Several months ago now I visited the Laratinga Wetlands for the morning. I have written a number of articles here over recent weeks about that visit, showing photos of the birds seen in most of those articles. These wetlands consist of about a dozen artificial ponds on the eastern edge of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. This are about a half hour drive south-east of Adelaide, as well as just over a half hour drive west from my home in Murray Bridge. The ponds are actually the sewage works and storm water drainage for the town of Mt Barker. The purified water is later recycled for irrigation on nearby farms.
The wetlands are a wonderful haven for water birds, including ducks, cormorants, ibis, swamphens, coots, grebes, plovers, egrets, herons, reed-warblers and more. The surrounding landscaped picnic areas are also a haven for many bush birds such as honeyeaters, parrots, lorikeets, wrens, pigeons, bronzewings, hawks, kites, falcons, flycatchers and more.
On this most recent visit I took several photos of a male and female Southern Shoveller. Several of these photos are marred by branches or twigs in the way and the only reasonable one is that shown above. Also known as the Australasian Shoveller, this duck is found in suitable habitat throughout the eastern half of Australia, including Tasmania as well as south western parts of Western Australia. It is a species I have not seen all that often, and on those few occasions I have seen it, I usually only see a couple or a small group, never in large numbers.
I have included another photo below. This is of an eclipse plumage bird and was taken last year in one of the wetland areas of the Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo, New South Wales.
The Australian Wood Duck is one of the more common duck species here in Australia. Wherever there are bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, rivers, dams, swamps and wetlands one can often see pairs or small flocks of this species. On many occasions the number can be many dozens up to loose flocks of hundreds if the habitat is suitable.
This species is not restricted to water however. They will also be found far from water, feeding on pastures, grasslands, sports fields and parks. They can be found throughout much of Australia except the extreme drier regions in central Australia.
In the photo below, the female is on the left while the male is on the right. A Purple Swamphen can be seen in the background. The photos were taken at the Laratinga Wetlands near Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.
Over recent posts here on my site I have featured some of the birds I saw and photographed on a recent visit to the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, South Australia. As I have stated before, this is one of my favourite birding places to visit because of the large number and variety of birds present all year on the dozen or so ponds which make up the wetlands. Besides, it is about a half hour drive from my home.
Apart from the ease of getting there, and the good variety of birds, another benefit is being able to access the various ponds via a great network of walking paths. These paths are used daily by hundreds of locals and visitors for walking, running, cycling and birding. From the paths visitors have a great view of the birdlife and this makes photography a delight there. On many occasions the paths themselves afford good photographic opportunities.
A example of this on my most recent visit was a small flock of Red-browed Finches drinking from some puddles on the path. Unfortunately the puddles were in deep shade, and the birds constantly moving, so my shots of them turned out very blurry. You get that.
On the other hand, today’s photos feature several Dusky Moorhens feeding on the grassy verges of one of the paths – and in full sunlight. It made it a little easier to get some photos, but on the downside, they were a little skittish.
Dusky Moorhens are often found near bodies of water like the Laratinga Wetlands and often associate with both Purple Swamphens and Eurasian Coots. They found throughout the eastern half of the Australian mainland as well as SW Western Australia and Tasmania.
A few days ago I featured a Pacific Black Duck I saw at the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker.
Today it is the turn of another common species, the Grey Teal.
This great birding site is just over half an hour’s drive from my home in Murray Bridge here in South Australia. I don’t get to visit often enough. I know of birders who visit this place almost every day. The birding is usually very good with many opportunities for bird photography.
The ponds making up these wetlands have wide tracks along their edges and many locals and visitors use these tracks on a daily basis for walking, cycling and jogging. The adjacent picnic grounds are also very well set out and maintained.
On a recent visit I took these photos of some Grey Teal cruising along across one of the ponds. Many birders and photographers probably overlook this common species. It can be found in many parts of Australia wherever bodies of water exist.
I have seen lakes where there were thousands of these ducks. Just because they are common does not mean that they cannot be photographic. I like the photo above, but the one below is something special, in my opinion. The photo has only been cropped a little and has not been enhanced in any other way.
For more photos and further reading about the birds of Laratinga, click here.
One of the best places for birding near my home is the Laratinga Wetlands on the eastern edge of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It is just over a half hour drive from my home. I have featured birds from this spot on a number of occasions in the past – you can access them by using the search facility above.
While these wetlands are actually the sewage treatment works for the town of Mt Barker, the area is very pleasant and well landscaped. The treated water comes out in the final pond as reusable for local irrigation purposes. The various ponds have wide, flat walking and cycling tracks around them with plenty of seats to rest and just watch the birds. Hundreds of nearby resident use these paths daily for walking, jogging or cycling and many of them also use the barbecue and picnic facilities.
I’m not going to write about the many birds seen here; I will keep that for the coming days. Instead, I am just going to show some photos taken on a recent visit.