Funny old thing is Serendipity

“the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”

The weather map showed a large high stalled over us for most of the day.  “Let’s do an evening at the Western Treatment Plant”, saith, I. “We could take down the picnic, and have a fine old evening watching the sunset over the bay, and maybe photograph a few birds, and well, just enjoy the evening sea breeze.  What thinkest thou?”.

A call to Mr An Onymous, and the famed, and legendary “Blackmobile” was on the highway loaded with his fine repast. EE and I decided on a Peri-Peri Chicken Salad, and a round of Earl of Grey.

Pied Oystercatcher
Pied Oystercatcher


Late afternoon and we entered the Kirk Point area, the road here is now halfway decent, and inspite of the efforts to control the 4WD people, we noted several places where the need to ‘get off road’, had taken over.  At the Kirk Point turnaround area, we planned on an afternoon tea, but as it turned out, an juvenile Australasian Gannet, resting in on the rocks took up most of the time.  This is a very young bird and must have flown— well let’s face it folks, it didn’t walk or swim to that location!— in with a parent bird, I’d suspect.

We took a trip down along the beach road past Lake Borrie, and there were thousands of waders at work on the outgoing tide.  Mostly Red-necked Stints, a surprising number of Curlew Sandpipers, and next to no Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.  And a few Common Greenshanks, and my wader id fails dismally after that.

Next stop was along the Little River and as Mr A opened the Gate to the upper area, EE exclaimed, “Look a Sea-eagle going over the river”,  now, this probably was true. And sure enough there it was, a White-bellied Sea-eagle going over the river. Mind, going over the river for EE is easy to see up to several hundred kilometres,  for the males standing there, going, “Where????”, it’s not quite as easy.
And then.  Oh, yes, there it is, going over the river, that tiny tiny dot, just disappearing below and reappearing above the reedbeds  half way back to Werribee.   Still it was heartening to know that it was in the area.

In the next breath, I spotted a white shape in the Japan Tree, (a tree I’ve featured many times here before), so I offered, “Instead of wasting a single pixel enlargement of that bird, why don’t we go and photograph the one in the Japan Tree”.  Blank looks for your photo colleagues is not very encouraging.

So without further discussion we motored on in fine fashion toward said tree, and found, yes, would you believe it, said Sea-eagle, sitting on said branch.  All’s well.

Mr An Onymous offered one of  his technical secret tricks for sneaking up on a Sea-eagle.  “Park the car on the upside of the road, near the fence,’ Says he.  “Aye,” Says I.

And the bird stayed.  Well done Mr A. Mark that up as a theory that is supportable by evidence.

Of course EE and Mr A were well out of the car, and filling up memory card space, and as I settled the lens on the door and began to egress, the eagle, growing tired perhaps of all the attention, threw.  Right behind the open door of the car. Result. Bird 1 Me, 0.  I managed to get the car door out of the way, in about a century and a half, by which time said bird was quite the distance beyond the river. But at least I got one inflight shot.


Another sighting of an eagle at the Borrow Pit, but before we could do much, it too had disappeared. Time for that wonderful picnic.

And as we approached the little bridge over the outflow near Little River, there, behind the iron supports on the bride.  Brolga.  And into the sunlight they flew.  Well at least we got a sighting.

Picnic over we made a run to Lake Borrie, to watch the sunset behind pelicans.  And a fine sight it made too.

Talking of serendipitous,  I got a note from WordPress, the venerable publisher of this blog.  They have developed a little plugin for Lightroom which automatically transfers selected images to the blog.

So by courtesy of WordPress, and of course my inquisitive nature to see if it works, (and it does, else this page would not have happened), here are a few images from our adventure.


Juvenile Australasian Gannet. Perhaps waiting for adult to turn up with food.
Juvenile Australasian Gannet. Perhaps waiting for adult to turn up with food.


Juvenile Australasian Gannet


Juvenile Australasian Gannet. Interesting to watch the wings fold up


A small sample of the waders at work along the coast on the outgoing tide
A small sample of the waders at work along the coast on the outgoing tide


Red-necked Stint. So busy feeding they didn't notice our presence.
Red-necked Stint. So busy feeding they didn’t notice our presence.


White-bellied Sea-Eagle at rest on Japan Tree. You'll note that the wings are just starting to lift.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle at rest on Japan Tree. You’ll note that the wings are just starting to lift.


White-bellied Sea-eagle settling down to the business of leaving
White-bellied Sea-eagle settling down to the business of leaving


Brolga in silhouette
Brolga in silhouette

4 thoughts on “Funny old thing is Serendipity

  1. G’day David,
    I really like the first photo of the young gannet – there is some special quality in it I can’t really describe. I did enjoy reading your report from the outing, especially as I had almost gone to the WTP yesterday morning (light traffic over the bridge) but in the last moment decided to follow your instructions how to get to The Office, despite the usual road being closed. I wanted to see the Kingfisher… When I got to the picnic ground the fish were jumping high (it is summertime after all) but no sight of the bird I came to see.
    I know – it all happens on bird terms. I went on over the bridge to check out the noisy Purple-crowned Lorikeets and then I heard the familiar call. And there was my Kingfisher sitting on the tallest branch of Eloise’s tree! No great photos but I was happy anyway. Thanks David!
    I spent another hour walking along the river and on my way back I glimpsed on the old eucalypt tree and, oh wonder – Kingfisher was there, sitting quietly and watching me. Again, no great shots but better than nothing. No sighting of the Kalevs but some vicious Brown Falcon made a break in chasing of little birds and posed for a while on the cyclone fence. Next time it will be WTP, as long as the summertime traffic across Melbourne stays light. Your blog keeps on being my inspiration.


  2. G,Day Adam,

    Now that they have fledged, it seems they are less inclinded for the adults to call, makes finding these little dudes a bit harder, and really stretches the patience.
    Glad you had some success in locating them at least.
    The Black-shouldered Kites moved on very quickly, I think about two weeks from fledging and no sign of them since.
    We have been particularly absent from the Treatment Plant, just too many other things, and honestly, if its not an early morning, or a later afternoon evening, the heat haze just destroys any real moments.

    The waders were full on all the way from the boat ramp on Beach Road right up to the old birdhide. And the new water outlets allow you to get onto the beach without having to brave the tramp through the dense undergrowth. Pick a time when the tide is either out, or coming in. We were lucky to be the outlet where the new bridge has been installed and the activity would have kept us there for hours.


  3. A wonderful outing David, so many waders, beautiful to see, and the sea eagle tops it off. The juvenile gannet looks very young, the ones we see here are immature and brown coloured. Lovely post as always David.


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