|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I took this photo some months ago whilst visiting a place called Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, this is very close to where I live. It is of a Dusky Moorhen. I picked this photo our of two as I liked the way it was showing its tail feathers and wading in the water!|
Scientific name: Gallinula tenebrosa
The Dusky Moorhen is a medium-sized, dark grey-black water bird with a white undertail. It has a red bill with a yellow tip and a red facial shield. Young birds are much duller and browner than adults, with a greenish bill and face shield.
The Dusky Moorhen is found from Indonesia through New Guinea to Australia. It is widespread in eastern and south-western Australia, ranging from Cooktown to eastern South Australia and in the southern corner of Western Australia.
The Dusky Moorhen is found in wetlands, including swamps, rivers, and artificial waterways. It prefers open water and water margins with reeds, rushes and waterlilies, but may be found on grasses close to water such as parks, pastures and lawns.
The Dusky Moorhen feeds in the water and on land on algae, water plants and grasses, as well as seeds, fruits, molluscs and other invertebrates. It will also eat carrion (dead animals) and the droppings of other birds. It does not dive when feeding; its tail is always visible above the water when upended.
During breeding season, the Dusky Moorhen forms breeding groups of two to seven birds, with all members defending territory, building nests and looking after young. The shallow platform nests are made of reeds and other water plants over water, among reeds or on floating platforms in open water. Two or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest and all members of the group help to incubate the eggs and feed the young.
The Laratinga Wetland, constructed in 1999, is a District Council of Mount Barker development, located in Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. The Aboriginal Peramangk peoples' name for the Mt Barker Creek is Laratinga.
The main function of the wetland is to filter "A Class" water from the nearby effluent treatment plant. Effluent from Littlehampton and Mount Barker, with a combined population of around 12000 in 2000 is treated at this plant. With a growing population, the disposal of this treated water became a concern to Council in 1993. For many years the treated water flowed into the Mt Barker Creek, and the impact on the ecology of the creek was becoming an issue. Upgrading of the treatment plant in the late 1990s included plans to build the large artificial wetland to filter the water further and reuse it for local irrigators, parks and gardens. Effluent from nearby Nairne is now being pumped to the effluent treatment plant and through the wetland, bypassing the Nairne oxidation lagoons. This is having obvious benefits on the health of the Nairne Creek. The improvements to the effluent treatment plant including the wetland cost around $5 million.
The wetland has taken several years to resemble a natural ecosystem. Landscaping design with the use of indigenous plant species has encouraged birds to utilise the wetland. Migrating birds utilise the safe island habitats. A food forest for Cockatoos has encouraged Cockatoos including the Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo back to the area. Several species of indigenous fish will be introduced to the wetland in the future.
Information about the wetlands came from the Mt Barker Council site.
Information about the Moorhen came from
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Hope you like it! Thanks for looking and for your comments and critiques. Cheers Tina :-)
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