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 by jordi_nz jordi_nz, February 24, 2019 09:07

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

October 19, 2018 05:04 PM NZDT

Description

Chilling. No sign of mating or nesting. Despite early signs a few weeks backs they seem to be taking their time.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

October 23, 2018 04:50 PM NZDT

Description

Of course they nested outside the fenced area so we had to move the ropes and everythin.. again :D

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

October 30, 2018 05:57 PM NZDT

Description

Whole clutch - 3 eggs. Cover installed. Once we finished, it took about 30 seconds for one of the birds to get back to incubate the eggs. Last year it took about 10-15 minutes.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

November 3, 2018 02:15 PM NZDT

Description

All good, cover still there despite the strong westerlies.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

November 6, 2018 03:01 PM NZDT

Description

Big seas and high tide, nest gone. Damn!

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 7, 2019 09:30 AM NZDT

Description

Two chicks, just hatched last night or early morning. Apparently still incubating one egg. VOC and spur-winged plovers nearby, one had a go at the chicks but dotties fought back.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 8, 2019 11:05 AM NZDT

Description

One in the nest, the other two around/under the log inside the roped off area. One adult in the nest and the other one in the log.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 10, 2019 10:58 AM NZDT

Description

The whole family (2 adults + 3 chicks) outside the fenced area, heading to north Piha.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 12, 2019 08:49 AM NZDT

Place

Piha (Google, OSM)

Description

The 3 chicks doing well and supervised by a parent. The other parent foraging near the water.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 14, 2019 07:23 PM NZDT

Description

The three chicks born a week ago supervised by one of the parents.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 22, 2019 10:18 AM NZDT

Description

The three chicks are doing great. Hanging around and within the nesting area with both parents keeping an eye on them.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 27, 2019 04:50 PM NZDT

Description

Our three chicks doing great, supervised by one of their parents. Three weeks old now.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

January 30, 2019 04:51 PM NZDT

Description

The three chicks made it through Auckland anniversary and are looking great. Both parents nearby.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

February 2, 2019 07:22 AM NZDT

Description

The three chicks being banded. 4 weeks old and far so good.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

February 4, 2019 04:46 PM NZDT

Description

Made it through the weekend. Waitangi day coming...

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

February 10, 2019 05:34 PM NZDT

Description

All three chicks safe and sound after a busy week. The three of them are able to do short flights.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

February 13, 2019 04:49 PM NZDT

Description

Two of the chicks chilling together and the third one under the nest cover. Adults around and looking tired, it's hot.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern New Zealand Dotterel Charadrius obscurus ssp. aquilonius

Observer

jordi_nz

Date

February 22, 2019 11:49 AM NZDT

Description

I think it's safe to say it: mission accomplished. 3 chicks fledged from the only breeding pair in Piha, nesting right in the middle of dogs off-leash area.

Comments

Thumb

Congrats! Great job, I will be looking out for engraved leg flags in the post breeding flocks.

Posted by shaun-lee 3 months ago (Flag)
Thumb

Cheers Shaun, we're stoked!

Posted by jordi_nz 3 months ago (Flag)
Thumb

Awesome work :)

Posted by emily_r 3 months ago (Flag)

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