Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Overlooked Chat

I for one, rather take the White-fronted Chat for granted. They're common enough in suitable habitat, and because of that perhaps we don't give them a second look. At the moment, after considerable rain here in SE Tas. over the last few weeks, they are particularly abundant in some areas. That does raise a question in my mind, exactly where do they all disappear to in the drier times? It does suggest that they may be nomadic, something I hadn't considered before. Prior to the recent rain, there seemed to be surprisingly few in local marshes, apart from an odd pair or family group. But in the last week, in the self same coastal marshes, they've been in their tens, or, as happened at Pipeclay Lagoon recently, they numbered in their hundreds.
One of the things that I've noticed as a result of photographing them on several occasions, is the variation in eye colour. In the two images here, the adult male at the top has a pink eye, whereas the juvenile female at bottom, has a red eye (you may need to click on the image to enlarge it to pick up the colour). The difference is presumably age related, with the eye becoming lighter with age. The White-fronted Chat is the only chat present in Tasmania, but may be found from sea level to the Central Plateau.

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

My daughter (who named our Twitchathon team "The White-fronted Chat-terboxes") thinks this pair is "Cuuuuute".