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THE BIRDS OF LARATINGA

Bob Snell

Introduction

Laratinga Wetlands were constructed for the cleaning of treated sewerage effluent and stormwater. The cleaned water is used for the irrigation of local market gardens, parks and recreation areas. Laratinga occupies approximately 20 hectares of land previously used for grazing cattle, and bounded by Mount Barker Effluent Treatment Works, Springs Road, Bald Hills Road and the Mount Barker Creek (Laratinga). Excavation and construction was completed and flooding commenced in mid 2000. It consists of a series of eleven interconnected ‘ponds’. Treated effluent enters the wetlands at Pond 1 (my naming) and the cleaned water pumped to irrigators from Pond 11. Pond 2 and Pond 3 are connected via an underground pipe, and a creek or channel takes water from Pond 7 to Pond 8.

The area around the ponds has been revegetated with a large variety of trees, shrubs and herbs thought to have been native to this area prior to white settlement. These plantings are quite dense, and many of the trees have now reached heights of four to five metres. As these plantings mature the nature and variety of the bird population changes. In the early days of Laratinga Wetlands Black-fronted Dotterel and Masked Lapwing were a common sight on the gravel paths surrounding the ponds; now one is more likely to see Superb Fairy-wren, Common Blackbird and White-plumed Honeyeater. The ponds have been planted with Common Reed, Narrow-leaf Bulrush, Bolboshoenus, Loose-flower Rush and River Eel-grass. There are many mature Red Gums within the wetlands.

Laratinga cannot be considered in isolation from its surroundings. Birds constantly move between the Wetlands, the Effluent Lagoons and the surrounding paddocks. For the purposes of this report the Wetlands, Effluent Lagoons and Mount Barker Creek are considered as a single unit.

Between October 2000 and April 2006 I kept records of the birds seen during seventy visits to Laratinga. Details of the ninety-six species that I recorded in that period are listed in Table 1. An additional eight species reported to me by other observers are shown in Table 2.

View Laratinga Map.

