This trip took place on the 15th of February
I didn’t really want to go to WTP last Sunday. I’d only had four hours sleep, due to being up late with my family the night before. I was already exhausted. I knew it was a bad idea. But… I needed to bird. I knew I’d look back on it fondly. I just knew that I would really struggle that day.
And I did. But it was so worth it.
I got picked up by Peter, from Bannockburn, at 6.30. We all met outside WTP at 7, where it took a short while to get started. Once we organized the various cars we headed off.
The first stop was Kirks Point. You don’t need a key to access this part of the plant, I think. It’s a bumpy dirt road that is unsealed. You need a decent car to get there.
We saw a striated fieldwren on the way there, which was fantastic. I’d been hoping to find one at a number of birding locations along the Western Suburbs but hadn’t had much luck. It was so beautiful to photograph.
We were able to see a number of terns in this area, including common terns and fairy terns. I can definitely see the size difference between fairy and crested terns now. It always seems so much easier after you’ve seen it in the field. I struggled to tell the common ones apart until I noticed that they had a black bill.
Initially I couldn’t tell what was what and really struggled. Fortunately, Simon Starr from Firetail Birdwatching Tours was there to help out. He was very generous helping people and sharing his scope. Would love to bird with him when my budget improves.
I don’t know what this carcass is – would be interested to try to ID it at some pont.
Saw my first eurasian skylark! Was so grateful to be in a car with such generous people.
A deceased fish I found and wanted to try to ID. I’m a nerd.
I’m not 100% sure my locations are accurate, as we stopped at started at various points. I’m loosely organizing pictures according to where I think I was at the time.
The above is of a couple of zebra finch. I loved being able to get up close and watching them, it was so fascinating.
Then we found the banded lapwing! It’s a bird I’m obsessed with and would love to see again, I find the markings to be so beautiful. It was hard to get a clear photograph as they were a fair distance away.
There were also babies, which were every more difficult to photograph.
Obligatory plane photo for the nephew. It’s not currently being used to test stuff anymore, but it’s still fun.
This this is the little eagle that we saw
I also saw 2 brolga at the T section! They were right at the back and a bit difficult to see. It sorta shows how silly birding is. I can get up close and get really beautiful photos of the captive ones at Serendip. But no, I have to find them in the wild – just so I can claim it as a tick. I don’t even care about ticks, I guess I like it increasing my life list because it somehow conveys seriousness about birding.
I’ll continue doing my slow birding and just exploring certain areas as much as I can. I’m going slightly stir crazy as I’m really feeling the urge to travel, but don’t have the money to pay for driving lessons currently.
Sandpipers and stints
These were found just in the gate from the boat ramp. The directions given to a friend was “inside the gate, down point wilson road and opposite kirk point road. That first pond in.”
I can’t give further information as I’ve only been there once. The whole day, I had no idea where I was.
It was hilarious. As soon as Phil got out of the car he shouted “There it is!” I know that they aren’t that common, but I kinda didn’t see what the fuss was. I know it likes hanging out with the sharpies instead of the red necked stint. It looked a bit different, but certainly not interesting enough to photograph. I’ve learned that I’m just not into sandpipers and stints that much, at least not yet. It’s an overwhelming hobby and I’ll mature as I learn more.
See the bird in the grassy stuff at the bottom? Which has colouring that is a bit different? I have no idea how they could tell so easily; took me a while to find it.
The pectoral. Really liked being able to see one as I had only seen my first sharpies at Lake Colac last year. At that point, I wasn’t able to tell the difference between sharpies and pectoral. Once I learned that pectorals are a bit rarer I decided ‘ooh! I have to see one.’ Which, again, shows my silly reasons for adding stuff to a list.
I can see the difference in breast/facial markings now, but may have struggled if someone didn’t point it out to me. Kevin Bartram is awesome at telling birds apart, even when it’s really difficult.
White winged black tern around the rocks near gate 4.
At this point, I don’t remember where we were, other then the bird hide. I think we may have been driving to the car. All I know is that I saw a number of musk ducks and I was enamored.
I got this photo of a female for comparison purples. We struggled to tell the difference between a musk duck, and blue billed duck, recently when at Lake Lorne. I can definitely see the difference in the shape of the head.
The duck butt.
The thing I found especially fascinating was that it wasn’t his tail that as causing the water. He was using his feet! I didn’t notice that the first time I saw the video. I’d love to return just to take photos of the ducks.
The bird hide
As mentioned, I really struggled this day. Things were taking longer then planned. People wouldn’t move on after they were done, they would stay at chat for a while. This is understandable – and isn’t a criticism. I was so lethargic and it was a rather hot day, so I’d have to sneak off to the car to sit down and try to relax. I felt so rude – and questioned whether I did the right thing by going. I think I did but damn, it was difficult.
The bird hide was crowded and there was so many birds, so I thought I’d wait outside. Someone would tell me if they saw something interesting. This strategy failed, somewhat, as others saw a red knot. But I was fortunate enough to get extended looks at this spotted crake.
Photo of its bottom, to help with identification.
It wasn’t that skittish, unlike the spotless crake I saw later that day! I enjoyed being able to see it, especially since I’ve dipped so many times at Belmont.
Orb Spider in the hide.
I was one of only two people that saw this blue billed duck. I was sitting in the car attempting to practice mindfulness.
Thousands of shelducks in flight.
Cygnets with their parents.
More shelducks. It almost felt like you were in the countryside.
Despite getting crook, it was a really lovely. So awesome that I had to go back home to my parents house so I could tell the nephew about it. He was just as excited as I was about seeing the banded lapwings. Now my parents are talking about maybe going there with Seth one day. That would be fantastic, he’d love it there. I wouldn’t want to ask a friend in case he gets overwhelmed.
I’m also joining the local field nats club. Big, fantastic day