A day at Werribee

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: A day at Werribee
From: John Barkla <>
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 23:05:47 +1000

Yesterday I had a day at the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee with a friend who is new to bird watching (Karan Kapitan) and another who has been birding for over 70 years (Fred Smith).  Unfortunately, Jack was not up to it.  We had an absolutely marvellous day trying to find new birds for Karan.  We saw 90 species for the day without really trying to get a high species tally.  Highlights were:

(1)     10 species of raptor, including Black Falcon (it seems to be hanging around the main carrier drain where the Whistling and Black Kites congregate on Farm Road), White-bellied Sea Eagle (an immature bird at the T Section Lagoons which could easily be misidentified as a Wedge-tailed Eagle due to its general coloration and apparently longer than usual wedge-shaped tail) and a real Wedge-tailed Eagle (over the Avalon airfield);

(2)     an Australasian Bittern at the Conservation Lagoon on 270 South Road;

(3)     the usual group of Black-tailed Native-Hens at Austin Road (they will probably nest there again);

(4)     a Red-necked Stint in full breeding plumage on The Spit;

(5)     lots of Double-banded Plovers, starting to colour up;

(6)     an over-wintering Bar-tailed Godwit on The Spit (but we did not see the Black-taileds that have been there all winter);

(7)     about 10 Fairy Terns feeding and roosting along the coast;

(8)     a recently deceased Barn Owl, not far from the bird hide where one was reported sheltering recently;  

(9)     2 Brolgas in the big marsh at the end of Point Wilson Road (hopefully they will nest again);

(10) 8 Great-Crested Grebes out on Corio Bay;

(11) 10 Glossy Ibis at Paradise Road; and

(12) we did NOT see any Orange-bellied Parrots, presumably because they were sheltering, low down in the Sclerostegia, from the freezing cold wind.


As I have been in the north for almost 2 months, it was a surprise to see how the duck numbers have declined.  We did not cover the entire Plant (there were lots of places we did not check, including Lake Borrie, Walsh’s Lagoons or the 25W Lagoons), but nevertheless did not see a Freckled Duck for the day, when earlier this year there were 400-500 and you bumped into them almost everywhere.  Pink-eared Duck numbers were also well down.


John Barkla      

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