Walsh’s Lagoon in
the WTP, it took us half an hour until we spotted the magic bird, a RED-NECKED
PHALAROPE busily foraging along the shore line. I was instantly thrilled as this
has been a bird I have always wanted to see and it was a lifer for both David
and I. The Phalarope then flew and landed on the water amongst the Swans,
Shelducks and Avocets. We watched it for a little while and then pleased with
our views, David and I headed off to the Werribee pub for a celebration.
A Black Kite was also seen with Whistling Kites along the entrance
The next morning (20/1/06),
Gina Hopkins kindly showed us a whole day
around the WTP. We first checked the Conservation Ponds where the Long-toed
Stints had been seen amongst tens of thousands of other waders mainly Curlew
and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints. It took us a while till we
had our eyes on one LONG-TOED STINT amongst the Red-necked Stints roosting on
the rocks. David had troubles seeing this bird until one flew and landed only
within 5 metres of us “showing off” its olive-yellow legs and long
toes. We did not expect to see the bird this close and it stayed there for
quite a long time, being very cooperative and allowing me to take some photos.
It was seen with both a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and a Red-necked Stint for good
size comparison. The Long-toed Stint looks very much like a small Sharpie but about
the same size as a Red-necked Stint and appearing slimmer and more upright than
the later species. This was a lifer for David and a second sighting for me.
After enjoying viewing this bird, we then realised that we had 4 Long-toed
Stints viewable at the same time and all within close proximity to each other.
There were also 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Red Knot at these ponds and 20 or so
White-throated Needletails flew over.
Along Paradise Rd,
we saw 21 Cape Barren Geese and 2 more of these Geese were at the
Other birds seen that day including a number of Terns (including 2
Little, 45 Common and 50 plus Whiskered Terns), Bar-tailed Godwits, Pacific
Golden Plover, 11 Pied Oystercatchers, a few Pacific Gulls and 300 Musk Ducks.