The Western Treatment Plant, WTP – Melbourne’s main sewage works – is a great place to bird, but with around 100 settling ponds to check, spread over a vast area, with no shade – yesterday’s temperatures reached 36 deg. – it can be a little overwhelming at times. We collected our key from Werribee Zoo at nine thirty and didn’t leave till around three in the afternoon. Much of the eastern section was closed off, which did narrow the search area somewhat. There were thousands of ducks – mostly Australian Shelduck – but we did manage to find a few other species including Australian Shoveler, a target bird. The morning coffee-stop provided great views of Australian Spotted Crake and by lunch we’d managed to add a few more wader species: Greenshank, Marsh & Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Red-capped Plover to the trip list. There were several tern species, including Whiskered – another trip tick. Given the current conditions, and general lack of shorebirds, we were very satisfied with our efforts. However, the indisputable highlight of our visit were the Brolga – subject of a separate blog.
We leave Australia this afternoon, bound for Sri Lanka. It’s been a fabulous trip so far, seeing & sharing with family again, enjoying the weather, re-visiting old haunts and adding to my Australia and Hunter bird lists. Our total for this trip is 237 – well down on previous visits – but understandable in the current circumstances. At times the whole covid thing has felt like playing Russian roulette and the added burden of testing and documentation has been daunting, but was it worth it? – you bet!