The resident pair of locally rare and nationally recovering pāteke at Weiti lagoon have produce four ducklings this year. This is a tremendous result for the trappers because these endemic ducks only survive and breed when mammalian predators (cats, mustelids, and rats) are controlled to low levels. I noticed the ducklings when they were disturbed by a Banded Rail/moho pererū, which was foraging along the eastern edge of the lagoon. This is the first record of this shy creature at this site and an indication of the health of the chenier/lagoon ecosystem. These birds are only found in high quality and diverse habitats with a rich food supply where predator numbers are controlled. So hats off to all those involved in the trapping programme and restoration work at Stillwater.
2021 Breeding Season
The Variable Oystercatchers/tōrea have decided it’s time to breed with pairs nesting at Weiti (3 eggs), karepiro (1 egg) and Okura (3 eggs). The eggs were laid at the end of November and should be hatching soon. I was a little worried the recent king tides may have washed some of the nests away, but fortunately all survived.
Less fortunately the NZ Dotterel/ tūturiwhata nesting appears to have failed at the Weiti chenier, and although two pairs are still on territory there is no indication of nesting or young. The pair at Karepiro successfully raised a single chick. While I have not located any nest, the pair at the Okura chenier show every behavioural sign of having one so here’s hoping!