Birdwatching in Wagga Wagga

Native Orchids in Livingstone National Park, Autumn Edition
May 21, 2010, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Flora | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Livingstone National Park has been logged, mined for gold, tin and wolframite, and used as a bombing range. And yet it is almost certainly the best-preserved area of remnant vegetation in the vicinity of Wagga. It was finally gazetted (as Livingstone National Park and Nature Reserve) in 2001. In 2006, the southern end (adjacent to the locality of Burrandana) was declared a State Conservation Area.

The park is apparently home to 20 or more species of orchid. Nine spring-flowering species were documented in this earlier post. PlantNET lists four further spring-flowering species (Caladenia dimorpha, C. phaeoclavia, Pterostylis mutica and Thelymitra ixioides) in the park. The management plan lists another four species: the greenhoods Pterostylis curta and Pterostylis longifolia, the ruddyhood Pterostylis pusilla and the tiny finger orchid Caladenia mentiens. Additionally, four species of autumn-flowering orchid are known from the park. These are profiled here.

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Eriochilus cucullatus is a tiny, delicate and inconspicuous species. Each plant may carry up to five flowers, though most have only one or two. It has been recorded from the both the northern and southern sections of the park, and also from Murraguldrie Flora Reserve.

This identification is tentative. Genoplesium is a large genus, but G. rufum is the only species listed by PlantNET for the NSW South-West Slopes bioregion. This species is extremely variable. Its colouration runs the gamut from deep purple-black to mostly green with reddish or brownish tips to the lateral sepals (as in this case). Some debate exists as to whether Genoplesium rufum constitutes a single species or a complex of related varieties. The flowers on this particular specimen have closed for the year.

The Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora complex accounts for almost a dozen species, subspecies or varieties of orchid. The variety found at Livingstone (assuming there is only one) may be the one referred to in Bishop’s 1996 field guide (currently out of print) as Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Large Red-brown). Complicating this identification is the fact that many plants were found to have seven or eight flowers, whereas Bishop claims that Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Large Red-brown) only rarely has more than six. Another variety it resembles commonly has up to eight flowers, but is known only from the Melbourne, Victoria area (designated by Bishop as Pterostylis sp. aff. parviflora (Eastern Melbourne)).

Tthe genus Speculantha has been proposed to distinguish the tiny greenhoods from the larger species, like the one below.

Another complicated identification. Pterostylis falcata is not recognised by Bishop and does not have an entry in PlantNET’s Flora of New South Wales. Nevertheless it is the only autumn-flowering greenhood that comes up in a PlantNET search for the flora of the Wagga Wagga LGA. (That list is not complete, however)

This species is extremely common in Livingstone National Park, often occuring in colonies of up to thirty plants. These colonies are composed of plants at varying stages of maturity. Younger and older flowers often take on unusual shapes:

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Coming soon: posts on Nest Hill Nature Reserve and Plum Pudding Hill TSR and a series of posts on common urban and suburban birds of Wagga.


2 Comments so far
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Nice website, very professional, great photos, a wealth of bird info for the local area. I use to camp at Livingstone as a kid with my father and we would study the wildflowers and birds there. Couldn’t believe the change at the former scouthall when I took my family out there a few years ago. I have only just returned to bird watching and a recent spotting was a female dollarbird at Collins Park. I hadn’t seen one in years in the Wagga area. I don’t know if you want to share but who are you? Great work.

Comment by Michael Nugent

I saw a couple of dollarbirds over summer, so maybe they’re moving back in. Their distribution seems to vary year by year.

I’ve just moved back to Wagga after a few years in Canberra, so almost everything I know about Wagga’s birds comes from the last year or so. I’m certainly no expert.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any interesting sightings to report, feel free to leave a comment.

Comment by wwdavid

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