Sunday, 1 January 2017


I started 2017 grumpy.  I was forced out of bed half an hour early by Roger's stentorian snoring, only to be confronted by a large unfriendly spider that had taken up residence in the shower recess.  I left home at 5 to 7.  There was no traffic.  I arrived at Leo's supermarket in Kew right on the dot of 7.  Neither of the bread shops was open, but Leo's had a large sign in the window advertising the fact that it opened at 7.  It wasn't open.  The lights were on.  The staff were inside, laughing and joking amongst themselves.  I was outside and the doors were locked.  The jocular staff could see me quite clearly.  I left at ten past 7.  The doors had not opened.  2017 could only improve from here.

I'm pleased to say it did.

My very favourite thing to do on New Year's Day is to go to Werribee.  I'd visited in November and been struck by the small number of birds.  Both waders and ducks were very poorly represented.  I was interested to see whether things had improved.  I'd heard there was a Terek Sandpiper present, and I thought he'd look good on my January list.

Roger and I had a most enjoyable day, despite grey weather, and occasional drizzle.  There were lots of teal and shelducks, and plenty of Red-necked Stints.  We had some good sightings.  Roger's favourite bird of the day was a Buff-banded Rail that stood on the road in front of the car on the river crossing and refused to run away.  My favourite was a Striated Fieldwren on the road to Kirk Point, that sat beside the car and let me admire his beauty for several minutes.  We flushed a Brown Quail on the Point Wilson Road.  There were other good birds too.  The Brolgas were present at the Borrow Pits.  We saw both Little Grassbird and Australian Reed-Warblers at the former crake hot spot in the T-Section.  However, there were no crakes.  Or at least, we didn't see any.
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers

My list of omissions is as interesting as my list of birds seen.  We saw no grebes at all.  We saw no avocets.  We saw no Pink-eared Ducks, no Hardheads, no Blue-bills.  We saw very few raptors, very few cormorants and very few coots.  I saw just two shovelers, and just one Whistling Kite.  And I dipped on the Terek Sandpiper.

However, I repeat, it was a most enjoyable day.  As a friend of mine once quipped, there's no such thing as a bad day at Werribee.

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