Monday, 21 April 2008

Werribee

In autumn we don't call it 'smog', or 'pollution'. We call it smoke haze. And this week the smoke haze is particularly bad because farmers are burning the stubble, and DSE is burning the bush so that we aren't so threatened by bush fires next summer and Aussie bush and grassland needs a regular burn anyway. We're not getting any rain or wind, so conditions are perfect for a burn. But no wind also means that the smokes hangs around.

Yesterday I went to the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee to do a bit of birdwatching. Sounds a bit ordinary when I write it like that, but all birdwatchers will immediately know that I've had a fantastic day. It's one of the best experiences, and even better because of the calm weather. Our telescopes weren't waving about in the wind! And my hat stayed on my head. Best birds were White-winged Black Terns in full breeding plumage flying over Little River, a group of Glossy Ibis shining in the sunlight, several Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage, a male Flame Robin on a fence post, etc etc. Werribee sewerage treatment ponds are indeed the 'Kakadu of the south'.

From the bird hide at the coast you can normally look out into Port Phillip Bay. But not yesterday. Because of the smoke haze there was no horizon so the birds in the water appeared to be floating in the sky. It was truly beautiful, and I was wishing I owned an SLR to take full advantage for the 'perfect' shot. But, in lieu of that, this is one I took on my little Sony.

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