February 24, 2019

Northern NZ dotterels at Piha - Season 2018-12019

Piha beach is one of the most famous and crowded beaches in Aotearoa New Zealand. Only one pair of NNZD is known to breed here, next to the confluence of the Wekatahi and Marawhara streams. I'd say their nesting location is ideal if it wasn't for the fact that it's right in the middle of a "dogs off the leash" area.

Sean Mackenzie and myself, supported by the Auckland Biodiversity team of the AKL Council, do predator control to ensure no eggs are predated. We also put signs around, fence the nesting site, provide shelters and a protective cover to the nest and overall keep a close eye on things. We work since when the first egg is laid until the chicks fledge, roughly from September to February.

As usual in Piha the season was full of ups and downs. The first clutch of eggs came late in the season, by the end of October and it was lost due to a combination of high tide and storm surge. Our intrepid pair tried again and by December a new clutch of eggs was laid. This time the eggs were incubated and at the beginning of January three chicks were born.

Despite the crowds and the on-going annoying events of the holidays (from the birds perspective) such as fireworks, quads etc.. not to mention the BB gulls, pukekos, spur-winged plovers and the likes that lurk around the dotterels nesting area, the three chicks have manage to make it. The chicks have been banded by Adrian Riegen and myself, both certified bird banders although of different levels (three and one respectively). It will be interesting to see where the chicks are headed during their OE and whether they come back one day to the west coast or not.

Some media love from RNZ, thanks Sarah for coming out to Piha and give our birds a voice.
https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/382180/piha-s-dotterel-chicks-battle-against-the-odds
https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018681951/dotterels-nest-amongst-piha-crowds

Three fledged chicks at Piha, it doesn't get better than that!

Posted on February 24, 2019 09:07 by jordi_nz jordi_nz | 18 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment

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