Our February bird walk group visited the Melbourne Treatment Plant at Werribee. It was very windy and the birds were staying down in sheltered spots.

piedstiltPied Stilt aka Black-winged Stilt

whiskeredternWhiskered Tern

Our count of 49 species for the day wasn't high for this location but the number of birds was breathtaking. Some flocks must have been in the thousands.

None of us had ever seen so many Australian Shelducks, mostly grazing out on the grassy fields. The waders were bunched up in rafts of hundreds which looked like rocks until you realised they were masses of birds, impossible to identify side by side with their heads under wings.

avocetsResting flocks of Avocets

 

Another highlight was close views of Swamp Harriers as they flew low beside the car, giving us a sense of just how large they really are.

sqampharrierJuvenile Swamp Harrier

We also enjoyed seeing lots of Pink-eared Ducks, the Striated Fieldwren with its cocky tail, and the iridescent colours of the Glossy Ibis at our lunch stop.

pinkearedducksPink-eared Ducks

striatedfieldwrenStriated Fieldwren

glossyibisGlossy Ibis

Margaret Lacey

Weed of the month

Freesia

Freesia

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.

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