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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.

Zebra Finches
Zebra Finches

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
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
Cape Barren Goose

Red-necked Stints
Red-necked Stints

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 StintsChecking 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.

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.

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite

Brown Falcon

Crested Pigeon
Crested Pigeon


Terns and Gulls
Terns and Gulls

 We recorded 62 species, making it a most rewarding day.

Next month there will be no Angair bird walk, but interested members may like to participate in the last Birdlife Australia Orange-bellied Parrot survey for the year, on the weekend of September 10-11. If so, contact Craig Morley, Bellarine Peninsula Orange-bellied Parrot Regional Group Co-ordinator 5221 4604, mobile 042 919 6634,

Below is a list of all the birds identified:

  1. Cape Barren Goose
  2. Black Swan
  3. Australian Shelduck
  4. Pacific Black Duck
  5. Chestnut Teal
  6. Blue-billed Duck
  7. Musk Duck
  8. Hoary-headed Grebe
  9. Little Pied Cormorant
  10. Great Cormorant
  11. Pied Cormorant
  12. Australian Pelican
  13. Great Egret
  14. White-faced Heron
  15. Australian Ibis
  16. Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  17. Australian Kite
  18. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  19. Swamp Harrier
  20. Black Kite
  21. Whistling Kite
  22. White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  23. Australasian Swamphen
  24. Eurasian Coot
  25. Pied Stilt
  26. Masked Lapwing
  27. Red-capped Plover
  28. Black-fronted Dotterel
  29. Red-necked Stint
  30. Silver Gull
  31. Whiskered Tern
  32. Great Crested Tern
  33. Crested Pigeon
  34. Australian Kestrel
  35. Brown Falcon
  36. Galah
  37. Blue-winged Parrot
  38. Red-rumped Parrot
  39. Superb Fairywren
  40. Noisy Miner
  41. Red Wattlebird
  42. White-fronted Chat
  43. White-browed Scrubwren
  44. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  45. Australian Magpie
  46. Black-faced Cuckooshrike
  47. Gray Shrikethrush
  48. Willie-wagtail
  49. Magpie-lark
  50. Raven sp.
  51. Scarlet Robin
  52. Eurasian Skylark
  53. Welcome Swallow
  54. Fairy Martin
  55. Tree Martin
  56. Little Grassbird
  57. Golden-headed Cisticola
  58. Silver-eye
  59. Common Myna
  60. Australasian Pipit
  61. House Sparrow
  62. Zebra Finch

Ellinor Campbell

Photos by Margaret Lacey