Table 1

Bird Species Recorded at Laratinga Wetlands, Mount Barker, during 70 visits between October 2000 and April 2006
Freq = Number of visits out of 70 on which species was recorded
Breed ? = Probable but not proven
  Common Name Scientific Name Freq Breed Notes
1 Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis 1   1, 24/12/2003, Pond 11
2 Musk Duck Biziura lobata 1   1, 15/11/2001, Pond 11 (Birds SA Field Trip)
3 Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa 14   1, 30/6/02 to 4/7/2002; 5, 30/7/2002; 4+ from 8/12/2002 to 21/2/2003 with max of 11 on 9/2/2003.
4 Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata 54 B First record October 2000
5 Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa 63 B First record October 2000
6 Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis 62   First record October 2000
7 Grey Teal Anas gracilis 64 B First record October 2000
8 Chestnut Teal Anas castanea 60   First record October 2000
9 Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus 29   Frequently seen on Wetlands to mid 2002. Generally present on Effluent Lagoons
10 Hardhead Aythya australis 63   First record October 2000
11 Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae 62 B First record December 2000
12 Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus 61 B First record October 2000
13 Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1   1, 21/2/2003, Pond 7
14 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 43   A max count of 15 birds seen resting in dead trees on island in Pond 11 17/2/2006.
15 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 1   1, 15/11/2001.
16 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1   1, 15/9/2001
17 White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae 38   First record October 2000
18 Great Egret Ardea alba 1   1, 12/3/2006, Pond 11
19 Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca 29   First record October 2000
20 Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis 16   First record October 2000
21 Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia 1   1, 25/4/2006
22 Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes 3   1, 15/11/2001; 1, 3/4/2002; 1 11/3/2005
23 Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris 22 ? First record October 2000
24 Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus 1   1, 12/2/2002
25 Wedge-tailed Eagle 1Aquila audax 1   1 flew over 15/11/2001
26 Brown Falcon Falco berigora 1   1, 12/3/06. Mobbed by a flock of approximately 150 Little Corellas.
27 Australian Hobby Falco longipennis 2   1, 25/12/2000; 1 9/2/2003; 20/4/2006 (Birds SA Field Trip)
28 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 2   1, 11/1/2002; 1, 29/1/2006 (Birds SA Field Trip)
29 Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides 15 ? First record May 2001
30 Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis 1   1, 20/3/2006, Pond 6
31 Lewin’s Rail Dryolimnas pectoralis 1   1, 13/3/2006, Pond 5
32 Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla 15 B A maximum of 4 seen on pond 9 on 26/1/2006.
33 Australian Spotted Crake Porzana fluminea 46 B A chick seen on Pond 9 on 29/1/2006 (Birds SA Field Trip)
34 Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis 2   1, 11/5/2002 Pond 9; 1, 17/2/2006 Pond 4; 1, 20/4/2006 Pond 4
35 Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio 20 B First record November 2001
36 Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa 52 B  
37 Black-tailed Native-hen Gallinula ventralis 42   First record October 2000
38 Eurasian Coot Fulica atra 61 B First record October 2000
39 Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii 1   1, 22/2/2006 Pond 7
40 Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos 5   Single birds seen 6/9/2002, 8/12/2002 and 20/12/2004, 2 present on 16/2/2004. All recorded on Pond 7.
41 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata 1   1, 15/9/2001 seen on ‘Swamp’
42 Black-fronted Dotterel Charadrius melanops 46 ? First record October 2000
43 Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus 34   First record September 2001
44 Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles 56 B First record October 2000
45 Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae 1   1, 29/1/2002
46 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 6   1 seen on ‘Swamp’ 15/9/2001; 2 present on Pond 11 from 17/8/2002 until 21/9/2002.
47 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 1   1, 21/2/2003; 1, 20/4/2006 on Effluent lagoon.
48 Caspian Tern Sterna caspia 1   1 flew over Wetlands 18/9/2002
49 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 1   1 hawking over Effluent Lagoons, 21/9/2002
50 Rock Dove Columba livia 59 B First record October 2000
51 Spotted Turtle-Dove Streptopelia chinensis 1   First seen on 14/1/2006. Now regular.
52 Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera 3   A single bird present during May and June 2005. Now regular.
53 Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes 33   First record October 2000
54 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus 6   First record December 2001
55 Galah Cacatua roseicapilla 59 ? First record October 2000
56 Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris 5   First reported sighting by David Vincent in October 2001.
57 Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea 25   Large flock of approx 500 birds arrived in area late 2005.
58 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita 4    
59 Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus 7    
60 Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna 16 B  
61 Purple-crowned Lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala 1   4 perched on boardwalk on 30/12/2005.
62 Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans 60 ? First record October 2000
63 Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius 14   Frequent to Sept 2002. Since then uncommon.
64 Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus 43 ? First record October 2000
65 Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus 1   1, 23/9/2001
66 Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis 1   1, 15/11/2001 (Birds SA Field Trip)
67 Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae 10    
68 Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus 4 B First record October 2005. Now Regular
69 Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus 27 B First record October 2000
70 Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata 27   First record October 2000
71 Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala 45 B First record October 2000
72 White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus 36   First record October 2000
73 New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae 3 &nbs; Uncommon until October 2005. Now regular
74 Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii 1   1, 21/5/2001
75 Flame Robin Petroica phoenicea 1   1, 7/5/2003
76 Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica 1   First recorded 20/4/2006
77 Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca 63 B First record October 2000
78 White-winged Triller Lolage tricolor 1   1 female 17/10/2004. A male was seen at around the same time by K A Williams (pers com)
79 Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa 1   1, 20/4/2006. (Birds SA Field Trip)
80 Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys 46 ? First record October 2000
81 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae 16    
82 Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen 58 ? First record October 2000
83 Little Raven Corvus mellori 43   First record October 2000
84 Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus 6    
85 House Sparrow Passer domesticus 43   First record October 2000
86 European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis 16   First record October 2000
87 European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris 1   1, 21/5/2001
88 Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena 60   First record October 2000
89 Tree Martin Hirundo nigricans 31 B First record October 2000
90 Fairy Martin Hirundo ariel 1   A flock of approximately 50, hawking over channel between Ponds 7 and 8. (Date not available)
91 Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus 41 B First record September 2001
92 Little Grassbird Megalurus gramineus 43 B First record May 2001
93 Rufous Songlark Cincloramphus mathewsi 1   1, 15/11/2001 (Birds SA Field Trip)
94 Common Blackbird Turdus merula 12 ? Uncommon until late 2005, now regular.
95 Silvereye Zosterops lateralis 1   1, 20/4/2006. (Birds SA Field Trip)
96 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 53 ? First record October 2000

Table 2

Additional species recorded for Laratinga
Species Observer
Black Swan Cygnus atratus K A Williams (pers com)
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus K A Williams (pers com)
White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica K A Williams (pers com)
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus Chris Thomas, (via Birdpedia)
Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrhocephalus  
Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus Chris Thomas (Via Birdpedia)
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops K A Williams (pers com)
Jacky Winter Microeca fascinans K A Williams (pers com)


References

Laratinga Wetlands Development Information Package. Laura Phipps. District Council of Mount Barker. August 2000.

 
 

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