The venue? Not the MCG but the WTP - that is to say Melbourne's Western Treatment Plant (AKA the Werribee Poo ponds). In the birding equivalent of a marathon pub crawl we also took in the You Yangs and Serendip Sanctuary.
Curiously there was no hint of competition:) I had no idea Rich was on 273 for the year and I on 263!
I haven't had a great number of birding expeditions with other birders so it was a pleasure to share the day with another of similar interests and experience (sorry Rich) . Each bringing specific knowledge to the table resulted in more efficient birding and more sightings. There was still head-scratching with shared black holes (sandpipers, terns) but things still got sorted more efficiently (allocated to "unidentified sandpiper" category much more quickly).
I thoroughly enjoyed this gorgeous day at Werribee (only my second trip). The visit showcased the WTP's amazing capacity for showing grand scale as well as intimate detail. Many birds were there in large flocks but could also been seen at close range if lucky.
|One of several flocks of Red-necked avocet|
|Swirling flocks of Pink-eared duck made their way directly overhead|
|More flocks - Australian shelduck (above) and a closer view of the avocet below|
|Small ponds like this one enabled much closer viewing|
With large groups of birds comes the opportunity to observe behaviour. Here are two pairs of sharp-tailed sandpiper which were noticed to be "interacting"....
Two birds that I don't see close-up very often are Red-kneed dotterel and Australian spotted crake....
|Common greenshank and Red-necked stint|
|Spotted harrier - Lifer (quickly identified with the assistance of my associate raptor expert)!|
|A Superb fairy-wren Christmas spread - surrounded by the feast!|
|Australian pelican jetting in from Avalon airport|
|Distant view of Horsfield's bronze cuckoo in this un-edited photo. I do like the fence post, grasses and the slight "vignette" effect caused by the car's side mirror just encroaching on the shot at bottom left!|
|Welcome swallow ('though it was hanging around with tree martins)|
Finally we had good views of Great crested grebe and Eurasian skylark.