Saturday, April 19, 2014

Western Treatment Plant 16/04/2014

A fine day was forecast so another opportunity to explore a small portion of the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee was quickly taken up. With my new location in West Gippsland, the trip to ‘the other side of the city’ is a mere 90 minute drive – sans peakhour! This time it took two and a half hours to get there after experiencing the parking lot laughingly referred to as the Monash Freeway. Earlier departure next time!

I was intent on slowly exploring just a small portion of the ponds and chose probably the easiest and smallest section to begin with – T Section Lagoon and Western Lagoon. I registered my trip with Melbourne Water and after a brief diversion to catch up with some Zebra Finches, I headed for the first gate.

The first pond to the right was loaded with bird life – Black Swans, Hoary-headed Grebes, various ducks and the like, but I had difficulty getting clear views looking into a brightly lit background and my little camera always struggles with difficult light conditions.

Just on a little further and with the light behind me, a small mob of Black-winged Stilts provided some nice views for a time. They always look so ‘dressed up’ in their black and white livery.

On a nearby pond a small flock of Curlew Sandpipers was working the shallows. These common long distance fliers should be about to head back, (to Siberia?), unless they have decided to overwinter here. I was interested to see that these waders are not averse to putting their heads below the surface of the water to reach their favourite marine invertebrate in the mud below.

After a brief late snack for lunch I moved a little further east on to Western Lagoon. Australasian Shovelers, Shelducks, Teal etc were all present here along with Spoonbills and more waders I wasn’t yet ready to identify and it was getting close to time to head home.

As I scanned the far shoreline I caught a glimpse of a pair of Brolgas. They were feeding as they slowly walked along, too far for a decent picture. Just as I got back into the ute, they took off and with their long legs trailing flew to a nearby lagoon that offered a better chance for me to get a little closer. Oh well, what the heck if I have to face that crawl on the freeway again.

Finally I headed out into the traffic and turned my head for home. Surprisingly I must have missed the peak - it only took an hour and a half this time.



  1. Zebs to Brolgas and a huge variety of species in between - you never know what is going to turn up at the WTP! Gouldiae it looks like you are hooked so we can look forward to more posts from this Birding Mecca from you.

  2. Every chance John, every chance!

  3. How exciting to see Brolgas, I don't imagine they are a common bird down south?

    The Curlew Sandpiper in the middle is very 'coloured up', so I assume it will be making the trip north.