Many birds are busy at the moment. Potential nest sites explored, claimed and defended, nest mounds are being constructed and the recent mild weather has convinced several species to start the nesting cycle now.
The two mounds below were found in the first T-section lagoon at the Western Treatment Plant. I was surprised to see that they were fairly close to the road and in a large and fairly exposed lagoon. Very happy to see the Brolgas nesting again at the Lagoons, though a little concerned that if it rained further then the nest could be swamped by the rising water levels. The swan’s nest was much higher from the water.
Nesting Brolga, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee
Nesting Brolga’s mate nearby keeping a watch…
Nesting Swan, T-section, Western treatmwent Plant, Werribee
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Brolgas, Nature Photography, Nesting Black Swan, Nesting Brolgas, Photography, Pooh Farm, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant
As the migrating shore birds slowly build up in numbers at the Western Treatment Plant lagoons, I have been making a series of visits with a few friends to watch and photograph the spring nesting. There are many species building nests and raising young. The highlight was finding two separate Brolga nests.
Swan nesting, Western treatment plant
Nesting House Sparrows
Masked Lapwing nesting – I was a bit worried about this nest, the water rose quite high after a good rain fall a day earlier.
Whistling Kite nesting
Whistling Kite – on guard duty a tree away
Whistling Kite guard
Nesting Brolga – two large eggs on a small island in a lagoon.
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Brolgas, Masked Lapwing, Nature Photography, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant, Whistling Kite
I visited one of my favourite birding sites yesterday – the Western Treatment Plant also known as the Pooh Farm. It is a 200 square kilometer site for the treatment of Melbourne’s waste products. Before the treated water is released into the Bay it moves through large areas of settling ponds and ocean side lagoons. Over the years it has become a major site for Bird species including many migratory birds that spend the Northern Winter in Southern Australia. It has become famous and has actually been named a world RAMSAR Wetlands. It is a great place to drive around and study the various shorebirds as well as the resident birds like the raptors. I made 23 trips there last year and it has become a regular spot for me when the conditions (temp, tide and winds) are right for a day visit – it is a very wind exposed site with limited tall vegetation and no facilities. People drive from hours away and interstate to visit a place that is only 35 mins away for me. A permit and key system is in place and to get full access to the 2 major areas one has to purchase permits and sit an induction process.
And a common question I get when people ask about the site – “What is the smell like?” There is no “off” smell, just the smell from the sea and the vegetation. There are heaps of insects but nothing that bites. It is the insects that help bring in such huge bird numbers.
The Lagoons are adjusted by the Melbourne Water engineers and suit different birds at various times of the year. Each species has a food and water depth requirement. The photo below was taken in Nov and yesterday it was dried out. And yes I have often nearly driven into the water while trying to drive, use binoculars and take photos all at the same time.
Lagoons within the T section of the Western Treatment Plant – Avalon Airport and the You Yangs in the background
If anyone wants to head out to the “farm” let me know….it is a great experience and I look for any excuse to go.
I found 75 species yesterday and attempted to take a few photos while driving the various roads…..
Shorebird flock, Western Treatment Plant – mostly Red Necked Stints and and Sharp Tailed Sandpipers
Shorebird flock II, Western Treatment Plant
Swamp Harrier II – nice lines and effortless turns
Brolgas, Western Treatment Plant – always a treat to find these large rare birds.
Red Necked Avocet, Western Treatment Plant – a very easy to identify species, nothing else even remotely like it in Australia.
Sharp Tailed Sandpiper
Welcome Swallow II
Juvenile Welcome Swallow
Posted in Birds, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Brolgas, Nature Photography, RAMSAR, Red Necked Avocet, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Shorebirds, Swamp Harrier, Victoria, Welcome Swallow, Western Treatment Plant