White-fronted Chat in NSW

To: "Richard Johnson" <>
Subject: White-fronted Chat in NSW
From: "Allan Morris" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 12:44:01 +1000
Hi Richard,
This is the status of the White-fronted Chat in New South Wales as per your recent enquiry to me.
In 1981, the status in NSW as per Morris, McGill & Holmes 1981 "Handlist of the Birds in New South Wales" NSWFOC, was as follows
"Common. Partial nomad. Eggs June-February and April.
All regions except Northern Tableland. East to Moree, Bingara, Gunnedah, Quirindi and Manning River. Also isolated population at lower Macleay River. Recorded nesting near Kyogle in 1963. Absent from extreme north-west and above 900m *. Mainly low shrublands and grasslands near water."
From information obtained from the NSW Annual Bird Reports since 1981, the situation remains much the same except that the bird has declined in coastal NSW being only present where large tracts of saltmarsh and mangroves remain.  The lower Macleay River, up river to Jerseyville, remains the northernmost coastal limit where they occur in small numbers, less than 10 birds in a group, however they do occur at Lake Cathie, Wallis Lake and the lower Manning River.
South of the Manning resident in numbers up to 28 in Port Stephens near Lemon Tree Passage, 60+ lower Hunter at Kooragang Ash Island, Hexham Swamps, rarely Lake Macquarie (Belmont Lagoon 22/1/95), and rarely Tuggerah Lakes where common up to 1984. Resident populations of c.50 birds at Bicentennial Park-Silverwater NR on Parramatta River, 50+ Towra Point in Botany Bay, small numbers Lake Illawarra, and then at a variety of coastal lakes south to Victoria. Recently recorded at 920 m Lake Jinabyne 23/7/95 (see * above).
The range in inland NSW remains as stated but since 1981 there have been four records in far North-west NSW, viz Nocholeche NR Wanaaring August 1981 & Tongo Lake, Paroo River 3/11/81, 8 Lake Bancannia 4/9/85 and 10+ Fort Grey 16/10/90 so obviously they get there in good seasons; regular and probably resident in the Macquarie Marshes, recorded from Narran Lake in 1992 and on the Central Tablelands at Munghorn Gap and Cowra in recent times. Good numbers on the Southern Tablelands at places like Lake Bathurst. Regularly recorded at other large wetland areas like Fivebough Swamp, Leeton and the Menindee Lakes. Basically associated with large permanent wetlands but in periods of good seaonal conditions extend their range to other temporary wetlands. Probably overall still declining however where the protection of mangroves and saltmarsh on the coastal areas has been achieved, they still appear to be resident.
There have been no recent records for Moree, Bingara, Gunnedah & Quirindi that I am aware of so that I have sent a copy of this to Birding-aus to see if any of the subscribers have any recent records for those locations.
Alan Morris
Records Officer, NSWFOC
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