Western Treatment Plant morning adventure

Mr An Onymous and I had been talking about a morning visit.  We have the same general thought, that the lighting is much better for photography early in the morning down there, because of the position of the sun along the east west roads.

The idea being to drive the the east end of the plant early, and then make our way back slowly stopping as necessary and with the light behind us, the colour and detail should, all other things being considered, better.  Of course, the birds don’t know about this seemingly brilliant scheme, and continue to be, well, birds.

The big sticking point in the idea is ‘Getting up early in the morning”.  To work successfully we’d like to be down there as close to sunup as possible.  (there are some limitations by Melb Water on what time we can get in, but as Daylight saving is behind us as they say, its not such a big deal). Getting on to the Western Ringroad and going with the traffic flow, however is another thing and we need to leave home ‘early’ which does put undue strain on the old body. Trust me.

The second sticking point is that as we swing in off Point Wilson road and begin the journey along Paradise Road, that we are driving into the sun. Hard on the driver.  Then.

Someone says,  Oh, look over there, its a ….. and of course we need to stop to look, and take photos and the idea of getting to the other end of the plant is rapidly deteriorating into shreds of it former self.

At the moment, there are quite a number of Raptors in the area.  Whistling Kites in large numbers, plenty of Swamp Harriers and Brown Falcons. Not to mention the Black-shouldered Kite, and more.

We found a Black-shouldered Kite on a post, consuming a recent kill. It probably was  Pipit, the few brown feathers and the longer toes pointed that way. But it devoured the whole thing in 1 min and 21 sec, (I checked the times on the camera frames).  I was a bit taken aback, as I was under the impression they were very much a mouse eater, and very little else. This one obviously had not read the field guide!

On a small mudflat among the bushes near the beach, I was sitting on some grass photographing Red-kneed Dotterels, I was just about to make another move closer to the water’s edge, when down the mud flat tripped Foxy Locksy. This was a most handsome and healthy looking animal.  I know. They are feral. I know they create a huge amount of damage. I also know from the activities in the Woodland Historic Park Bandicoot programme, that simply outlawing them doesn’t stop them, and using all the high tech equipment in the world, and working with the best of professionals doesn’t eradicate them. What I didn’t expect was the barrage of comments when I posted the image on Flickr. So thought I’d put it up here too. Just because I can.

We eventually headed down to the Murtcaim outflow, otherwise know as the Spit, or the Western Lagoons, and to our amazement, we found the Four Brolgas that have been reported a number of times down there.  Now, this was a first, for me, to see, and to photograph.  We soon discovered they had no intention of making it easy, and would loft into the air at the first possible moment if we looked like we might approach. None the less with them on their bund and we on our side, we did manage a few worthwhile shots, and Mr O even got some very suitable inflight images.  My in-flight  with the 500mm can only be described as ‘dismal’.  It’s just too heavy.  However, I am pondering a Gimbal type head and that will give me a bit better edge on working with the long lens.  Time will tell.

Whistling Kite enjoying the early morning air. The off shore wind gave them a chance to waft along the edges of the water with little effort
Whistling Kite enjoying the early morning air. The off shore wind gave them a chance to waft along the edges of the water with little effort
Black-shouldered Kite at work in the paddock. It was not having to work too hard as the wind was in its favour. Ours too as the light fell on to the bird.
Black-shouldered Kite at work in the paddock. It was not having to work too hard as the wind was in its favour. Ours too as the light fell on to the bird.
Said Kite with results from hunt.  It appeared to be a Pipit, as the feathers were the first go.  I just couldn't get high enough to have the bird completely against the saltbush backdrop.
Said Kite with results from hunt. It appeared to be a Pipit, as the feathers were the first go. I just couldn’t get high enough to have the bird completely against the saltbush backdrop.
Pelican on a tight turn into the wind. It gave such a nice wing spread.
Pelican on a tight turn into the wind. It gave such a nice wing spread.
The Ultimate Survivor.  Foxy Locksy came tripping down the mud flat while I was sitting in the grass photographing Red-kneed Dotterels.
The Ultimate Survivor. Foxy Locksy came tripping down the mud flat while I was sitting in the grass photographing Red-kneed Dotterels.

 

An adult and juvenile Brolga. The first I've even seen or photographed. Worth the time down, just for this. The elegance of the birds movements are something that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
An adult and juvenile Brolga. The first I’ve even seen or photographed. Worth the time down, just for this. The elegance of the birds movements are something that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

 

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2 thoughts on “Western Treatment Plant morning adventure

  1. David, thanks for this fascinating report so well documented with great shots. It makes me feel like taking a day off ASAP and driving there at the break of dawn.
    I saw brolgas in the wild only once in NT and too far to photograph. I’d love to see them in Werribee.
    The photo of Mr. Foxy Locksy is really beautiful and his gaze is simply hypnotic.
    Looking forward to your reading of your next adventures,
    Adam

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    1. G.day,

      thanks for the supportive comments Adam, it was a good day, and the weather was pretty nice to us on average. The Brolgas were a treat. I think I have a new fascination.
      Its nice to have a plan to get to the Borrow Pit area early, but oh so hard for us to actually do it. So many interesting things along the way.
      Good luck

      Like

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