Last month we had a wonderful visit to the Western Water Treatment Plant at Werribee. As expected, we didn’t see any Orange-bellied Parrots, but there were many unexpected sightings.
Blue-winged Parrots … not OBP’s
The first highlight was a large flock of the striking Zebra Finches, making us feel we were in Central Australia. With their stubby, bright orange beaks and legs, someone suggested they were a bit like miniature Puffins certainly the closest to a Puffin look-alike in this country.
A multitude of Fairy Martins, mixed in with the more common Welcome Swallows, was also an unusual sight for us.
A mass of mainly Martins
There was more to come, with a Sea-Eagle and baby, a number of different raptors, one very handsome Cape Barren Goose, and finally about 60 waders, all Red-necked Stints.
Cape Barren Goose
We were unsure if they had wintered here or were very early arrivals back from Siberia. However a couple had the remains of the coloured neck feathers that give them their name, so perhaps they were newly arrived. This is breeding plumage and we don’t usually see it here as they are in their non-breeding phase.
Checking out the Red-necked Stints
A fascinating site was seeing about 7 tiny baby ducks falling/pushed/jumping from a nesting box and then swimming in a line after their parents. Another pair of ducks appeared to immediately take possession of the nesting box.
At 4.30pm we were only about half way along our chosen route, but most of us reluctantly had to leave. One carload went on until the light faded, and saw another four different species, including the largest number of Black-fronted Dotterels (23) any of us had seen.
Terns and Gulls
We recorded 62 species, making it a most rewarding day.
Below is a list of all the birds identified:
Photos by Margaret Lacey
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.