Sunday, 18 December 2011

Broad-billed Sandpiper @ WTP

Following recent reports of a Broad-billed Sandpiper at the Western Treatment Plant, I went to have a look for myself. Several reports gave fairly specific location details but I was concerned that this could be a needle in a haystack search with so many other small wading birds at the same location. However, with a little homework (a brief perusal of various guidebooks this morning to familiarise myself with the characteristic features) it turned out to be surprisingly easy to find the one individual among the Curlew Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints at Western Lagoon 4. Even better, it was close-by the best viewing area and all the birds were tolerant of three of us standing and watching, allowing for some decent records shots for this lifer for me.

Broad-billed Sandpiper, Western Treatment Plant

While watching and photographing the birds, I commented to one of the other observers that all I wanted now was for a Curlew Sandpiper to come close enough to get the two birds in the same shot for a side-by-side size comparison. No sooner said...

Broad-billed Sandpiper (L) and Curlew Sandpiper (R), Western Treatment Plant

On the way out, I dropped past Ryan's Swamp to find a large flock of Nankeen Night-Herons (approx. 50 birds roosting in various trees at the north-west end of the swamp).

Nankeen Night-Heron, Western Treatment Plant

On departing the plant, I had just finished locking the gate when a Rufous Songlark landed on a fence and started singing. It was getting quite dark with some threatening clouds overhead but I managed a few shots (albeit with slow shutter speeds and wide open aperture)

Rufous Songlark, Western Treatment Plant

Driving home past Lake Connewarre, I spotted a pair of Brolgas with a half-grown chick in long grass about a hundred metres from the road. I pulled over and leapt from the car with camera in hand in time for one shot of them.

Brolga, Lake Connewarre

One of the adults separated from the others and continued to stay in view for another few minutes.

Brolga, Lake Connewarre


  1. how does one gain access to the WTP for birding? I noted you locked gates in your post above, and wondered if permission to enter is required? I once lived in Werribee for a short time but never knew much about the WTP, certainly never knew it could be such a popular site for birding.

  2. You need a permit and key to get into the WTP. Details can be found at

  3. thanks very much for this info Ian, I tried unsuccessfully to find out by googling, so this is a great help! Hopefully now I can drop by WTP next time I'm in Melbourne, much appreciated! :)


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