Tasmanian parks and wildlife service lavinia nature

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Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (Lavinia Nature Reserve Management Plan 2000). Distribution and Habitat The Australasian Bittern occurs in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, including Ouvea in the Loyalty Islands (Marchant & Higgins 1990). On mainland Australia, the species occurs from south-east Queensland to south-east South Australia, and in the southwest of Western Australia (Marchant & Higgins King Island Biodiversity Management Plan 155
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1990). In Tasmania, the Australasian Bittern was formerly widespread, particularly in the east of the State (Marchant & Higgins 1990), although recent records suggest that the species may now be confined to coastal regions in the northeast of mainland Tasmania. The species also occurs on islands in Bass Strait, including King Island (Marchant & Higgins 1990). The Australasian Bittern has a relatively narrow habitat preference, preferring shallow, vegetated freshwater or brackish swamps (Garnett & Crowley 2000). It favours wetlands with tall dense vegetation, where it forages in still, shallow water up to 0.3 m deep, often at the edges of pools or waterways, or from platforms or mats of vegetation over deep water. If population density is high, the species may resort to open wetlands for nesting, such as in stunted Acacia swamps (Marchant & Higgins 1990). On King Island, the Australasian Bittern has been recorded from five locations including Swan Lagoon, Tathams Lagoon, Lily Lagoon, Manresa Lagoon and Seal Rocks Lagoon (Table 10). All records date from 1978 (Birds Australia, 1977–1981 Birds Atlas data). No Australasian Bitterns were recorded from King Island during the 1998-2003 and during the most recent 2003-2008 Bird Atlas survey (Eric Woehler, pers. comm. 2011), indicating a significant decline has occurred on King Island. This decline is likely to be due to a number of years of exceptionally dry conditions leading to drying out of swamp habitat, and is consistent with the apparent state-wide decline in the species since the early 1980s (E. Woehler, Birds Australia, unpublished data). Populations Data from the last three Birds Atlas surveys by Birds Australia indicate a steady decline in the numbers and distribution of the Australasian Bittern throughout the species' range including Tasmania. The most recent estimate by Birds Australia give a range of 12 to 100 mature individuals for the whole of Tasmania and no recent records from King Island. Habitat critical to the survival of the species All swamp sites where the species has been previously recorded (Table 10) plus other areas of potentially suitable swamp habitat represent critical habitat for the Australasian Bittern on King Island. Reservation Status Nook Swamps reserved within the Lavinia State Reserve. Table 10. Summary of Australasian Bittern records on King Island (source: E. Woehler, Birds Tasmania 2011) Location Tenure NRM region 1:25000 mapsheet Number of nesting birds 1 Swan Lagoon Private Cradle Coast Currie Unknown 2 Tathams Lagoon Conservati on Area Cradle Coast Reekara Unknown 3 Lily Lagoon Nature Reserve Cradle Coast Currie Unknown 4 Seal Rocks State Cradle Stokes Unknown King Island Biodiversity Management Plan 156
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