Tag Archives: Werribee

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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Red-kneed Dotterel with red knees

I like it when a bird species has an identifying feature listed in its name, it makes birding just a fraction easier. Before the Spotted Crake did his dash across the small shallow lagoon a few Red-kneed Dotterels worked their way along the edge looking for small insects on the water.

Red -kneed Dotterel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red-kneed Dotterel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Red -kneed Dotterel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Red -kneed Dotterel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Red -kneed Dotterel, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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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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Hare of the T-section

I don’t often see Hares in the wild. I have seen two now at Werribee  and both were a surprise…once when it came down a dirt track towards the car I thought it was a fox, then a small dog but then it raised its ears and I saw it was a hare.

The hare below was just sitting and enjoying a bit of sun on a cold winters day. When the birds alert went up that a raptor was cruising by it seemed to recognise the call and became much more aware and started to look up and around.

I had to check Wiki to learn more about it: Long-eared, and long limbed, Hares are fast runners, typically living solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago. Hares do not bear their young below ground in a burrow as do rabbits, but rather in a shallow depression or flattened nest of grass called a form. Young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection, compared to a burrow, by being born fully furred and with eyes open. They are able to fend for themselves soon after birth where rabbits are born blind and hairless.

Hares are swift animals: The introduced hare found in Australia (Lepus europaeus) can run up to 56 km/h and can leap up to 3 m (10 ft) at a time.

During a spring frenzy, hares can be seen chasing one another and “boxing”, one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term “mad as a March hare”). For a long time, this had been thought to be male competition, but closer observation has revealed it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

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Hare, Western Treatment Plant, T-section, Werribee

well suited for a life above ground, fast, wary and camouflaged