Bird Update

It was with some trepidation that I visited the coast yesterday (15/11) to see what damage the spring high tide and howling northeaster had done. The water had swept over the chénier at Stillwater, so any dotterel/tūturiwhatu or oystercatcher/tōrea pango nests would have been swept away. There are still two dotterel pairs and an oystercatcher pair in residence, so hopefully they’ll nest soon. The pāteke pair are gone – we suspect the cat may have got the ducklings and the adults have abandoned the site. Let’s hope for better luck next year when Council have taken over regular live trapping to protect these rare ducks. There were 108 godwits/kuaka and 35 South Island pied oystercatchers/tōrea pango resting up over high tide.

Young tūturiwhatu on the beach

The tide also swept Karepiro beach clean. The oystercatcher nest reported by Pete Townend was gone, as was the dotterel nest, BUT there are two youngsters running around, so it looks as though the eggs may have hatched before the mayhem. There are two other pairs there too, so keep your fingers crossed. It’s essential that any dogs are reported to Council at this ultra sensitive time of year. Unfortunately there were two dead little blue penguins/kororā on the beach. The warmer than usual seas cause the bait fish they feed on to seek deeper, cooler waters and the birds starve.

By some sort of miracle the dotterel nest at Okura survived and has now been joined by nesting oystercatchers.

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