Western Treatment Plant Excursion 3 February 2013
Travelling south of Ballan the convoy came to halt at Mt Wallace. Two Brolgas were seen on a swamp a couple hundred metres east of the road. While watching the Brolgas we noticed 2 Wedge-tailed Eagles perched on a fence.
On arrival at Western Treatment Plant we first visited the T-Section Lagoons. A large flock of Red-necked Stints were resting on the dry edge while others were feeding on the wet mud. Curlew and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper were feeding in slightly deeper water. Further out from the edge were Black-winged Stilt and Red-necked Avocet. On the pond opposite a long-legged Marsh Sandpiper was seen. A Little Raven was feeding on the carcase of an Australian Shelduck. Shelduck and Grey Teal were the most common duck as they continued to be throughout the day.
We stopped to see 4 Cape Barren Goose. Red-kneed Dotterel were hiding in rushes at the edge of a pond. Two Baillon’s Crake were moving in and out of a clump of cumbungi. Glossy Ibis were seen as we headed back to the gate.
In the Western Lagoon area we added Little Black and Little Pied Cormorant, Little Egret and Pied Oystercatcher to the list. Further away, in The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve, we could see Pelican, Yellow-billed and Royal Spoonbill through telescopes. A group of 4 Brolgas were grazing in adjoining pasture.
The bird list continued to grow at Kirk Point where we had lunch. Ken spotted Pacific Golden Plover among the glasswort vegetation. We could see several heads above the vegetation, and occasionally a bird moved to show some its body. After most people had left something spooked the birds and we counted a flock of 13 flying away. Resting on the rocks were Pied Cormorant, Crested and Common Tern. Superb Fairy-wren were seen among the saltbush.
After lunch we re-entered WTP and saw Australian Spotted Crake on the edges of a muddy pond. After crossing Little River a Spotted Harrier was seen flying low over swampy vegetation. Large numbers of Australian Shelduck were on the roads and when we stopped the Pink-eared Duck drew our attention with their rapid, whistled twittering. White-winged Black Tern were flying around and identified when we had a look at the distinctive tear-drop shaped black patch behind the eye of a resting on a mud bank.
Heading back along the coast we added Great Cormorant and Australasian Darter.
The weather warmed up in the afternoon but a cool sea breeze kept it comfortable. We saw a total of 69 species.