We had a wonderful day at the the Werribee Treatment Plant…a bird paradise.
Early highlights were a flock of appealing Zebra Finches, and then a panorama of shining Canola highlighting the distant You Yangs.
Field of canola
Next were rows of mud-bottle nests under the eaves of one of the very few buildings. Their owners, Fairy Martins, were sweeping around the building, and nearby on a channel edge were two Black Fronted Dotterels.
Fairy Martin nests
In the paddocks nearby were a number of Cattle Egrets following a herd of steer.
Watching the Cattle Egrets
Flocks of elegant Avocets, with their rusty heads and unmistakable long upturned bills were our favourite sighting at morning tea.
On reaching the furthest point in the road system we had hoped to see Orange-bellied Parrots(OBPs), as cage-bred young have been released there, and a departing bird watcher had seen one. Our hopes were dashed, as usual, but it was a great location for numerous other species including soaring flocks of migratory waders.
Lunch, but where are the OBPs?
We also were impressed to see, highlighted in the sunlight, the red knees of several Red-kneed Dotterels.
There was also a flock of Banded Stilts with some more Avocets.
On the way we saw hundreds of Starlings perched on some posts, and on the return trip they had been replaced by one Pelican.
Our most unusual sight for the day was a lone Black-tailed Godwit with its amazing long beak. My only other sighting of this species was this year in May, in Amsterdam!
The only bird hide
We saw a number of Raptors but only a Black Shouldered Kite posed for a photograph.
Black Shouldered Kite
On our way back we stopped to admire a Black swan on a nest, and were delighted to see a pair of Brolgas near the shore behind the nest.
Swan and Brolgas
A couple of our party took a different, and longer route back and added six species to our total of 69…a record for us.
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.