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Last month we visited the always wonderful Melbourne Treatment Plant at Werribee.

Despite being cool and very windy, plus early rain, we had a great day and saw masses of birds…43 species.

braving the elementsBraving the elements

An early highlight was sighting two Glossy Ibis. Later in the day it was the turn of a pair of Brolgas which we saw three times…or six different Brolgas!. These elegant birds with wind-ruffled feathers, half dancing along the sand banks were such a delight to see.


In between times we saw masses of mainly waterbirds, but were not able to identify any rarities.

sharptailedsandpipersSharp-tailed Sandpipers

We followed a different route from usual, though with about 200 kms of roads there are lots of choices, and stayed mostly near the sea.

At lunch time we found a second bird hide which most of us had never seen before. After a cursory look at nearby birds we hunkered down inside, enjoying a respite from the wind.


After lunch we were really disappointed to find that the large flock of about 100 splendid Avocets had all flown, and we did not see them anywhere else.

However a small colony of Jewel spiders sheltering in a corner of the hide passageway surprised us with their complex web structure. At the base of their dense combined cobweb they had suspended a small stone, presumably to help stabilise the web in the wind… and what a testament to the strength and versatility of spider silk.

jewel spiderJewel Spider

Below are all the birds identified on this walk:

  1. Black Swan
  2. Australian Shelduck
  3. Australian Shoveler
  4. Pacific Black Duck
  5. Gray Teal
  6. Chestnut Teal
  7. Hoary-headed Grebe
  8. Eurasian Coot
  9. Australasian Swamphen
  10. Brolga
  11. Pied Stilt
  12. Red-necked Avocet
  13. Pied Oystercatcher
  14. Masked Lapwing
  15. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  16. Curlew Sandpiper
  17. Red-necked Stint
  18. Marsh Sandpiper
  19. Silver Gull
  20. Little Pied Cormorant
  21. Little Black Cormorant
  22. Australian Pelican
  23. Great Egret
  24. White-faced Heron
  25. Little Egret
  26. Glossy Ibis
  27. Australian Ibis
  28. Straw-necked Ibis
  29. Royal Spoonbill
  30. Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  31. Little Eagle
  32. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  33. Swamp Harrier
  34. Superb Fairywren
  35. White-fronted Chat
  36. Crow/Raven sp.
  37. Fairy Martin
  38. Little Grassbird
  39. Silver-eye
  40. European Starling
  41. House Sparrow
  42. Zebra Finch
  43. Bar-tailed Godwit

Ellinor Campbell

Photos by Alison and Phil Watson