Dot­terels rais­ing a fam­ily at es­tu­ary

Kapiti News - - Front Page -

Two New Zealand dot­terel chicks, closely guarded by their par­ents, have hatched at Waikanae Es­tu­ary for the first recorded time.

Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion has placed signs near the nest ask­ing peo­ple to keep well away and keep dogs on a lead.

Rangers will be check­ing on the nest pe­ri­od­i­cally and work­ing with lo­cal vol­un­teers to mon­i­tor how the birds are do­ing.

It’s not new for the birds the visit the es­tu­ary but this is the first known suc­cess­ful breed­ing at­tempt.

In 2016 the threat sta­tus of north­ern New Zealand dot­terel im­proved slightly from ‘threat­ened — na­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble’ to ‘at risk — re­cov­er­ing’.

DoC bio­di­ver­sity ranger Dave Allen said the species were mainly at risk from dis­tur­bance by peo­ple, ve­hi­cles and dogs, as well as pre­da­tion from hedge­hogs, stoats, cats and rats.”

Trap­ping of rats, mice, mustelids and hedge­hogs in the area is car­ried out by three vol­un­teers from Waikanae Es­tu­ary Care Group.

“The care group’s ded­i­ca­tion will help keep these lit­tle guys safe from preda­tors.

“But ev­ery­one in the area can help out by giv­ing them plenty of space, keep­ing dogs well away, and ob­serv­ing the le­gal re­quire­ment not to drive in the sci­en­tific re­serve.

He said the chicks’ hatch­ing was good news as a fe­male dot­terel was found dead at the es­tu­ary last week.

“Since then the chicks have been ob­served along with two adults.

“It is as­sumed the dead bird was a non-breed­ing fe­male.

“There were no signs of ob­vi­ous in­jury and the bird’s body has been sent to Massey Univer­sity’s Wild base for necropsy.”

A pair were seen in a sim­i­lar lo­ca­tion at the es­tu­ary last sum­mer where six eggs were laid in a nest.

“This was many more than a usual fer­tile nest and no eggs hatched.

“It was as­sumed these were young birds — per­haps two fe­males — prac­tic­ing for the real thing.”

Birds also laid six eggs in a nest there in 2014 with the same re­sult.


A New Zealand dot­terel chick at Waikanae es­tu­ary.

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