Little Visits: A Morning in the Western Treatment Plant

Due to an odd arrangement of circumstances, that would take several blog pages to cover and even more to wend the pieces together, we had decided on a trip to the Western Treatment Plant. (WTP)
What, of couse, was not in the “How to do it” manual was control of the weather.

Grandson “+D4” was staying over and t’was the only day avaible. For those interested “+D4” comes as an ‘Addition’ to the “3D’s” fabled for their “Dawdling” while on car-convoy on such trips to the WTP.

We picked up the usual Coffee-to-Go from our local and hit the highway. (Mr An Onymous, has a theory that in future times, sociologists and archeologists will conclude that ‘hit the road’ had some quasi-spiritualistic meaning and that the poor deluded ancients would go out and hit the road with their hand expecting some mystical experience—but— I digress)

The overcast, rain and high winds did not digress. Nor did they ease off. I may have mentioned before, that I can deal with the poor light and the rain at the WTP, but not the wind. It just makes getting out of IamGrey and standing in the open a truly harrowing experience and one that even the best of birds seems avoid at all costs. For those that might venture there, the track in the “Special Section” that was out along the beach area and barely passable with 2WD is now eroded to the point of being 4WD only.

So we had a fairly quiet trip about the plant. Good news is the roads are in very good condition and the closure has allowed several areas to be graded and topped and the drive experience improved no end.

We had hoped that White-winged Black Terns might have returned by now, but if so we didn’t get a sighting. The weather changes seem to have altered the plans of many returning migrants so far this season.

So as the blog is more now about the photos of the day, and less about the babble, here tis.
Enjoy

This is part of the coastal road at the Plant. Normally it is accessible by 2WD, but now 4WD and low tide are the recommendation. Erosion is quite evident. We retreated.
A small selection of Pied Oystercatchers hunkering down on a sandspit out of the wind.
This beautiful Goose has been on its own for at least 12 months, but has remained faithful to the area. I’m sure it doesn’t recognise me, but each time we go past its territory, I stop and we exchange a few head-bobs and it goes back to feeding.

I’m pretty certain it has lost its mate, the pair used to be quite the regulars in the area and nested over several seasons. For its own reasons it hasn’t ventured away to find a new mate.
Female White-fronted Chat. They seem to take extraordinary care about returning to the nest with food, and will spend many minutes checking everything out before deposting the food.
One of a pair of Brolga that were working in the T-Section
He is returning to see how things are going with his nesting mate. I’m sure that is a Swan smile
I saw the nest from the other side of the pond and we drove round for a clearer view. This clever lass was taking no chances and had built her nest in the very middle of quite a deep pond and it seems to have paid off with a lovely set of matching cygnets.
By early afternoon, the wind, the cold and the rain has gotten the best of the best of us, and we made one forlorn loop around the Western Lagoon area. Surprisingly we spotted a pair of Brolga with two quite large well developed juveniles in tow. Well worth the extra few minutes and the tired and exhausted among us were quick to respond to the opportunity. The birds seemed quite relaxed and in no hurry to go anywhere, but big long legs quickly carried them across the ponds.
Quite well developed. I’m not sure if they are fledged, but that normally takes around 3-4 months. Which just shows how silly Uncle Google can be, as I’ve seen figures of 2-3 weeks, which are impossible. They stay with the parents for nearly 12 months until the next breeding cycle.
Here is an intersting factsheet on Brolga on Farms.
For bonus points we called in to see the Hobbys on the way home. This one is now just about a ‘brancher’ and no doubt days from flight. The nest is festooned in discared down.
All tucked up secure. Three little Wagtails about a week old.

7 thoughts on “Little Visits: A Morning in the Western Treatment Plant

  1. A splendid set of images from a day of unfavourable weather, story of the last eight months!
    Lovely to see! Particularly great to see the young Brolgas!
    Hopefully your next visit will be a 24° day with a gentle zephyr and sunshine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, we nearly missed the Brolga. Spur of the moment to turn onto the Western Lagoons. Everybody else wanted lunch! (Can’t understand why!!!)
      At least its not constant wind/rain for days, so the small birds are nesting successfully

      Like

    1. Hi Eleanor, it is a bit sad. I do despair a bit when I see it. But it has stuck to the area. I’ve no idea of their mating habits, but suspect that this one is going to remain single. It could easily fly the 20km down to the Serendip and there are plenty of Geese in the Lara waterways.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow David what an amazing find in such adverse birding conditions, real blessings for sure, and the juvenile Brolga a super bonus. Loved seeing your White-fronted Chat, a bird we never see here. I hope your grandie appreciated the experience. You certainly got bonus points. We have two of our grandies from different families coming next week for a few days and looking forward to a birding outing, as they know it will be included in the events package. One grandson who spends his life in his room and is quite the perfect genius nerd gets excited when he comes saying “I love going on your adventures Pa !”. There is hope for our next generations yet. Enjoy your week and time with your Grandie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, Getting a Chat that close is a bit of a bonus, no doubt it had a nest close by. They can sit for 10-15 minutes and then fly to another spot and sit again. Very furtive.
      +D4 is quite a good photographer in his own right. The gene pool from EE also gives him exceptional eyesight and the abilty to spot opportunities.
      Hard to travel with two of them 🙂 Us mere mortals don’t have much chance.
      Glad your younguns love being out. I think sometimes it just needs a little of the right encougement.
      I know Jon Young has a story in his book of a young lad that didn’t want any part of going out and sitting, and by the end of the week, he was going early and staying late as he now had been given the skills to find things in the forest.

      Liked by 1 person

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