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Malandeni - Ladysmith Sewage Works

Modified: 2010/07/29 15:24 by guygibbon - Categorized as: Kwazulu Natal
Malandeni, the Ladysmith sewerage works, lies on the eastern side of town, and is best known for the number of rallids that are found there. Eurasian Bittern, although very elusive and hard to find, is occasionally recorded. More than 230 species of birds have been recorded at the works and we record more than 80 species in a couple of hours when we start off here on “Birding Big Day”.

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Specials

Baillon's Crake, African Rail, African Crake, Little Bittern and a wide selection of warblers.

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Habitat

The variety of habitats add to the number of species found here. The total area is 50Ha which comprises of maturation ponds, surrounding flooded areas which are encircled by typha, some sedge, leersia grass, some open shoreline, sheltered open water patches, exposed mud patches and flooded grassy areas.

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Facilities

There are no facilities at present.The works are locked after hours and often over weekends.

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Birding

1. Look out for Gabar Goshawk as you enter the gate as they breed in this area. There is a gate on your left about 50 metres into the works which is not locked which will give access to the pond on the left. Negotiations are taking place re the building of a hide in this area. In spring and early summer the bank between this patch of water and the far flooded side is very rewarding with many species of duck, heron, egret, African Spoonbill and if you stand still long enough African Rail or Baillon's Crake could appear. Allen's Gallinule are sometimes seen clambering up the reeds. This bank, as the season progresses becomes less and less accessible as the thistles become so big that one cannot walk down here. There is a gate at the other end of this bank which is normally locked. The small concrete dam here has up to a dozen African Black Duck at times. Look out for Black-crowned Night-Heron which skulk in the typha in this area. Little Bittern are regularly flushed. Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher are regularly seen on this pond.

2. Beyond this pond, past the tanks is a small flooded area which often has Baillon's Crake in the shallow water. Glossy Ibis feed here and Striped Crake has been seen. As you walk down next to the big pond listen out for Sedge Warbler in summer. Look carefully whenever you encounter shallow water, particularly when you see or hear moorhen, Hottentot Teal or Three-banded Plover as these are often found together with Baillon's Crake. Listen out for Red-chested Flufftail and the harsh “kek kek kek” call of Little Bittern. Greater Painted-snipe are sometimes found in this area. The dams at the end normally have African Jacana on the flooded grass. Eurasian Bittern has been recorded from all sections of the works and does not confine itself to any specific area.

3. There are a few small dams near a steel structure if one heads across the kikuyu where a number of waders can be found. This is always worth visiting.

4. To get to the far side of the works, drive to the gate and head toward the railway lines and turn right on the dirt road. Look out for African Crake along this stretch of road, either on the road or close to it. I have actually seen them walking down the railway line. Turn right and follow your nose until you reach the far pond which is surrounded by sedge. This area is quite isolated and I would not recommend visiting this side unless you are in a group. Look out for African Crake in summer in the grass near the water. African Snipe are common in this area and depending on the amount of mudflats waders can be numerous. Black Heron have become regular visitors.

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General

To get to the works from either Murchison or Lyell St, turn east into Princess St, cross the river on the new bridge, turn left into Kandahar Ave and take the first right which is Madras Rd. Go across the first four-way stop and across the second and the road now becomes Main Rd. Cross the railway lines and turn left into Circle Rd. Follow your nose until the double railway line. The entrance to the works is about 150 metres ahead.

Ken Gordon 2001.




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