Thursday, December 01, 2016

Western Treatment Plant

Our first outing in Melbourne was to the Western Treatment Plant (WTP) for a day of bird watching. Well, that was the plan, but it took some effort.

This facility is a place where sewage is processed into gray water for use in the surrounding farms and industries. Lots of settling ponds and the like. It is a very large parcel of land and includes a working farm and lots of wetlands. Seems like a great place. The catch is that you cannot simply go and look for birds. You must get a permit and akey to get though the gates. We checked on the web and found out where the office is locations and headed over for a quick pay-the-deposit-and-go. It didn't work out that way.

The gps guided us to an address near the one we wanted and we ended up in a shopping center. Wrong. then we tried closer to the place it seemed to be. Wrong. then we went to another spot. After a bit of searching, we found it. Yeah! We went in and spoke to the receptionist. We were in the wrong place. The registration of birders now happens at a different office. However, she was a great help and made lots of phone calls for us and got us pointed in the right direction.

So, we drove to the office at the WTP and found a staff that was very helpful. We went in and got the full training about the plant and our rights and responsibilities. We paid our deposit for a key and got our laminated pass. Finally, we were off the see a bird. It was now about 1:30.

Once in, we drove along a road surrounded by water. Cruising in our ute, we were in a comfortable place and then they appeared! More flying insects than ou can imagine. There was no thought of opening a window. They were neither flies nor mosquitoes. There just lots of them.

As we continued to drive (what else could we do?) they gradually subsided and it was safe to open a window to look outside.

We saw old friends like this Crested Dove and new twists on familar faces. Below is the female Superb Fairy Wren.

And there is Eurasian Sparrow (aka the House Sparrow). This one is a male.

Not too bad for a first outing that took all day to get started. We'll be back for more fun again.