Sunday, 21 August 2011

Crake hunt at the WTP

There have been many reports of crakes and rails at the Western Treatment Plant in recent weeks (mostly while I was overseas). Today was my first opportunity to get there and see for myself. I arrived early at the bird hide (where most of the previous success had been) and watched and waited. Heard lots of crakish sounds (mostly Australian Spotted but one Spotless calling as I arrived) but only teasing glances as several Australian Spotted Crakes and Buff-banded Rails ran across the road or from one bush to another but did not stay still long enough for even a record shot. All was not lost though as there was lots of activity among the small saltmarsh birds:

White-browed Scrubwren, Bird Hide, Western Treatment Plant
Silvereye,  Bird Hide, Western Treatment Plant
Superb Fairy-wren, Bird Hide, Western Treatment Plant
Little Grassbird, Bird Hide, Western Treatment Plant
and some opportunities to practice my birds in flight:

Australian Pelican, Western Treatment Plant
Australian White Ibis, Western Treatment Plant

A very pleasant two hours but time to go and look for some wading birds. There have been reports of early arrivals of migratory waders at the new Western Lagoon so I headed back there via Paradise Road where there was a large flock of Red-necked Avocets feeding in the ponds just near Gate 8 and a few were quite close to the road. Unfortunately the sun was behind them and because they were so close I was shooting hand-held out of the car window through reeds but a reasonable record shot.

Red-necked Avocet, Western Treatment Plant

At Western Lagoon 4, I found many Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers, mostly too far away for any good photographs but this individual did cooperate for a few minutes.

Curlew Sandpiper, Western Lagoons, Western Treatment Plant


  1. a great place to observe birds, I hope to get there in the next couple of days. Hope to see some rails and crakes which I have never seen before, but high on my list is that red necked avocet.

  2. Hi Wampy, the Avocets should be easy at either Western Lagoons or the ponds at the end of Paradise Road. Crakes and Rails can be heard easily at the Bird Hide but it takes a bit of luck and patience to see them.
    Good luck.


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