A small band of Heyfield Birdwatchers were very kindly hosted by Bellarine Birdlife to the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee. The claim that this location is one of Victoria’s best birding locations is not at all false. The place is brilliant.
The Western Treatment Plant is huge, over 100 square kilometers. It is located between Werribee and Avalon, south of the Geelong freeway on the shores of Port Phillip Bay.
|Shelducks in flight, (thanks Jim).|
The number of birds and variety of species was almost overwhelming for me. I’m not a shorebirds aficionado by any means but a few visits to this place might easily change that.
In what was really an introductory tour for me – to learn the where and what of the place – we ticked over 90 species.
Some of the more interesting species included – Blue-billed, Musk, Freckled and Pink-eared, (flocks of hundreds), Ducks, Great-crested Grebe, Black Kite, Spotted Harrier, Brolga, Zebra Finch, Striated Fieldwren, etc.
Did I forget something? Oh yes, among the more than 20 species of shorebirds we ticked we saw Marsh Sandpiper, Red Knot, Red-necked Avocet, Double-banded Plover, Banded Lapwing, Curlew Sandpiper, White-winged Black Tern, Ruff/Reeve, etc. And, as was pointed out, this was a quiet time!
|About 10% of the flock - just on this pond!|
Like I said, nearly overwhelming for this novice. I didn’t know which way to point my binoculars or indeed what it was I was looking at most of the time! I think I need some follow up visits and just take one or two ponds at a time with either a shorebirds expert at my shoulder or a very good field guide at the very least.
Now, what did PeterB say about getting a permit?