Tag Archives: Pooh Farm

And the last one…

A great day at the Werribee Treatment Plant ended with a drive along the surrounding roads looking for the raptors using the fence posts as perches to watch for their evening meals. This little Kestrel was fluffed up against the cool air. The Nankeen Kestrel is also called the Chickenhawk (though it mostly hunts insects, small birds and mice), Mosquito Hawk and Windhover (due to its hunting technique). Its scientific name is Falco cenchroides – “resembling kestrel-like hawk falcon” (doesn’t leave much out).

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Nankeen Kestrel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Target sighted…

The Little Duck-Hawk

Another of the raptors we found along the roads in the Treatment Plant was an Australian Hobby. I don’t often see this species though have seen one twice now in the last few months. I actually see Peregrine Falcons more often. This one flew into the Paradise Lagoons section along one of the roads and watched the various birds in the area as well as watch us slowly drive forward.   The Hobby (from old French “hobe” meaning small falcon) was also called the “Little Falcon” , “Little Duck-Hawk”, “Black-faced Hawk”, “White-fronted Hawk” and its Latin name means “Long-winged Falcon”.

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Australian Hobby, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Testing the flush zone at the treatment plant.

Towards the end of my last drive around the Western Treatment Plant we found several Brown Falcons using the fence posts as lookouts for their evening meals. Using the car as a mobile bird hide and watching for nervousness we managed to get quite close to a few. Depending on their age and temperament they had quite different flush distances (no-pun intended).

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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The Brown Falcon of 29 Mile Road

Two thirds of the Elwood Birding Crew aka Port Phillip Birders along with our regional member from up Knox way joined for a day at the pooh farm and surrounding roads. It was cold and grey with dim lighting but the number of raptors along the various roads was surprising and we kept our car windows down, and the heater, gloves and beanies on. We cruised the roads and lagoons, watched and photographed Brown Falcons, Wedge-tail Eagles, Kites and Kestrels. What better way to spend a cold winters day….dont tell Mary.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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A bold Crake

Spotted Crakes are often seen skulking around the muddy edges of wetlands usually very close to cover so a quick dash can get them back under cover and invisible again. I saw this particular Crake late one sunny afternoon at the small lagoon near the bird hide along the coast at the Treatment plant. He was walking quite boldly across the lagoon to the other side. Though as the sun dipped a bit he made the sudden dash back to the other side and straight back into cover.

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

A quick look round and straight at me…

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

…reached the other side for a peek around the salt-bush…

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

…and a mad dash back again – the next few seconds later he actually took off in a low flight..

A Little Grassbird enters stage left.

During my last visit to the Treatment Plant, I stopped the car while driving around the Western Lagoons and filmed  a Spotted Crake that crept out of the salt bush and heath to have a drink and check for easy prey. Just to the left of the Crake a Little Grassbird also popped out to check in the tidal mud for prey. These birds are often heard at wetlands and seen when they flit low across the water to the next clump of reeds but I dont often see them clearly for a shot. The Little Grassbird’s scientific name Megalurus gramineus means “grassy large-tail” due to its large broad tail and preferred habitat.

Little Grassbird, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Little Grassbird, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Little Grassbird, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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A hopeful encounter

On Saturday I went to the Knife-makers Guild annual show in Attwood (as you do), and instead of fighting the freeway traffic back home, I decided to head south and drop by the Western Treatment Plant (the pooh farm). While driving out of the lagoons to leave I flushed what I thought were two Blue-winged Parrots off the track. I saw a flash of orange as they flew over the windscreen of the car and realised these must be a pair of the released Orange-bellied Parrots, a very rare and endangered species. They only flushed to the back of the car so I used the door for cover and took a few photos – bad light and shooting into the sun but got a few shots. They were smaller than I expected and made such a melodic buzzy call when flying. There has been a real push to try and breed up and release parrots to join the 50 wild birds that are estimated to be left (with only 340 in 10 captive/breeding recovery facilities). In the wild the tiny parrot migrates from its summer breeding grounds in Tasmania, flies over Bass Strait and into the coastal regions of Victoria –  a tough flight with very few intact feeding grounds at the end of the journey. I found out later that these two were males and part of the 2017 release program but had not joined the wild population yet. I am hopeful that this parrot does not die out in the wild during my lifetime.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

A pair of male Orange-bellied parrots

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

note the pair of leg bands.

Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

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Orange-bellied parrot, Western Treatment plant, Werribee

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