Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sign of Things to Come?......Pied Oystercatcher
Returning from Granton recently, I decided to look in at Montrose Bay at Rosetta, a northern Hobart suburb. I was primarily interested in looking for the Little Black Cormorant that usually roost on the small wooden jetty (now condemned), together with Great and Little Pied Cormorant. And indeed I found all 3 on the jetty, enjoying what I suspect is a brief respite before the jetty is demolished, as there's a new, all concrete one, a short distance away. But my interest turned to the flock of around 50 Pied Oystercatchers, feeding on the grassed area behind the yacht club. I've found them in this area before, feeding on the nearby, well manicured and watered playing fields of the local school. But as they were being mown, the oystercatchers were making the most of the public area, only 20 or 30 metres away from one of the state's busiest highways, the 'Brooker". I was intent on getting a few shots of them as they fed, but not too close as to flush them, which proved fairly easy, despite the to'ing and fro'ing of cars and people to the nearby children's play area. I walked back to my car, noting a few oystercatchers roosting on the grass near the yacht club, one of which flew up onto the roof of a nearby building, joining a few loafing Silver Gulls. That at least I hadn't noted before, and wondered whether the POs regularly use this roof to roost on, particularly at times when this council recreation area is in full swing. That would certainly be unusual, and well worth looking out for. The use by Pied Oystercatchers of grassed areas to feed, often well away from their usual haunts, as in this case, appears to be a fairly recent change of habit. I've also noted them feeding on grassed areas at Dover, Gordon and Franklin. Perhaps with sea levels rising, this will become the norm amongst our oystercatcher population, and regularly choosing to roost on roofs inevitable.